Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Monday, August 8, 2016


HMNS is the acronym for the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  It's located on the northern end of the giant Hermann Park sandwiched between downtown to the north and the medical center to the south. 

On Sunday, the wife and I hosted my lovely niece Claire and her almost five-year-old adorable, feisty, inquisitive daughter Ainsley while they were visiting from Minnesota. 

First we had a really nice brunch at the Bistro Menil, where my friend Greg Martin is the Head Chef. 

If you have not tried it yet you should. They serve brunch, lunch and dinner - no breakfast. Greg used to be the Head Chef at Cafe Express, but this new venue really gives him a chance to stretch and gather tastes from all over the world, and he's been getting rave reviews since opening in 2014.

Greg Martin
If you have the time, take a tour of the always-free Menil Collection. After brunch we made our way to the HMNS on a beautiful summer day in Houston. 

We had set up a one-hour Private Discovery Tour of the Hall of Ancient Egypt for the four of us. 

If you have never done a Discovery Tour, check it out. The Public tour (up to 15 people) costs only $5 per person (plus the entrance cost of the Museum). The Private Discovery Tour costs $30 for your entire group (up to 15 people, plus the entrance cost to the Museum). For the four of us (all non-members) the total cost was $140 for a one-hour tour with a Private Guide. Worth it! I wonder if other Museums around the country do a similar service?

Our tour guide's name was Lisa, and Ancient Egypt was her speciality. Practically the first thing after meeting Lisa, Ainsley blurted out, "I love SCIENCE!!" I love this kid. Here Lisa explained all of the techniques of mummification. Without our guide, we wouldn't have even known you could open up this giant coffin to reveal the tools of mummification inside.

We learned quite a few things we didn't know before, but I'm not going to spill those beans. I suppose that if we had not been with a 5-year-old, the tour would have been much more...organized. As it was, we flitted back and forth, trying to keep up with Ainsley. But it was still a really good experience.

Afterward, Ainsley wasn't totally pooped yet so we ducked into the Morian Hall of Paleontology. The skeletons of some of those dinosaurs were just awesome. 

That Hall would be well worth another Private Tour, as would any of the 13 other Permanent Exhibits like the Hall of African Wildlife, or the McGovern Hall of the Americas, or the Hall of Texas Wildlife, etc. And you can do a Discovery Tour of the traveling exhibitions too.

And there's more at the HMNS, like the Cockrell Butterfly Center, the Burke Baker Planetarium, or the Wortham Giant Screen (IMAX) Theater. The HMNS is pretty fucking awesome.

So get our there and experience your world. And, psst! Don't bother going to the stupid fake Museums like that Ark Enounter in Kentucky. Puh-leeeze.

The Eye of Horus

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