Get a Guide!
With a phone call or an email a few days in advance, you can set up a tour at virtually every destination in the Museum District. Some of the larger museums have a variety of tour packages and custom options available. Other museums offer a smaller array of choices, they are often a more intimate experience and educational opportunity. Some tour packages require a fee, but some are free with donations encouraged. Almost all tours in the Museum District require a reservation or appointment. Here are just some of the fascinating options that await.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston offers free gallery talks daily to highlight relationships between different works of art, cultures, and time periods. If you prefer a more independent experience, try one of MFAH’s audio tours. These seasonal guides are continually developed, with narration by curators and conservators, so you can tour the art collections and temporary exhibitions at your own pace. Audio tours are available in the lobbies for a single daily rental of $5, or $4 for MFAH Members. Guided tours of MFAH’s decorative arts centers Rienzi and Bayou Bend are also available each week. Rienzi offers tours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Bayou Bend tours can be arranged by appointment.
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft features free, docent-guided tours, which can be scheduled Tuesdays through Fridays, between 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. In the course of an hour, tour guests take in current exhibitions, shop the Asher Gallery, visit with an artist-in-residence, and see the artistic process in action. Tour participants can also explore the Craft Garden, where artists grow plant materials used in craft making. For a more interactive experience, artist-led workshops related to current exhibitions are available for a nominal fee.
At Holocaust Museum Houston, tours are available with advance reservation via their website. Guided tours of the poignant and powerful exhibits are led by trained docents and can last up to two and a half hours. Tours are free with donations encouraged.
On a lovely day, try the Menil Collection’s cell phone audio walk of the campus grounds, called “Voices of the Menil.” Pick up the map/brochure at the desk in the main museum building for dialing and access instructions.
Asia Society Texas offers monthly tours of its art exhibits, as well as an architecture tour. These tours are typically scheduled for the first Saturday of the month and last about 45 minutes. Contact the museum for times and pricing; custom tours can be arranged by contacting the education and outreach manager.
Houston Zoo offers dynamic tour packages that include a behind-the-scenes peek into the animal areas, talks with zookeepers, and an up-close animal experience. Most tours require advanced reservations, especially tours for guests in wheelchairs. Prices for these 45-minute tours start at $50/$75 for non-members.
Tours at the Children’s Museum Houston cater to kids of all ages and provide an action-packed, group experience where parents and kids learn a lot and make rewarding memories to together. Reservations are highly recommended for these 2-hour tours.
Photo: Cody Duty/Duty Free Studio
Houston Museum of Natural Science offers a variety of Discovery Tours of its Hall of Paleontology, ranging in price from $5 to $50. You can join a group list or set up a private, custom tour for your family or group.
Meteorologists at The Weather Museum conduct tours daily during museum hours, Monday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm, except for Thursday afternoons. Tours last 45 minutes to an hour and are $8 for adults, $5 for students, teachers and seniors.
Contact any museum in the Museum District to launch your own cultural adventure!