Mingle with marine life at the modestly sized Downtown Aquarium (410 Bagby St., 713/223-3474, www.aquariumrestaurants.com, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–11 a.m. Fri.–Sat., $9.25 adults, $8.25 seniors, $6.25 children 2–12, additional fees for rides and parking). Not as extensive or awe-inspiring as some other big-city aquariums, Houston’s version is focused on fun, and there’s plenty to be had here.
The highlight is the Shark Voyage, where a train takes visitors into a clear tunnel surrounded by blacktips, whitetips, and zebra sharks. Other notable exhibits are the Gulf of Mexico tank with barracuda and snappers, and the Discovery Rig, where kids can get a handle on horseshoe crabs and stingrays.
The Ferris wheels (above and below water) are fun, but, like the Shark Voyage, cost a few bucks extra. The aquarium also includes a seemingly unrelated yet interesting exhibit area with several majestic white tigers. Incidentally, the adjacent aquarium restaurant is known for its slow service and mediocre food, so plan accordingly.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition