If you think most food vending machines in Houston dispense unhealthy and/or pedestrian fare, guess what? You’re right. The (and I mean potentially the as in 'singular,' ‘only’) exception to this rule can be found at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. That is to say, not at a) health food store b) healthcare facility 3) gourmet restaurant. What’s wrong with this picture?
While there have always been a million and one reasons to visit the Museum of Natural Science, including but not limited to the opportunity to gawk at dinosaur skulls at the Morian Hall of Paleontology, admire the rubies in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, and, until the end of the month (!), marvel at the “Mummies of the World” exhibit, now you can also enjoy some unique treats courtesy of its whimsical vending machine.
It’s a hodge-podge of offerings, heavy on the insect snacks. Dried crickets are available in three flavors (salt-and-vinegar, sour cream-and-onion, and bacon-and-cheese), though I prefer the Larvets (in Mexican spice or cheddar cheese), whose label’s prominent claim, “The original worm snax,” suggests there have been subsequent copycats. Woe to she who settles for the generic larvet. Those searching for sweet buggies should try the chocolate ant wafers or the chocolate-dipped worms.
Other intriguing options include oldie-but-goodie "alien" (a.k.a. "astronaut") ice cream, a freeze-dried dairy brick that you can enjoy far more gracefully than regular ice cream in the Houston heat, and salted caramel moon pies. I count the latter as "intriguing" because this flavor is relatively hard to find compared to the standard chocolate or vanilla.
If none of the aforementioned sounds appealing, it’s probably because you’re a boring person. And, yes, I know, boring people get hungry, too, which is why the Museum of Natural Science also has McDonald’s. But be a more adventurous snacker, at least for one day, and nosh on sweet or savory hexapod invertebrates.