Hidden Gems

Take Your Kids on a Scavenger Hunt Across Houston

Switch off the screens and take a break from the summer reading—the search is on!

By Catherine Wendlandt June 9, 2021 Published in the Summer 2021 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Visit Art Car Museum in the Heights.

There are hidden gems and quirky attractions in every Houston neighborhood that’ll leave kids’ eyes wide. Here’s what to be on the lookout for.

Greater Heights

Let little imaginations roam among the most whimsical cars around at the “Garage Mahal,” a.k.a. the Art Car Museum, where anything but factory model autos are on full display. 140 Heights Blvd. 


Head down Highway 288 to spot The Eclectic Menagerie, a collection of 26 giant Tim Burton-esque statues of animals, insects, and planes at the edge of the 108-acre Texas Pipe & Supply yard. 2838 W Bellfort Ave.


Visit with Stinky the common musk turtle, Sherman the barred tiger salamander, and their furry, scaly, and feathery friends at the 3.75-acre Nature Discovery Center at Russ Pittman Park hidden away in this bustling neighborhood. 7112 Newcastle 


Bring your baskets out to Atkinson Farms for year-round berry-picking. Find strawberries, blackberries, and more—perfect snacks for the car ride home. 3217 Spring Cypress Rd.

West Chase

Marvel at the 40-foot golden dome of the abandoned Tien Taoist Palace of the Golden Orbs, more formally called the Chong Hua Sheng Mu Holy Palace. Just be mindful to stay behind the fence. 3695 Overture Dr. 


Do push the red button at The Big Bubble by the Preston Street Bridge and watch Buffalo Bayou burp—a guaranteed crowd pleaser. *If it's working. 510 Preston St. 


One thing you might not remember about The Alamo—there’s also one in Cypress. Check out Cy-Hope’s recreation of the infamous San Antonio fort for a local dose of Texas pride. 12715 Telge Rd.

The Orange Show

Greater East End

Explore a folk-art labyrinth of walkways, exhibits, and more that pay homage to the orange (yes, the fruit) at the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. 2401 Munger St.  


Hang out by the Waugh Drive Bridge to see some 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats fly the nest and swarm the skies around sunset. 401 S Heights Blvd. 

Garden Oaks-Oak Forest

Try your hand (and flick your wrist!) at TC Jester Park’s 21-hole disc golf course. 4201 W T. C. Jester Blvd. 


Kids can play hero at Fire Truck Park. Get behind the wheel of the replica firetruck or scale the playscape. Your standard firehouse rules don’t apply here. 3743 Garnet St.

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