Discovery Green – The Truly Green Face of ‘Bayou City’
Discovery Green is a magical, green space in the heart of downtown Houston, often referred to as the city’s ‘lungs’! This 12-acre park works as a magnet for locals and tourists who flock here for the range of activities offered within this urban green space. You would be surprised to know that before 2008, DG used to be a parking lot, which was eventually redeveloped into a place of recreation and fun for families! Dedicated to the public in April 2008, Discovery Green (DG) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience amidst the concrete jungles around it. So, if you are looking for a space to spend a day in Houston, head to DG and enjoy the vibrant and beautiful destination. DG is located next to another Houston landmark, George R. Brown Convention Center.
Discovery Green During Day & Night
DG’s Mission is to provide “an uncommonly beautiful, urban green space in the heart of Houston that serves as a village green for our city.” It goes without saying that space is a source of happiness in the lap of nature for the people of Houston. Combining nature with art, culture, tradition, and adventure, DG enriches life around Houston. Since its opening, the park has received more than a million visitors every year, attracted to a diverse programming schedule, including fitness classes, music concerts, movie screenings, etc. More importantly, in a constantly burgeoning urban landscape, DG provides a safe, community setting for everyone to come and relax without worrying about anything. The gorgeous downtown Houston skyline in the background is an added bonus for photography enthusiasts!
We know you are dying to hear more on all the activities and recurring events at DG, so here is the mother-load of information you can use to have a good time in Houston.
Gateway Fountain Splash Pad
Let’s begin with the most fun activity approved by kids all over Houston. The Gateway Fountain Splash Pad resumed operations in June this year post-COVID-19 precautions. A perfect water playground where kids can let the summer steam off literally! It is open on Mondays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Tuesday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Don’t forget your water shoes when you hit the splash pad!
Kayaking on Kinder Lake
The cheap and best way to enjoy being on the water while taking in your favorite views of the city around would be to kayaking on the Kinder Lake on the north side of DG. Kinder Lake is spread over more than an acre over the park and is one of the signature spots in the city. Kayak rides and R/C sailboats are on offer, which ply through the spring, summer, and Fall seasons. However, these activities are subject to weather conditions. Kayaks cost $5 per person, while sailboats are available at $5 for 15 minutes. If you aren’t much for being on the water, you can bring your remote-controlled boats and enjoy hours of fun from the lake edge at the Model Boat Basin. Model Boat Basin is a shallow pool perfect for racing your battery-operated floating toys!
Visiting the ‘Phantom’
DG showcases its most famous artwork for art-lovers – “Monument Au Fantome” – which means “Monument to the Phantom.” Located on the Avenida de las Americas, this free-form red, white, and blue sculpture is considered one of the city’s great treasures. It was sculpted by noted French artist Jean Dubuffet, who was known to step away from “cultural clichés” and speak in a relatively fresh language of art. As a result, different parts of the sculpture represent Houston in different ways – a hedge, a dog, a church, a chimney, a tree, a phantom, and a mast!
What would be better than sitting in a room filled with good books? To sit in a room filled with good books located inside a green space! DG offers two such spaces – Morgan Reading Room & Powell Foundation Outdoor Reading Room. Both of them provide bibliophiles a chance to indulge in a good book while surrounded by a serene atmosphere.
A Dose of Good Health
Hundreds of free events are organized as part of DG’s ‘Healthy Living’ series every year. This includes health-related films, classes for yoga/Zumba, kayaking on the Kinder Lake, and recycling. Thousands of Houstonians of all age groups are drawn to these events throughout the year. The experience of joining the community members in this learning process helps people grow as individuals. One of the signature features of DG is the McNair Foundation Jogging Trail running along the northern boundary of the park, along Kinder Lake. Made of decomposed granite, this trail has now become Houstonians’ favorite running route.
Sarofim Picnic Lawn, located within walking distance from the Mist Tree, Joe Foster Dog Run, and John P. McGovern Playground. It is an ideal spot to host family get-togethers, birthdays, reunions, or office parties. It can accommodate up to 200 people at any given time.
Marvel at the magic of sound waves and physics coupled with art at “The Listening Vessels”, two incredible stone sculptures by artist Dough Hollis. The sculptures are made of Alabama limestone, and if you speak softly at one vessel, your voice can be heard in the other vessel at a distance of 70 feet. Gifted to the Park by Maconda Brown O’Connor, the vessels are located in the Wortham.
All play and no break could mean a tired bunch of visitors! Keeping that in mind DG boasts of various dining options within the park – The Grove restaurant & The Lake House. Both the places serve the creations of award-winning chef Robert del Grande. Both the eateries are eco-conscious and follow practices like recycling and composting and they use green housekeeping products and biodegradable packaging.
Another way to enjoy the vast green space called Discovery Green is to become a volunteer for a more hands-on experience! If you are at least 18 years old and willing to volunteer for at least 3 hours a day, you can volunteer at the Info booth, Recycling Saturdays, and for Kids & family programs.
Discovery Green is a lively reminder of how man and nature can co-exist without causing any harm to either side! What are your favorite locations/ attractions at Discovery Green? Let us know your thoughts below.