10 Wildly Fun Ways to Enjoy the Houston Zoo with CityPASS


  1.  Up Close and Personal with the Animals: As soon as we entered the zoo gates we were greeted by the most adorable chinchilla and it’s friendly handler who let guest pet and pose for pics with the fluffy soft animal.

2. Playful Seals and Underwater life

3.  Under the sea: The Kipp Aquarium within the Houston Zoo houses 200 species of underwater animals like these stunning lionfish and moon jellyfish that we were all mesmerized by. On your way through the exhibit you’ll view 2,000 individual freshwater and saltwater fish as well as marine invertebrates that will have you feeling like you were touring the coral reefs of the Pacific, the Rift Valley Lakes of Africa and the Amazon basin.

4. Explore the new nature play area: The Houston Zoo believes that when children are encouraged to play in nature they are more likely to support and protect nature and this new area allows them to use their wild imaginations while discovering the natural world that surrounds them.  Kids can create sculptures and mud pies, build with tree branches and wall climb. Bring towels, extra clothes and expect your kids to get a bit messy!

5. Adorable Baby Elephants: During our visit we all fell in love with a few of the newest baby arrivals and gushed watching this sweet baby elephant right before she went over to the Houston zookeepers to get washed up.

6. Lions,  Chimps and Rhino’s Oh My: Make your way through the African forest which leads to the villages trading outpost and discover fierce gorillas and red river hogs before approaching a second building that houses adorable chimps and rhino’s that are soaking in the sun. At the center of the Zoo you’ll find the carnivore exhibit which features feisty big cats {jaguars, cheetahs, malayan tigers and more} who love to play hide and seek. The Lions were out in the open but we spotted an ocelot who was watching us from up high above, so keep an eye out as you pass by because they can be easy to miss.

7. Trade your Cool Stuff at The Naturally Wild Swap Shop: Kids always manage to pick up something they discovered on nature walks or strolls through the neighborhood and at the zoo’s swap shop they can bring in various items like: seashells, fossils, rocks, gems, claws, snake sheds, deceased butterflies and more! Visitors can bring in up to 3 items to learn facts about and earn points for their knowledge in order to trade.

8. Twirl around the Wildlife Carousel: For an extra $2 {members} $3 {non-members} kids of all ages will enjoy a spin around this gorgeous hand carved and painted carousel.


9. Children’s Zoo Activities:  Open daily from 10am – 5pm visitors can check out the petting zoo and brush dwarf goats, burn off some energy in the play space  that features colorful climbing walls, slides and tunnels or  pop out of a mongoose habitat to snap a picture.

9. Creepy Crawly Bugs

10. Feedings with Giraffes

Underwater Adventures at the Downtown Houston Aquarium with CityPASS

Home to over 200 species of aquatic life, the Downtown Houston Aquarium is an impressive & entertaining place to visit with the entire family. You can truly spend an entire day watching the adventures of your favorite sea creatures under 500,000 gallons of wonderment, dining within a full service restaurant and enjoying a variety of amusement rides to thrill kids of all ages. Grab your Houston CityPASS and save 49% off your visit to the aquarium and four other top attractions in the city at just $59 for adults and $49 for kids.

As you make your way through the Louisiana swamp you’ll spy gators, snapping turtles, crayfish, bullfrogs and more that will make you feel like you’re really exploring the bayou. Within the Shipwreck exhibit you’ll view a colorfully diverse array of coral, tangs, groupers and moray eels.


 Aside from the red bellied piranhas and venomous freshwater stingrays they featured in the Rain forest exhibit, we were all happily surprised by the handful of other inhabitants to view, like the emerald tree boa, vibrant birds and tree frogs.

If you’ve ever found yourself curious about the day to day travels of a shark, OCEARCH‘s global shark tracker enables scientists, explorers and even families at home to follow the tagged sharks in real time.

Discovering that the Downtown Houston aquarium has 4 majestic white tigers named Nero, Marina, Coral and Reef in the Maharajah’s Temple was an unexpected surprise. Coral had just awaken from a nap but we were told she’s normally quite the feisty firecracker. The state of the art exhibit is temperature regulated with multi-level areas for the tigers to climb, a large pool for water play and is one of 230 exhibits that have been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Hands down, the stunning restaurant was definitely a feature of the Downtown Houston Aquarium that stood out to me.It felt like a scene from the Little Mermaid with twinkling fish shaped, light fixtures above us. While dining you can take in the mesmerizing views of the beautiful sea creatures swimming by, so why not take a few pictures with family and friends.The sting rays and eels were not shy for the camera at all so snapping pics are a great way to pass the time before your meals arrive.

I’m all for trying new things, so feeding the sting rays at the reef was a must do! Now please keep in mind that this experience is not included with your CityPASS but it’s totally still worth the additional $5.99 for the value pass which includes the entry and the food. If you’ve never done this before it’s really fun, I didn’t realize their mouths were beneath them and when you place your hand below to feed them it’s pretty interesting how they suck up the tiny fish like a vacuum. If they aren’t too grossed out by the idea, kids will get such a kick out of this.


Afterwards we headed back outdoors to check out their 5 amusement park rides. Guests can ride aboard the C.P Huntington train through the Shark Voyage a 200,000 gallon tank filled with a variety of sharks that you can get up close and personal with from every angle. If you’re a fan of being up in the air then take a spin 100 ft. up in the Diving Bell Ferris Wheel or drop 65 feet from the Lighthouse Dive all while catching spectacular views of Downtown Houston. Visitors will also have a good time riding on the back of a dolphin or alligator of the Aquatic Carousel or bounce around on the Frog Hopper. Additional pricing ranges from $3.99 to $5.99 per ride.

Spending the day at the Downtown Houston Aquarium is guaranteed to be a good time for all and with your Houston CityPASS you’ll get the most bang for your buck! 
What would you want to check out first?
Downtown Houston Aquarium // 410 Bagby St @ Memorial Dr. HoustonTX 77002

Taste Of Houston Food Tour: 4 Must Try Montrose Restaurants

Ranked as one of America’s top three most ethnically diverse cities, Houston is well known for its variety of award winning culinary experiences. On a recent trip to Houston, courtesy of CityPASS & Visit Houston I had the chance to experience the array of restaurants and multi-cultural dishes that make the city a must visit destination. Just make sure you bring your appetite and walking shoes to work off all those good eats because there’s no shortage of places to dine at in between checking out the family friendly sites like the Houston Zoo, Space Center or the museum district with your CityPASS in hand.


Staying downtown at the Marriott Marquis Houston was the perfect location because everywhere we ventured off to eat was either in walking distance, or no more than a twenty to thirty minute drive away. After unpacking and taking in the view of the hotel’s larger than life, Texas shaped lazy river, our group headed out on a Taste of Houston Tour through the neighborhood of Montrose with our knowledgeable guide Lisa. When visiting a city for the first time, I’d highly recommend signing up for a food tour like this because not only were we able to try out some of the most popular  and innovative dishes, we learned a lot about the history and culture of the city over the years.

Montrose reminded me in many ways of hanging out in New York City, with a mix of flavorful places to eat & drink, shops, art galleries and more – there’s something to do that will appeal to everyone your traveling with.

Did you know that Tex-Orleans cuisine was a thing? I had no idea until we made our first stop at BB’s Cajun Cafe, where menu offerings include: crawfish, boudin balls, gumbo and 15 varieties of Po’boys. Inspired by his grandmother {Maw Maw}, Brooks Bassler founded BB’s in 2007 and a unique blend of Southern Louisiana style cooking fused with a Texas twist was created. If you’re planning to try the Crawfish, don’t let those juicy little suckers intimidate you! Tie on a bib, slap on some gloves {if you really want to avoid getting those sauces and spices all over} and prepare to dig in. Also note that the only dessert on the menu is Maw-Maw’s bread pudding and trust me, that’s ok. It’s light, sweet, addictive and you may not want to share.


If you’re looking for an eatery with an authentic Tex-Mex menu and a vintage feel, then the El Real Tex-Mex Cafe is this perfect place to dine out at. With a towering Marquee to welcome guests, it was pretty cool to see how they revamped this 1930’s theater into a family friendly restaurant that showcases old school movies. It’s such a charming space with vibrant & colorful walls, strung lights, and displayed old menus, photographs & paraphernalia that take patrons on a trip down memory lane.

I may never look at a crunchy shell taco the same after trying out their perfectly fried puffy tacos for the first time. If you’ve never had one, believe me you’ve been missing out! The three cheese enchiladas were delicious, the chili con carne sauce was so dang flavorful I was pretty tempted to lick my plate clean!



Traditional Mexican food is taken up a notch at Hugo’s where you’ll indulge in such refined cuisine {all made from scratch} you could only expect from Hugo Ortega, former dishwasher – now a 2017 James Beard award winning chef. Housed in a beautifully restored, Latin inspired building that’s reminiscent of old Mexico, guests can indulge in ceviche, made from the freshest seafood brought straight from the docks daily and the most decadent desserts. We literally swooned when the Churros Rellenos con Dulce de Leche, Mexican hot chocolate and house-made chocolate ice cream made it’s way to our tables. You’ll be happy you stopped by any day of the week but If you’re visiting on the weekend, their infamous Sunday Brunch is highly recommended. 




Hanging in central Houston instantly got way cooler once Goodnight Charlie’s opened. With honky tonk partying and wine on tap, this venue that pays homage to legendary cattle rancher Charles Goodnight, makes for a fun way to end the night or kick off any weekend! We were all stuffed after our earlier tour visits but sipped on cocktails while taking in the breeze while swaying on their outdoor swings with clever holders for drinks. With live performances Thursday – Saturday of Zydeco, Bluegrass and country music and tortillas made in house you’ll enjoy hanging here because of it’s laid back atmosphere that resonates with the true spirit of Texas.
Make sure to sign up for the Taste of Houston Food Tour hosted by Food Tour Corp if ever in Houston because it provides such a great look into Texas’s 4th largest cities rich history and culture while experiencing their evolving culinary scene.