Thursday, 25 February 2016


From Big Bend National Park, we took the train to Houston for three days.

The annual, and always amazing, Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit was on at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and they also have a butterfly garden. Andrew took photos of the butterflies while I identified them from the card provided and then took photos of butterflies on the card so we can again identify them when Andrew goes through his photos. I also got a couple reasonable shots of flowers and "Chaco" the Iguana.

What makes a great zoo? Andrew and I asked ourselves this after visiting the Houston Zoo. It has lots of animals (more elephants and giraffes than we've seen at any other zoo) and lots of room for the animals to move around in but the layout seemed strange. It just didn't flow. And there were so many kids and school groups that we barely got a quiet moment without a crowd around! But we still enjoyed seeing quite a few animals and there was a special exhibit highlighting the plastic and other waste that is found in the ocean by making art out of it and encouraging conservation and cleanup. See the website for
Sea Jellies made of garbage collected from oceans.
A fish made of garbage from oceans. 

Texas style! Longhorns in the zoo.
These guys and their "blankies" were quite humorous! 
A beautiful park near the zoo.
In the park near the zoo. 
On our final day in Houston we headed our to NASA and the Johnson Space Center. On the recommendation of my sister and brother-in-law who had been there last year, we took the "Level 9" tour. It was definitely worth the extra money as it got us closer to the exhibits and in a smaller tour group (maximum 12). It was also a very long tour (5 hours) and included lunch.
The real thing!
A replica of the International Space Station at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.
Being underwater closely mimics being in space. Who knew!?!
New space suit design -- kinda looks like Buzz Lightyear. :-)
My new friend, Robonaut. 
Today's Mission Control Center
One of the desktops from Mission Control during the Apollo years. 
The red phone . . . "Hello, Pentagon? This is Mission Control." (From the Apollo years.)
More from the Apollo years.
At the entrance of the Johnson Space Center. 

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