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).

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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.

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Grapevine Texas Festivals and Events

Make your plans now to visit Grapevine, the number one festivals and events destination in Texas, in 2014. With annual festivals and events happening nearly every month, this is the perfect year to visit Grapevine and experience events that celebrate wine, family-fun, chocolate, history, a vintage railroad and more! Officially recognized as a World Festival & Events City by the International Festival & Events Association, Grapevine welcomed more than one and a half million visitors to the city’s festivals and special events in 2013. So, mark your calendars now and find out why everyone’s coming to Grapevine in 2014.

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  • Sweetheart Wine Trail, February 8 and 9: Love is in the air on the Sweetheart Wine Trail in Grapevine. This romantic escape features three tastings and food samplings at each participating Grapevine winery tasting room, a large souvenir wine glass and a bottle of premium Grapevine wine.
  • Jazz Wine Trains, March 21 and 22:  Jazz up your weekend on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s Jazz Wine Trains! The one-of-a-kind wine tasting experience features live Jazz entertainment, a delicious boxed dinner and samplings of Grapevine wines.  
  • 11th Annual Day Out with Thomas™, March 28, 29 and 30 and April 4, 5, and 6: Hop on board the rails with Thomas the Tank Engine™ at the 11th Annual Day Out With Thomas on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. Activities include a train ride, storytelling and video viewing, temporary tattoos of Island of Sodor friends, and an Imagination Station with arts, crafts and more. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor. The train ride is 25 minutes.
  • 10th Annual ChocolateFest, April 4 and 5: This annual fundraiser benefits Travelers Aid D/FW, an organization committed to assisting individuals and families facing a travel related crisis. On Friday, April 4, delicious delights await at An Evening of Chocolate and Wine featuring chocolates, wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres and live music at Delaney Vineyards, 2000 Champagne Boulevard from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Advance purchase is required.  On Saturday, April 5, enjoy a plethora of sweet treats at A Day of Chocolate & Art with chocolates, cooking demonstrations, art exhibits and sales at the Palace Art Center in Historic Downtown Grapevine from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Grapevine Farmers Market and Grapevine Market, April 10 – October 18: Experience the festive open-air European-style Grapevine market and show for an eclectic array of items including handmade jewelry, distinctive home décor, quality antiques and more. Open in Liberty Park, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Live a healthy lifestyle with delicious locally-grown produce and other products from North Texas vendors at The Grapevine Farmers Market. Open behind the Town Square Gazebo, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • 22nd Annual Blessing of the Vines and New Vintage Wine & Gallery Trail, April 12:   Celebrate this annual European tradition dating back hundreds of years in Grapevine, the headquarters of the Texas wine industry.  On Saturday, April 12 at 11 a.m., experience Blessing of the Vines at Delaney Vineyards. This 400-year old custom is performed to ensure robust vines and savory grapes. Admission is free. After Blessing of the Vines, enjoy the New Vintage Wine & Gallery Trail throughout Grapevine from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visit each of Grapevine’s wineries and sample the new vintage releases as well as enjoy live entertainment and food at each winery.
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