One part travel blog. One part nerdy history lesson.

Spring Break in Houston, TX – Day 2

We started day 2 with a Houston institution- TexMex breakfast tacos! With Houston having over 1 million people who identify as Hispanic (44% of the population) it stands to reason that there is some amazing Tex-Mex food to be found in the city. We decided to try Tejas Taco House and it was legit.

With full bellies, we headed back downtown where we were yesterday to hit the Natural Science Museum. There were not enough hours in the day to fit it in on Thursday and I knew we would want quite a few hours to see everything here. Norah was immediately drawn to the interactive periodic table of elements and spent a lot of time here.

We saw a show on the Universe narrated by Tom Hanks in the planetarium. Just absolutely mind blowing how big the Milky Way galaxy is..and then to learn that our known galaxy is part of 1000s of other full galaxies…and that just makes up the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies which is just one part of the observable universe. We are just unbelievably insignificant specs of space dust. and knowing this makes it easier to laugh at self-important people who think they deserve to cut in front of you at Starbucks. 🙂

The Natural Science Museum had a well laid out timeline of fossils starting in PreCambrian and leading through Jurassic, Triassic..all the way to modern era. They had an extensive trilobite and crinoid collection which I love looking at. Some of their trilobites even still had the spines on their backs!

We were able to see Sloth-Zilla, the largest ground sloth skeleton. Look at this beast! I do love my ground sloths…

Norah said she thought she had a resemblance to the Neanderthal. ha

The museum had an extensive gem and mineral collection as well as a special collection of Faberge royal pieces in a traveling exhibit. I can’t remember which photos were from which, so they are all together below.

The museum also contained a Butterfly Sanctuary which was a fun experience to be inside an enclosed greenhouse with birds, butterflies, turtles and other species just going about their business.

After the museum we headed to El Gato Coffeehouse- where you can have a coffee and hang out with some adoptable cats. Turns out you need reservations for the actual coffeehouse, so we were relegated to “the studio” with the extra cats in a big room… which was fine. Who knew you had to reserve coffee with cats? ha

After some coffee and hang out time, we headed to The Color Factory, an “art space” -aka a money-making Instagram photo op opportunity ha It was cute but its a one-time experience.

There was a giant gross stinky ball pit at the end that I had to get in with Norah. ha I just tried to forget everything I know about germs and disease transmission and make memories with my child ha

A full room with light-brite walls.

Norah and Kegan had to sit opposite each other in sound booths and draw each other without lifting the pencil. Norah’s turned out very Picasso-esque.

The next stop was dinner and we chose Xiao Long Kan – a fancy hot pot spot with very traditional Chinese decor.

We chose a dual broth- golden chicken and pork bone broth. We ordered plates to add to and cook in the broth that included beef and lamb slices, quail eggs, woodear and enoki mushrooms, greens such as lettuce, napa cabbage, pepper cress and chinese spinach, spam, handmade noodles and ramen, fish balls along with a smoky plum juice and fresh-pressed watermelon juice.

Overall, it was the 2nd best hot pot experience I’ve ever had, since we visited Xpot in Las Vegas and they had this out of this world Lobster soup base and Wagyu beef…but for a real-world meal (since I’d never spend the money on Xpot in my life again) this was so so good.

Next door was a newly-opened Moshi Moshi Japanese store with kawaii cute stuffies and Japanes beauty and snacks so we quickly browsed through to see what they had

Then I ran into Three Uncles Toast to grab a loaf of bread for breakfast in the morning.

We decompressed in the hotel room for 45 minutes or so and then headed out for out late-night shenanigans. Friday night in Chinatown is a hectic affair ha Every plaza looked worse than this with cars backed up every aisle.

We were headed to Claw Mania Kingdom

This was an arcade full of nothing but claw machines. You bought tokens for $1 each and each chance was 1 token. You could keep your stuffies or you could trade them up for a bigger stuffed animal or even a coin you could redeem on a future visit. Norah had 7 stuffies in the end and traded a few in for an anime figure she wanted from the case. It was a blast.

After playing claw machines it was time to head to Exit Lab Houston where I booked “the hardest double escape room experience”. It was a combo of two rooms in 90 minutes and was classified as the hardest escape room around…

And let me tell you…. It was hard. Ha we did not escape. We made it out of the first room in under 60 minutes but then we got into the 2nd room and with only 30 minutes left there is no way we would have made it. After we ran out of time, our game master showed us the remaining puzzles we had to solve- about 3 more major puzzles- but I don’t think I would have figured them out even with 20 hours left haha. So, we have to finally admit defeat and say we did not escape! And that’s OK. It was a huge challenge and it was humbling to see that there are apparently people out there a lot better at escape rooms than us! Ha


  1. Patricia L Woodward

    You guys have such interesting and fun trips. Thanks for letting those of us who are less adventurous live vicariously through you. Enjoy and make beautiful memories.

  2. Patience

    Yay! The McKinneys are at it again! I was just wondering where you’d been. Glad you’re doing well Another fun and interesting trip!

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