One of Houston’s best attractions is a little known place among outsiders that locals love, McGovern Centennial Park. Ruth and I discovered it accidentally last year when we tried to visit the Atlas Obscura recommended Museum of Health and Medical Science too late in the day. It’s across the street from McGovern.
Six million people use centrally located and huge Hermann Park in Houston each year. Its Japanese Garden is especially pretty. The McGovern Centennial Park was added to Hermann 5 years ago, replacing a former garden center. Go early in the day if you want to use its free (for now) parking lot. After leaving your car, enter McGovern’s themed gardens through the Cherie Flores Pavilion that was designed by the guy who created Apple stores all over the world. At the other end of McGovern is the unusual Hawkins Sculpture Walk. Between these is an artificial, climbable hill with an unnatural but clever waterfall tumbling from its top. My favorite of the themed gardens grows seasonal vegetables so that kids can learn that those carrots their parents are always trying to get them to eat really don’t come from the frozen food aisle or a can.
The McGovern Centennial Garden flows naturally into Hermann with almost 500 trees, 760 well-groomed shrubs, 650 seasonal azaleas that were in riotous bloom when Ruth & I were there, roses, and even cactus. The sculpture walk is different too. I spent a lot of time wondering how Confucius and Cabeza de Vaca, who seem quite dissimilar, deserve to be among the 10 subjects rendered. I didn’t even know some of the other atypical choices.
I’m glad I’ve had 3 opportunities to visit McGovern Centennial Park. Maybe on the 4th I’ll finally understand the sculpture choices and know who Vicente Rocafuerte is.