Opened in 1996 in Houston, the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science, aka The Health Museum for short, welcomes over two million visitors each year. Recently renovated, the museum also has plans to expand the four permanent exhibits in the near future. The Health Museum is located in the Houston Museum District, an area encompassing 19 different museums and recreational spots, along with plenty of restaurant options. On a recent trip to Houston (stay tuned for an upcoming post on all things family-friendly in Houston), we had the chance to explore The Health Museum. If you’re local to the Houston area, I recommend checking out their programming schedule; there is a wide variety of classes and camps offered throughout the year (they even have real organ dissections!!).
Traveling with Children:
- You can park for $5 (less for members) right in front of the museum. There are also several parking lots for reasonable rates throughout the Houston Museum District.
- The entire museum is located on one floor and is handicap and stroller accessible. I think little children will be so busy exploring that I would leave the stroller in the car.
- Plan to spend about an hour to 90 minutes to explore the museum (not including films in the auditorium).
- A gift shop and restrooms are located to the left of the admissions desk.
- The Health Museum participates in the Association of Science and Technology Centers‘ Passport Program, so if you belong to another ASTC museum, you can gain reduced admissions at The Health Museum.
Eight Things Children Will Love at the Health Museum:
1. The 12 foot replica of a beating heart; every twenty minutes, it simulates a heart attack. The exhibit offers advice on heart health care.
2. The physical challenges inside the Amazing Heart Gallery: the human heart wheel, the skeleton riding a bike, Calorie Crank, and Jump, Stretch, and Hang activities were favorites of my children.
3. A larger than life piece of a colon; you climb through it and peak your head through the cancerous spot in the colon.
4. Puzzle tables located in the middle corridor; how many geometric puzzles can you solve?
5. The ear area and Scream Booth; which member of your group can scream the loudest? Let the recorder decide.
6. DeBakey Cell Lab (there is a separate fee) which hosts daily workshops for children ages seven and older. Future scientists don a full lab uniform and work through seven stations of experiments focused on cellular biology. Plan on at least an additional hour to explore the Cell Lab.
7. Special, rotating exhibits; when we visited in summer 2018, there was an exhibition on loan from the Dublin, Ireland Science Gallery entitled Bio-Rhythm: Music and the Body, with several experiments. My children especially enjoyed the acoustic bed, sonic table, Body Snatcher (where you create your own dance music) and emotion in motion experiments.
8. The McGovern Theater which shows short (approx. 30 minute) videos throughout the day. Videos are included in the admission fee.
Eating Nearby: We walked (practically) across the street to Bodegas Taco Shop for a great lunch- there is a kids menu and lots of lunch specials.
Disclaimer: I was provided media passes to visit the museum. All opinions expressed are my own.