Saturday, October 10, 2015

Buffalo Bayou Boat Ride

Since moving to Houston two years ago, I have watched the Buffalo Bayou transform into a vibrant and beautiful urban green space. Bikers and runners stream up and down the meandering paths; families have picnics and parties; hundreds gather for the bat colony on Waugh Drive every night; even the dogs have a ball splashing and running in the dog park. In celebration of it's official opening, I will be featuring a different part of the expansive Buffalo Bayou Park over the next several days. To begin, we go to water, the Buffalo Bayou, that led to the founding of Houston itself. While I have experienced the park as a biker, a runner, and a lounger, today was the first time that I have seen the park and other parts of the city from the water.

Every second Saturday of the month, you can take a boat down a small section of the Buffalo Bayou. The 30 minute boat ride also comes with a very informative tour guide who highlights fascinating tidbits from present day and historical Houston.

The Basics:   Where: Sabine St Boat Launch across from the Wortham Visitor's Center 
                      When: Second Saturdays from 10AM- 2 PM every 1/2 hour, last depart 1:30
                      Parking: There is parking at 212 Sabine Street
                      Cost: $7 for adults/$5 for children (ages 4–12)
                                Cash only; payment taken when boarding.
                       What to Bring: sunscreen, water, camera, $7 fee

The newly completed Wortham Insurance Visitor's Center; the top section is a stunning patio area, while the bottom has a bike rental shop, beverages, and restrooms.

To get to the boat ramp, walk down the steps across the street from the visitor's center all the way down to the water

Artwork by John Runnels, 2014
There are 11 canoes throughout the park marking eastward bayou access points

Waiting for the boat to arrive; make sure you arrive early to get a good place in line; it gets busy pretty quickly

Sharing the waterways with kayakers; you can now rent a kayak from Lost Lake

"Seven Wonders" by Mel Chin outside of the Wortham Theater Center commissioned to celebrate the sesquincentennial; 7 70 ft Pillars;  each is made up of 150 children's drawings etched in steel. Apparently, there is also a mysterious red button you can press inside the pillar located next to the Preston St Bridge that causes a giant bubble to emerge in the middle of the Bayou (Big Bubble was created by artist Dean Ruck in 1998). I can't wait to find that button.

Joined by a few ducks as well

Welcome to Houston, "THE TOWN OF HOUSTON"; building in background to be the future home of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Bikers on the Bridge waving to us below
 While you're in the area, also check out the newly completed Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area that offers a multi-layered tree house, climbing ropes and logs, a long slide, and sand box all in a natural and playful setting. The entire area has blossomed into one of my favorites in the park. I certainly know where I'll be enjoying a picnic in the future.


Tree house/boat decks, climbing net, and climbing logs at the Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area

Sand Box; part of the Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area
For all you skaters out there, visit the Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park; open Monday – Sunday, 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
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Behind the Wortham Insurance Visitor's Center is a two acre green space; perfect for an afternoon picnic
I hope you're all able to enjoy the Buffalo Bayou from the water soon!
 Keep exploring!
xoxo,
The Bayou Botanist

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