Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Village at Bayou Bend

Santa has set up shop at the Christmas Village at Bayou Bend! Little elves have transformed the Bayou Bend grounds into a festive winter wonderland with a Spiegeltent (visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus), story time for kids, and a tour of Ima Hogg's mansion with decorations and historical reenactments. You can read more about the event here. 

Dates for the Christmas Village at Bayou Bend:
December 17–23 & December 26–30, 6–9:30 p.m.

Entrance to Bayou Bend

Crossing the magical bridge aglow with lights

Little elf running through the maze

Spiegeltent for drinks, snacks, crafts, and Santa.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the Spiegeltent
Ima Hogg's Residence

While waiting in line for the house tour, visitors can watch a fun animation that was projected onto the back of the home.

Dates for the Christmas Village at Bayou Bend:

December 17–23 & December 26–30, 6–9:30 p.m.

Members: $12 adult (ages 13+), $8 youth (ages 5–12)
• Nonmembers: $15 adult (ages 13+), $10 youth (ages 5–12)
• Free for ages 4 & younger
Cash bar and light refreshments. Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Enjoy the Christmas Cheer,
The Bayou Botanist

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Nymph's Treehouse

The Kitchen at the Dunlavy

For months, my run (or stroll) in the Buffalo Bayou would take me past Lost Lake and a structure being built so beautifully into the surrounding landscape. The much awaited restaurant The Kitchen at the Dunlavy is now open! For all the months of waiting and wondering, the new Houston restaurant did not disappoint. As you walk into the space, you feel as though you've stumbled into the home of a wood nymph.  The floor to ceiling windows bring in light that dances off of the dozens of eclectic crystal chandeliers. It's nickname as "The Glass Treehouse" is well deserved. Along with the bright light, diners are on level with the tree foliage surrounding the structure. There is indoor and outdoor seating available. While I sat inside, the light and greenery made me forget that I was not in fact in the open air. 
Following the path around lost lake from the right

Lost Lost and changing foliage can be viewed from the lower and upper balconies

Every detail of the restaurant is perfect, from the playing card order holders, to the mismatched chairs.
The Kitchen at the Dunlavy is open daily from 7AM- 2PM while lunch starts at 11AM. The menu is a healthy combination of light snacks, smoothies, salads, and sandwiches.  For breakfast, you can indulge in Smoothies, Toasts with toppings, and light options like Yogurt Parfaits and Fruit cups. For lunch, Smoothies, Salads (Kale Salad, Chinese Chicken Salad, Avocado Salad), Sandwiches (Turkey, Apple and Brie, Chicken BLT, Brisket,Veggie, Lamb Gyro), and sides (cheese plate, Red Quinoa, Israeli couscous, Prosciutto and Pate). There are MANY more options than listed so you'll have to go visit for yourself. Be warned: With the gorgeous surroundings and delicious food, you may never want to leave. . .

A View of the back patio from inside
The outdoor patio with whimsical lights and wildflower arrangements
The Kitchen at the Dunlavy is the perfect place to grab a smoothie after a morning run, to enjoy a  long conversation over a leisurely lunch, or to order a meal to take as a picnic in the Park! I'm sure you'll find me there with a sketchbook on many a morning. . . so stop by and say hello!

The Bayou Botanist

Monday, December 7, 2015

Zoo Lights

Escaped birds from the Aviary. . . luckily they stay in one place.
With over two million lights, the Houston Zoo is aglow and filled with Holiday cheer. From November 20, 2015 - January 9, 2016, you can take a stroll through the zoo at night while enjoying a spectacular light display. You are only able to see a few of the animals along the walk (we saw the Flamingos and the Giraffes in the Barn), so if your aim is to meet Jonathan the Lion, come back during the daytime. Treats such as Hot Chocolate and Kettle Corn can be purchased. Make sure to arrive early for parking and dress warm!

A Big Thank You to Eduardo Portillo for the beautiful photos of the Zoo!

My Favorite Part of Zoo Lights: these Dr Seuss-like fantastical plants

Toy Train Display
Lights and Globes in the African Section
Light Tunnel
Animal Sighting
The Moose is Loose!
May you have Joy and Peace during the Holiday Season!

Hours: Check the Zoo website for detailed information.

Value Nights:
Mon -Thurs  
6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
(Last entry at 9 p.m.)

Prime Nights:
Fri - Sun
6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
(Last entry at 9:30 p.m.)
Closed December 24 and 25

Value Nights: Member $9.95 Non-Member $14.95
Prime Nights: Member $14.95 Non-Member $19.95
Children 1 and Under – FREE

Enjoy the Lights!
The Bayou Botanist

Friday, December 4, 2015

New Installations at Discovery Green

Spin or lounge to your heart's content on Los Trompos!
Tis the season for all things that glisten and shimmer. . . and spin! In the holiday spirit, Discovery Green has outdone itself with two new temporary additions to the Park.  Los Trompos or 'spinning tops' is an installation of large scale spinning structures created by Mexico City designers H├ęctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena. Inspired by a common toy, each spinning top is unique in both form and color, and behave just like their smaller namesake. Los Trompos will be displayed until March 22 so make sure you stop by for a little magic!

A Field of color: Los Trompos
 My favorite visitor at Los Trompos

Bruce Munro's The Field of Light installation is back! It's one of my favorites from this past year so I'm delighted to be able to experience the multicolored wonderland for a second/third/. . .tenth time. Field of Light will be at the Discovery Green through February 21, 2016. If you think it looks magical during the daytime . . . wait until you see it lit up at night!

Thank goodness for the return of Bruce Munro's Field of Lights!

As an added Bonus, the skating rink is now open! The rink will be open from November 24 - February 2. $14 For 1.5 hours of skating (includes skates), or $30 for a Speed pass. Hours and days open here.

The ICE at Discovery Green is the largest outdoor skating rink in the Southwest.

Upcoming Events at the Discovery Green here

Every Friday, Discovery Green will host Friday Night Sights where local artists, musicians and dancers and actors will create a response to either Los Trompos or the Field of Light.  Friday Night Sights will be held from Friday, November 27 to Friday, March 18 (With the exception of December 25 and January 1). All performances begin at 7pm. Check website for updates. Upcoming dates below:

December 4      Cirque La Vie                                             Los Trompos
December  11   HSPVA Jazz and Dance Students               Field of Light
December 18    Dance Houston                                           Field of Light
January 8          Wildfish Theatre                                         Los Trompos
January 15        Suchu Dance                                               Field of Light
January 22        Rainbow on Ice!                                          Los Trompos
January 29        Aerosol Warfare and Houston Lowriders    Los Trompos

Happy December! Hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather and all the magical happenings this time of year!

The Bayou Botanist

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