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Houston is the largest city in the state of Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States. The city is also large in geographic area as it covers more than 600 square miles and is the county seat of Harris County?the third most populous in the country. Houston is one of 11 U.S. global cities as it is ranked "Gamma World City" by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network.
As of the 2000 U.S. Census, Houston had a total population of 1.9 million (though a July 1, 2004 U.S. Census estimate placed the city's population at more than 2 million). The city is the heart of the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area, which is the the largest cultural and economic center of the Gulf Coast region and is the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of 5.2 million in ten counties.
Houston is world renowned for its energy (particularly oil) and aeronautics industries and for its ship channel. The Port of Houston is the sixth-largest port in the world. It is the busiest port in the United States in foreign tonnage and second in overall tonnage. Second only to New York City in Fortune 500 headquarters, Houston is the seat of the internationally-renowned Texas Medical Center, which contains the world's largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions.
Known for the vibrancy of its visual and performing arts, Houston's theatre district is ranked second in the country in the amount of theatre seats in a concentrated downtown area and has world-class visual and performing arts organizations. The city is also close to sunny beaches, one of the United States' largest concentrations of pleasure boats and tourist attractions.
Officially, Houston is nicknamed the "Space City" as it is home to NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, where Mission Control Center is located (because of this, "Houston" was the first word spoken on the moon).
Houston Texas important destinations|
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Texas(MFAH) -
By far the best and biggest public art museum in Texas. The museum's collection of more than 40,000 pieces is wide and varied, but it is perhaps strongest in the area of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works, baroque and Renaissance art, and 19th- and 20th-century American art. There is also a fine collection of African tribal art, as well as ancient artwork from several civilizations. There is a large sculpture garden, and the Glassell School of Art can be seen just to the north of it. The museum also owns two collections of the decorative arts that are displayed in two mansions in the River Oaks area. Admission: $7 adults, $3.50 children ages 6-18. 1001 Bissonnet St. Tel: 713/639-7300.
Museum of Health & Medical Science - This museum will surprise most visitors with its extensive use of audio, video, holograms, and medical technology to provide a graphic view of human physiology. Houston has a large medical community, which were the driving force behind the creation of this museum. Through additions and contributions made by individual doctors and corporations, an eye-catching interactive exhibition, called the Amazing Body Pavilion, could be constructed. Visitors enter through the mouth and proceed down the digestive tract learning about all the organs that process our food. The exhibit covers all the major organs in ways that provide lots of interaction for children, and explanatory text and monologues by little holographic figures provide info that most adults will find interesting. With so many doctors involved, do not expect the museum's snack bar to offer any junk food. Make sure to check out the gift shop; it has an assortment of curious and intriguing items that you will not easily find elsewhere. Admission: $5 adults, $3 children ages 4-11. 1515 Hermann Dr. Tel: 713/521-1515.
Space Center Houston Texas - The Space Center is the visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center and easily the most popular attraction in the Houston area. It is the product of the joint efforts of NASA and Disney Imagineering. Here you will find plenty of exhibits and activities to interest both adults and children, and they do a great job of introducing the visitor to different aspects of space exploration. On top of all this, Space Center Houston has the largest IMAX in Texas. Admission: (including tours and IMAX theater) $17 adults, $15 seniors, $12 children ages 4-11. 1601 NASA Rd. 1. Tel: 281/244-2100.
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