Boat lovers and water sports enthusiasts are converging from ports far and wide this week on the Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Show, where more than 1,000 powerboats, luxury cruisers, fishing boats and personal watercraft will be on display.
Billed as the largest and longest-running boat show in the state, the event kicked off last week and continues through Sunday, Jan. 12, at the city’s NRG Center, a 706,000-square-feet exhibition facility near NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans NFL football team.
Houston is about a three-hour drive south of Killeen-Fort Hood.
Show hours today and Thursday are 1 to 8 p.m.; Friday 1 to 9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is $15. Admission to the show is $15 for adults; $5 for kids 6 to 12; free for ages 5 and under. A special 10@10 ticket is available for adults from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, as well.
Along with all the boats and other water gear, Houston Astros’ mascot Orbit will be running around from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Scheduled activities include a kids casting clinic, kids build-a-boat, bounce slides, craft corner, bungee jumper, fish-o-rama, bass tub, antique and classic boats, Miss GEICO race boat and a new craft beer garden.
For more information, go to houstonboatshows.com.
Other attractions in and around the state’s largest city are too numerous to mention, but a few points of interest include such places as the George H.W. Bush Monument in Sesquicentennial Park, a tribute to the former president. Allen’s Landing on Buffalo Bayou is the historic spot where the Allen brothers landed on Aug. 30, 1836 and founded the city. Avenida Houston is a new dining, entertainment and arts district in the downtown area, along with Bayou Place in the heart of the theater district.
Houston’s Downtown Aquarium and Restaurant offers family-oriented fun, food, views of the city and a 500,000-gallon underwater complex containing more than 200 species of aquatic life from around the world.
The list goes on and on.
For more information on things to see and do, go to www.downtownhouston.org.
Meanwhile, at Fort Hood’s Belton Lake Outdoor and Recreation Center (BLORA), at the intersection of North Nolan Road and Cottage Road, Sierra Beach is closed for the season, but a number of other family activities are available. Those include such things as camping sites, picnic pavilions, hiking, sightseeing, bird watching, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, paintball, 53-foot outdoor climbing wall and an archery range. Admission for military patrons is $3 per car; all others are $10 per vehicle.
The Outdoor Recreation Checkout Center, located within the garrison 14 miles southwest of BLORA, is available to authorized Family and MWR patrons, and offers such equipment rentals as kayaks, canoes, wake boards, skis, knee boards, tubes, camping equipment, pop-ups/travel trailers, accessories and more. Go to hood.armymwr.com for more information.
Fort Hood’s Apache Arts and Crafts Center is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for those interested in do-it-yourself projects, including picture frames, ceramics and ceramics birthday parties for kids. Also offered at the center, 761st Tank Battalion and 62nd Street, Building 2337, is screen-printing, embroidery and a wood shop.
The center has a Resiliency through Art program that offers a quiet area with art materials for soldiers to create “whatever comes to mind.” It is available free of charge to all active-duty soldiers during the week until 5 p.m. Soldiers may take their work with them, or leave it at the center to be displayed for others to see. For more information, contact MWR.
For some relaxing indoor entertainment, head on over to Central Texas College’s Mayborn Science Theater in Killeen and its ongoing lineup of new weekday matinees, classic movie showings and Laser Friday presentations. Saturday matinees run all day, and weekday matinees are on Wednesdays. Classic Movie Night is the third Friday of every month at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person, per show. For complete show descriptions, directions, membership information and more, visit starsatnight.org.
Also in Killeen, indoor athletic enthusiasts will find almost too many activities to mention all in one place at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park. The complex at 2102 Jennifer Drive, between West Jasper Drive and Highway 190, includes not only trampoline-jumping, but such things as a Sky Rider indoor coaster, ropes course, climbing walls, obstacle course, tubes playground, trapeze, dodgeball and a slam dunk zone. For more information on the park, go to www.urbanairtrampolinepark.com/locations/texas/killeen.