January

Grab Your Calendar ~ January 2014

HoustonFieldTrips.com January 2014 Grab Your Calendar

Looking for something interesting to do in the Houston area this January?  Here are events, field trips, and concerts in the greater Houston area that would be of interest to homeschool/unschool families.  (In date order.  Events that run for the entirety or majority of the month are listed at the bottom.)

1st ~ First Day Hikes.  Several of the State Parks host hikes on the first day of the year.  Check out the Texas Parks & Wildlife Calendar to find the closest hike to you.

Through the 4th ~  Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo.  For this special night-time spectacular, the Houston Zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland, filled with brilliant displays of colorful lights and festive holiday music.  Admission to Zoo Lights is NOT included in general admission.

14th & 16th ~ “Fantastic Four Founding Fathers” at Interactive Theater Comany.  Treat your students to a fantastic history lesson of the beginning of American History in just 60 minutes.  Drawing from historical documents and the lives of famous patriots, this original production follows the development of the USA from its discovery and colonization through independence and struggles of the earliest settlers.  As usual with InterActive History plays, we help kids understand the event using contemporary examples: the First four presidents are played as Superheroes, the Revolutionary War is re-enacted through playground games, politicians fight to see who will be most popular in Congress!  Students will learn from Jefferson, Washington, Pocahontas and the Statue of Liberty as four actors race through American history at record speed.  While this will be performed over the next several months ~ the 14th & 16th are “Homeschool Happenings” days.  Tickets are discounted from $10/pp to $6/pp.  Register online.

17th & 18th ~  Houston Symphony at Houston Baptist University.  Vivaldi’s most popular work, The Four Seasons, will be performed with Concertmaster Frank Huang acting both as conductor and soloist for the four violin concertos, each resembling a season of the year.  Middle and high school orchestra students from around the region have been invited to attend two morning performances on Friday, January 17 followed by an evening performance for the general public on Saturday, January 18.  Composed almost 300 years ago in 1723, The Four Seasons is considered a warhorse in the classical music repertoire and one for any music fan’s must-hear-live list. The audience on Saturday night will also be treated to Tchaikovsky’s romantic Serenade for Strings.  Free.

18th & 19th ~ Jesse M Jones Park honors Arbor Day with a weekend celebration.  In addition, visitors can choose a free sapling from a selection of  native trees.

19th ~ Bayou Bend Family Fun Day.  1-5pm.  Introduce kids to Bayou Bend at this Family Day & explore diverse roots of American musical styles such as bluegrass, jazz & zydeco.  Free.

20th ~ MLK Grande Parade begins at 10am.  15 Professionally designed floats, 30 marching bands, 150+  Performing Groups, Various  Dignitaries & Community Organizations.

22nd & 23rd ~ Detective Concerts by Houston Symphony.  Introduce students to the orchestra’s key players. This season’s program, Opposites Attract, supports the focus on developing active listening and critical thinking skills in first through third grades. Focusing on comparing and contrasting musical elements develops skills needed to comprehend, evaluate and analyze aural works. When listening to the music performed on this program, students will tune in to the musical opposites: loud/soft, high/low and fast/slow. In addition, students will identify the key elements in a story – including setting, character and plot, through the retelling of the tale of Elgar’s Wand of Youth.

25th ~ Houston Parks & Recreation’s Arbor Day Tree Planting.  You can participate as an individual/family (5 people or less) or organize a larger group.

25th ~ Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is planning to celebrate Arbor Day with fun for the whole family.  Johnny Appleseed will hand out acorns, HANC the Owl will give away pine seedlings, Native Tree and Shrub Sale, Make recycled paper and designer paper hats, Members only reception featuring live owls and free refreshments, Discounted membership drive with free gifts, Nature Playground featuring many fun children’s areas, Pine cone bird feeders to take home.

27th ~ Circuitry is the theme of Homeschool Day at the Children’s Museum of Houston.  The Museum will be open from 10 am to 2 pm for Home School families to explore our variety of exciting exhibits and to be challenged by our educational programming. We will also have special Circuitry Labs throughout the day in two of our Discovery Rooms.   Labs include:  Conductivity Lab – Explore a variety of different materials that conduct electricity, using them to complete circuits and create a variety of simple machines! Appropriate for ages 5 and up.  Circuitry Lab – Using Snap Circuits, visitors will determine the different roles regulators, switches, and capacitors play while assembling machines like doorbells, AM radios, fans, and more! Appropriate for ages 8 and up.  The labs will have sign-up sheets in our Info Booth at opening. Spaces are limited, so please sign up as you come in.  $8/pp or $6/pp for groups of 15+.  Members are free.  Registration form can be found here.

28th ~ Detective Concerts by Houston Symphony.  Introduce students to the orchestra’s key players. This season’s program, Opposites Attract, supports the focus on developing active listening and critical thinking skills in first through third grades. Focusing on comparing and contrasting musical elements develops skills needed to comprehend, evaluate and analyze aural works. When listening to the music performed on this program, students will tune in to the musical opposites: loud/soft, high/low and fast/slow. In addition, students will identify the key elements in a story – including setting, character and plot, through the retelling of the tale of Elgar’s Wand of Youth.

“Uprooted” at Holocaust Museum Houston is on display through March 9th, 2014.  The exhibition includes numerous artifacts and documents on view for the first time. The Abramowicz-Mescherowsky-Teixidor and Levenback-Bielitz collections permit the examination of the difficult choices faced by these particular Jewish families – choices like placing a child alone on a Kindertransport or whether to remain in hiding and, in some cases, join the resistance or having to flee to foreign countries. The exhibition exemplifies the hope that safety could be found and lives re-established elsewhere, despite the annihilation policies of the Nazi government.  Admission is free.

“The Gun Show” is the Art Car Museum’s ninth open call exhibition topic. Each year for the past nine years the Museum has presented a topic of current interest and asked the artistic community to bring in artwork representative of their opinions. It is a unique opportunity for artists of all experience levels to present their artwork in a museum setting. There is no jury and no fee; the only requirement is that the artists be among the first 100 to respond. Their visual responses could be considered the results of a cross-section poll on these topics.“The Gun Show” is an opportunity for contemporary artists to comment on the topic of guns and gun ownership.  Admission is free.

If you have any events you’d like to recommend, please contact us.

Cover image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography.

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Categories: Grab Your Calendar, January | 1 Comment

Arbor Day

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Image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography

I’ve been working on a list by month of events that regularly happen in Houston, Harris County, and surrounding.  As I was trying to think of things that normally occur or are celebrated in April, I thought of Arbor Day.  Imagine my surprise, while perusing the websites of some of our favorite parks and arboretums, to find that most of the Greater Houston Area actually commemorates Arbor Day in January!

So, I did a little research.  According to Texas A&M Forest Service:

The official Arbor Day is held the last Friday in April. Due to the diversity of this state, Arbor Day is celebrated in Texas communities anytime from November through April. Houston and many of its neighboring communities continue to observe Arbor Day on the third Friday in January. In south Texas, many cities celebrate Arbor Day during Arbor Week, the second week in February. Dallas recently decided to break with tradition altogether and celebrate Arbor Day in mid-November.

Leave it to Texas to be truly independent!  Here are a few events this month to help you celebrate and serve.  Please check the links for contact information, how to register, and age-restrictions.

  • Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19 and 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center ~ Celebrate Texas
    Image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography

    Image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography

    Arbor Day by adopting a tree! Take home a free sapling, and get information on tree planting and care. Exhibits and activities highlight local forest plants. Webelos can fulfill all requirements for the Forester badge by completing a self-guided activity.

  • Saturday, January 26th, Houston Bar Association Arbor Day Tree Planting at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center ~ Join us to celebrate Arbor Day 2013 by planting 1000 trees at the Arboretum, which lost about 50% of its tree canopy due to the recent drought.
  • Saturday, January 26th at 8am, Houston Parks & Recreation ~ When I contacted them, I was told that this year’s planting would be at Memorial Park.  Young children are welcome as long as they are with parents.  Bring gloves & shovels.  To pre-register, please contact Shelby Oneika: Oneika.shelby@houstontx.gov
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Image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography

If you would rather venture out during the week, consider a nature hike.  A local city park would be a great start.  City of Houston Parks list can be found here.  Residents of Harris County can find a list of parks by precinct:

We really enjoyed spending a day at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center.  A visit to a Texas State Park or Sam Houston National Forest will offer a wider variety of botanical viewing and an all day experience.  If you aren’t able to get out of the house, here’s a video produced by Texas A&M Forestry Service on planting seedlings.

Want to explore even more this month?  See what else there is to do in January.

Categories: Events, Free, January | Leave a comment

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