Herman Park: A Cultural Icon in the Heart of Houston

Colin Conner ’15

Hermann Park celebrated its 100th birthday last year, and this milestone was celebrated by creating a whole new garden area for visitors to enjoy. The brand new McGovern Centennial Gardens takes up the 15-acre site where the Houston Garden Center was previously located. This new collection of gardens features a traditional rose garden, an interactive family garden, an arid garden, a 30-foot garden mount, and a sculpture promenade that features international public art displays. There is also a pavilion that can be rented out for special events and a café where you can grab lunch.

Another special feature in Hermann Park is the Japanese Garden. This 5.5-acre area was opened in 1992 and is the creation of Japanese landscape designer Ken Nakajima. It includes a tea garden and a kaiyu-shiki teien stroll garden. It is filled with objects from Japanese culture such as a Yukimi lantern, which was a gift from Houston’s sister city, Chiba, Japan. Popular Japanese native plants are also featured, such as cherry blossom trees and Japanese maples.

For those patrons interested in native plants, the Bayou Parkland area is an 80-acre oasis featuring Texas native plants and wildlife. This area is set along Brays Bayou and includes scenic trails, wetlands, prairie meadows, and an urban forest. During the renovations, this area was made more accessible by connecting it to the park through a pedestrian underpass below North and South MacGregor.

Spending a day in the park is even easier now that the Pinewood Café is open and ready for lunch or early dinner. The menu includes fresh salads, wraps, sandwiches, burgers, and even a kids menu. The dining terrace overlooking McGovern Lake provides a beautiful view to enjoy while eating. It is located in Hermann Park’s Lake Plaza next to Kinder Station, and is open Monday – Sunday 11am to 6pm.

Herman Park is special because it is at the heart of Houston. Close to downtown, the Texas Medical Center, Rice University, and the Museum District. It is a 445-acre urban park that welcomes an estimated six million visitors a year. The park is open seven days a week from 6am – 11pm, with certain attractions having more limited hours.

Visit their website for more information at www.hermanpark.org