There’s no denying that when it comes to Houston, there’s plenty to do. From the food and drink options to the museums and endless festivals, it’s nearly impossible to be bored in a city so great. But, if you’re interested in getting out of your comfort zone and exploring something completely new, then it’s time for you to head on over to the Eclectic Menagerie Park. This isn’t your average park. Here, you’ll be surrounded by large metal sculptures, all created by local artists and designers.
The open-air collection of sculptures began in 1987 when Texas Pipe and Supply’s chairman of the board Jerry Rubenstein purchased the first piece to grace the park’s lawn, a hippo, and has been growing ever since. The park begins on the edge of the company’s 108-acre pipe yard and is only accessible by vehicle. What has started with that first single hippo sculpture has since grown into a full on permanent exhibition much greater than its individual parts. The giant sculptures that span the grounds tend to draw their inspiration from the animal kingdom, with subjects including cows, an armadillo, an eagle and others. With no official parking spaces, be sure to pull your vehicle off the road somewhere safe so you can be sure to snag all of the quirky photo opportunities available. The Eclectic Menagerie Park exemplifies Houston’s dedication to the arts and the originality of its own homegrown scene. It’s definitely a trip you’ll have to make with friends and family to this lesser-known local attraction. The park is a short half-hour drive from our apartments near Midtown Houston and River Oaks apartments, making it the perfect getaway when you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Houston.
Known to be one of Houston’s hidden treasures (cat’s out of the bag), most of the artwork you’ll see has been completed by local artist Ron Lee. No stranger to the pipe and welding world, Lee has been designing and creating sculptures for more than 40 years and has managed to bring his imagination to life with this family-friendly attraction. All of the sculptures that Lee has created have been made almost exclusively with just scrap metal and his own welding skills.
While the open-air museum has no overarching or unifying theme, it’s more like a free-for-all in terms of the sculptures, ranging from animals to mythical creatures and more. The diverse collection exemplifies a unique taste and style that you’ll be sure to love! That being said, the Eclectic Menagerie Park isn’t actually an official park or museum. The grounds aren’t meticulously maintained, so if you are looking to get out of your car and wander around—be sure to wear the appropriate shoes to do so. And don’t forget that these larger than life sculptures are located right on the side of the highway, so don’t become frightened when a large owl seems to be coming towards your car—we promise, it’s supposed to be there!
Well, there you have it. When you’re ready to catch a glimpse of artwork where creativity, construction and originality all flow seamlessly together, add the Eclectic Menagerie Park to your list of to-dos. With more than two dozen sculptures and the possible addition of more as time continues, this free attraction is the perfect pit stop.
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