Sesquicentennial Park in Houston

Photo of Sesquicentennial Park in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
Photo of Sesquicentennial Park in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
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Photo of Sesquicentennial Park in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
Photo of Sesquicentennial Park in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz

Sesquicentennial Park

Along Buffalo Bayou, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002
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This is one of the more successful rehabilitations of Buffalo Bayou to date. Tucked safely two stories below the street grade there is are pathways, waterfalls, bridges, trees, and more. There is a large grassy knoll called "The Common" which is frequented by picnickers, and used for the odd city festival. Though the southeast side of the park is the most commonly visited, we prefer to take the extra time to walk to the other side of the bayou to the northwest side of the park. It's not as heavily manicured because it is partially a flood control project, but it is quiet, relatively free of people, homeless or otherwise, and affords some dramatic views of downtown. Eventually, the plan is to turn the whole area into a recreation zone. Imagine San Antonio's Riverwalk, but instead of full restaurants and shops, there would be carts that could be wheeled to higher ground when the bayou starts asserting itself. Much of San Antonio's success with its Riverwalk can be traced to the fact that it's only barely a river. In reality, it's a heavily regulated flood control channel. Buffalo Bayou, however, remains a wild river and several times a year pushes its banks 30 feet above, sometimes going over. Still, Sesquicentennial Park will get a big boost from the opening of the new Aquarium restaurant at the old Fire Station Number One. Stairs have been built allowing guests to wander down from the entertainment complex into the park. At one time there was a piece of public art actually beneath the water of Buffalo Bayou off Sesquicentennial Park. The work by Dean Ruck simply released a regular stream of bubbles, paying homage to the sternwheelers that plied the bayou during the city's formative years. However, we have not seen it. It was supposed to be activated by a motion detector sensing pedestrians and setting off a steamship whistle. However, we have found a strange button hidden on the back side of a pillar in Sesquicentennial Park. Some day we'll press it and see what happens.

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