When fellowship, family, food and football telecasts aren’t enough to keep people entertained during the upcoming holiday season, consider getting out and becoming fascinated for free in the Brays Oaks Management District.
Our list of boredom-breakers covers a variety of diversions, starting with the Willow Waterhole Greenway. While functioning as a floodwater detention area when needed, the massive park-like space features hike-and-bike trails, wildlife habitats, gardens, gazebos and a lot more. Even the parking is free.
The Brays Oaks Management District’s slogan is “Cultures Live Here,” and West Bellfort Avenue takes you to some of the Houston metropolitan area’s unique and interesting cultural institutions.
The non-profit India House reaches well beyond the Houston area’s sprawling South Asian community by offering the public free health care events, guided meditation instruction, sporting events, festivals and more.
Similarly, just down the street, the Raindrop Turkish Center and the Istanbul Conference Center have hosted food and clothing drives to help the needy and have conducted sports events, piano lessons, a journalism club, photography, drawing class, embroidery class, drama club and other programs, all free except for supply fees.
A cafeteria-type facility there serves tasty Turkish coffee and snacks. None of these are free, but the experience may be worth your pocket money.
On West Airport, you can find North America’s only Zoroastrian fire temple, which was built with donations from a local commercial property developer. You may know that the monotheistic Zoroastrian religion began before Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The temple welcomes visitors.
Few visual reminders are left from Riceville, a colony founded by freed slaves in the 1850s. But a drive or walk at the corner of South Gessner and West Bellfort will bring you past Riceville Mt. Olive Baptist Church, the latest inheritor of this little-known Black history story.
A Riceville cemetery continues to be maintained 1.5 miles from the church.To see it, park in the 9000 block of Willow Meadow Drive and take a brief walk along the Keegans Bayou Trail.