A love letter to Houston's green spaces: Hermann Park

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Nestled between the Medical Center and Rice University, you'll find one of Houston's largest green spaces: Hermann Park.

Now a century old, the 445-acre green space is administered through a public-private partnership between the Hermann Park Conservancy and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Conservancy officials estimate that 6 million people visit the park each year to take advantage of its trails, gardens, attractions and cultural events.

PHOTOS: A day in Hermann Park

It goes without saying, but a visit to Hermann Park isn't complete without a stop by the Houston Zoo. Home to more than 6,000 animals, the zoo plays an integral part in the species survival plan for many endangered creatures. More than 2 million people visit the zoo each year to enjoy its exhibits and educational programs.

For a taste of the flora and fauna of the far east, head on over to the Japanese Garden. A water feature at the center of the garden is brimming with massive koi fish, and majestic swans can be seen sunbathing on the water's edge. Lotus flowers, Taiwan cherry trees, Japanese apricot trees and bamboo also thrive in the garden, which is free and open to the public.

Right outside of the garden sits McGovern Lake, the sparkling jewel that anchors the park and its surrounding attractions. On weekends, park visitors can rent paddle boats and take a leisurely ride across the eight-acre body of water. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted for children and seniors, and two of the lake's islands serve as sanctuaries for migratory birds.

If you're in the mood for a concert, Miller Outdoor Theatre hosts a variety of free performances throughout the year that are sure to satisfy all tastes. Guests can sit beneath the venue's pavilion or relax on the lawn while they enjoy acts ranging from the U.S. Army Field Band to Motown revues to symphonic performances.

RELATED: What to know about Miller Outdoor Theatre

And for those simply looking to enjoy a stroll on a gorgeous day, the park features several miles of running and walking trails lined with park benches. If you're ready to take a load off, a two-mile railroad track encircles much of the park, offering visitors the opportunity to take a relaxing, scenic ride on the park's famous train for a small fee.

Check back with ABC13.com next weekend when we explore another one of Houston's fantastic green spaces.

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