H-Town Run Tourist

10 Reasons why we love Buffalo Bayou Park

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

Aside from our hospitality and our restaurant scene, I truly believe that Houston's parks are the city's pride and joy. Let' say it together with pride, "HOUSTON PARKS ARE BADASS!" One park that stands out is Buffalo Bayou Park. It is that 160 acres of green space between Shepherd Dr. and the Mosbacher Bridge. It is An amazing networkof hike and bike trails and the best natural tourism of Houston. So many reasons to love Buffalo Bayou Park. Here are mine!

Courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership

1. It is a great place to train.

I have used Buffalo Bayou Park to train for all of my marathons. It is a great connector to other parts of the city like Downtown, the Heights and Montrose. It keeps your run interesting with hills, flowers, and wildlife. It is also a great place to add mileage to your runs.

2. So Many Awesome Events.

Buffalo Bayou is home to some of Houston's best events. These are held at resident venues such as the Bud Lite Amphitheater, Eleanor Tinsley Park, and the Water Works at Buffalo Bayou. Enjoy weekly 45 minute session of Sunrise Yoga at the Water Works. All ages and fitness levels welcome. Mark your calendar for the upcoming Houston Margarita Festival, the Houston Press Tacolandia, and Octoberfest Houston 2019.

3. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities.

It takes a lot of donations to make a place like Buffalo Bayou Park possible. $58 million in fact. Not all of us have that kind of cash lying around, but we still have two valuable resources to offer: time and energy. Buffalo Bayou Park has plenty of ways to put your good time and energy to. You can volunteer to restore and protect the lovely trails of Buffalo Bayou. You can do this by weeding and picking up debris. Every third Saturday is designated as Volunteer Day where groups and individuals are welcome to join.

Violet Coneflower

Arthor's own

4. Houston's best place for natural views, wildlife, and foliage.

One of my favorite things about running and walking in Houston, is taking pictures of trees, flowers, and natural settings. There are plenty of opportunities to do so in Buffalo Bayou Park. You have your pick: Live oak trees, wildflowers, jumping fish, even the occasional alligator. Nothing compares to the bat colony on Waugh Bridge. Whenever you are running and you smell this overwhelming stench, don't look at your running partner, its actually 250,000 Mexican bats that live under Waugh Bridge. You can see these bats emerge most nights at dusk to feast on the many bite size insects that drive us crazy.

the Kitchen at Dunlavy

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5. Home to the Kitchen at Dunlavy

Look past the Lost Lake and you will find a fantastical tree house restaurant called the Dunlavy. The restaurant, brought to you by Clark Cooper Concepts, serves breakfast and lunch everyday. It was voted "One of the World's Most Romantic Restaurants by CNN. To Houstonians, its the best place for weddings and Super Bowl Parties. During the day, it is counter restaurant service for breakfast and lunch. It is a go to for smoothies, breakfast bowls, croquet madame, cheese and charcuterie boards, and of course, the Dunlavy burger. But on the weekends, get there quick, because it fills up fast and you will be out there with the lily pads.

Beautiful downtown view

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6. The Best Downtown Views

My tourists really love taking pictures of the Downtown Skyline. Buffalo Bayou Park is home to some of my favorite views. For the best views, stop at Sabine Promenade and smaller bridges towards downtown. When you are about to walk into Downtown, don't forget to take in the amazing view from Mosbacher Bridge.

Police Officer's Memorial

Arthor's own

7. Let's honor our Fallen at the Police Officer's Memorial.

The Police Officer's Memorial. If you are traveling into Downtown from Memorial Drive, chances are you have passed this amazing structure. This memorial serves as a public recognition of sacrifices that have been made by police officers to carry out their duties. This is especially for the officers who have died in the line of duty. The memorial, including the names of over 100 fallen police officers, is made of pink granite in the shape of a Greek Cross with a pyramid for the center. You can honor these officers on the annual wreath laying ceremony.


inside the Cistern

​Katy’s Horner/Slight Clutter Photography 

8. Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

This structure, the size of one and a half football fields, lay dormant as one of Houston's best kept secrets. That was until 2015 after the reopening of Buffalo Bayou Park. The Cistern, built in 1926, was used as the city's water reservoir for drinking water storage and fire suppression. Due to a leak, it was decommissioned in 2007. Today, you can enjoy tours and photography sessions inside. It has been home to art exhibits as well like Chromointerference by Carlos Cruz Diez.

The Seven Wonders

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9. Oh! the Spectacular Artwork of Buffalo Bayou.

I hope you have enjoyed all of my pictures of the art in Buffalo Bayou. Here are some of my favorites that you need to look out for.

Gus S. Wortham Fountain. Also nicknamed Dandelion near Waugh Bridge. At night, this fountain lights up with alluring colors like pink, purple, and blue. It doesn't take much to see why it is called the Dandelion.

Seven Wonders. This exhibition by Mel Chin, used the art from grade school students to depict the seven pillars of Houston civilization. Agriculture. Energy. Manufacturing. Medicine. Philantropy. Technology. and Transportation.

Tolerance. This is a seven piece constellation at Montrose and Memorial. It stands for equality of all religions and nationalities of the seven continents.

The Big Bubble. This installation by Dean Ruck is a big bubble that occurs in Buffalo Bayou that is activated by a "secret button." I would say that you have to be in the know, but it has been turned off since Hurricane Harvey. Maybe one day.

10. It is resilient!

Houston was so proud at the unveiling of the park aafter its $58 million renovation. Then came Hurricane Harvey. We all saw the pictures online and on social media. They were horrible. Just like I would expect from Houstonians, we all came together and after 2300 volunteers donated 7000 man hours, 60 million pounds of sediment, 500 trail lights, 5 dump trucks full of trash and debris were removed or repaired. Over 400 native trees and 1100 flowers were planted to restore the park.

You can definitely see why we all love Buffalo Bayou Park. I can't help but think this every time I run, walk, host, or drive anywhere in or around our pride and joy!

If you want more information or have questions about Buffalo Bayou Park, email info@buffalobayou.org. BBP Instagram handle is @buffalobayou.

H-Town Run Tourist

Are you an H-Town Run Tourist?

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

You may have noticed that I have begun calling my column: H-Town Run Tourist. H-Town Run Tourist describes my relationship with the city I live in, the sport of running, and myself. Below is a list of the characteristics of an H Town Run Tourist. Read and decide if you if you are a run tourist too.

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You are super curious.

If you are anything like me, you love to discover new running or walking routes. What is this? What is that? Who painted that? When did that open? What does that taste like? Sometimes I feel like I am a dog that has her nose in the grass ready to smell just about anything.

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You started running to find yourself.

A lot of people spend a lot of time running away from themselves. But, if you are like me, you starting running to run into yourself. (Clever, huh) If you missed it, what I mean is that maybe you started running for your health, a mid life crisis, a divorce, or for your mental health.

When I was in Africa, I asked many of the other runners why they were running in Victoria Falls. I got many answers, all of them were amazing. However, one gentleman answered that he and his wife always wanted to run a marathon. She had died the year before and he was running for her. (I know, I need a tissue too.)

You are just not that competitive.

When I thought about it, I found that I am not competitive with other runners as to be the best. I am more interested in how well I can beat my best self. I am always competing with myself. I feel that once you make it to the start line, you have already won. (many things can happen before the start line.) Many times, I "compete" with how much I can enjoy the experience of the race and still stick to a timetable. I love reading signs, taking pics with new friends, and chatting with people at the before and after party.

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You love to think and dream. BIG.

If you are like me, you love to dream and think BIG. If you are running a long distance, you have time to dream. I quickly found that I could let my mind go. When you are on the open road for hours training, you find that it is the best place to solve problems. Then, I began to dream big. I quickly decided that I wanted to run around the world. I set the intention and I was able to achieve that goal. I also use it to meditate. I love studying flowers and trees for their fractal patterns. It helps get the best endorphin high.

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You have wanderlust.

Let me get this straight. If I strap on my running shoes, walk out of my door, and just keep going, I'll end up in this cool place. If I can do that here, where else can I go? This rabbit hole is worth going down. Where is the next race? In Houston? In Austin? In a national park? In a jungle? Overseas? It never ends.

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You can totally put yourself first.

This sounds crappy. Co-dependent people confuse this with being selfish. Healthy minded individuals know that true self care means to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others. Others will try to get in your way by guilt tripping you to spend more time with them, but know that you have to be in a good place to help others or it just will not work.

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You are truly grateful for......everything.

Chances are, you don't even know that you practice gratitude. It just comes naturally. If you are anything like me, you starting running out of hardship, almost necessity. But, along the way, you could not help but notice the trees, the flowers, and the birds. You just had to stop and smell the roses. Gratitude comes naturally to you!

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You are Houston Proud and Houston Strong.

If you are like me, you love you some Houston, Texas. Whether you are running in Memorial Park to Buffalo Bayou Park or in the Chevron Houston Marathon. You could be running downtown Houston passing by originals by Gonzo 247, David Adickes, or Daniel Anguilu. You know one thing…..You would not live in another city in this country. In fact, you can't wait until this weekend to do your weekend long run and enjoy all the Houston craft beer that goes with it.

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