Bayou Bend School and Group Tours

Group Tours

Southern Charm, American Culture, Texas Heritage, and Historic Gardens

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is the perfect venue for a group-tour destination. Fourteen acres of formal and woodland gardens surround the elegant, 28-room historic house museum, which is filled with rare and exquisite masterpieces of American art and antiques. You may choose a 1-hour or 1½-hour collection tour. Allow additional time to see the beautiful Visitor and Education Center at the start of your visit; to stroll through the gorgeous gardens; and to explore The Shop at Bayou Bend before you depart.

Packages are available for groups of 24 or more; a 20% discount is applied to the admission fee. Group tours must be reserved at least three weeks in advance, pending availability.

For an even more memorable experience, group tours may be enhanced with lectures, receptions, luncheons, etc. held at the Visitor Center. Additional charges apply.

Group Tour Inquiries 
Lavinia Ignat 713.639.7758


School Tours

Make the world your classroom with a free visit to Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Visits to Bayou Bend will help your students learn about American history, art, science, and more. We will gladly help you plan a visit that will meet your learning objectives and your student’s needs; school programs are designed to support TEKS and best practices in informal learning.

► School Tour Information Packet

► Deciding to Visit

► How Does This Visit Support TEKS?

► During Your Visit: FAQs


The Bayou Bend School Tour Program is generously underwritten by The Crain Foundation.


Deciding to Visit

How do we make a reservation?
Contact 713.639.7750 or bayoubend@mfah.org to begin the reservation process. Reservations are requested for self-guided groups because the house closes occasionally for special programs or maintenance.

When can we visit?
Guided programs are offered Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings except during August. Self-guided visits to the historic house are available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons and every day in August.

Who can visit?
Students of all ages are invited to visit the Visitor Center and the Bayou Bend gardens. Guided programs at the historic house are appropriate for students ages 10 and up.

How many students may participate?
The field trip is most appropriate for groups of up to 72 people.

What is the cost?
School visits to Bayou Bend are free. Limited bus scholarship funds are available (click to download application).

How long does the visit last?
Most school visits last about two hours, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. A tour of the house and an activity at the Visitor Center are included.

What will we do when we visit?
Choose from guided programs, custom programs, and self-guided tours. 

Guided Programs

  • Students spend an hour visiting the American history collection in groups of about six with trained volunteers. The groups talk about how the objects in the collection reflect life in the past.
  • The other half of the program takes place in the Visitor Center classrooms. Subject to availability, teachers may select between:
    • Costume Presentation Volunteers in colonial costume talk about what people wore in the mid-1700s and how it reflected daily life. (Most appropriate for 5th graders)
    • Two Ways of Living Docents lead an interactive conversation with audiovisual and tactile materials about the differences and similarities between life in Massachusetts and life in Virginia in the years of early settlement. (Supports 8th grade TEKS)

Custom Programs

  • Bayou Bend can provide a tour that reflects your class’s special interests, from advanced American history to architecture to paintings. Call us at 713.639.7762 to discuss a customized program.

Self-Guided Tours

  • Bayou Bend welcomes your class for a self-guided visit to Bayou Bend. The gardens are available for self-touring Tuesday through Sunday, and the house is open for self-guided tours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons. (Please note: house tours are most appropriate for students older than 10.)
  • On a self-guided visit, you might
    • Sketch or paint in the gardens
    • Browse the children’s book collection (request at the time of your reservation).
    • Visit the gift shop
    • Use Bayou Bend as a site for nature study
    • Practice outdoor photography

How Does This Visit Support TEKS?


5th Grade
The Bayou Bend field trip can support:
History 1.A, B; 2.A; 4.A, F, G
Geography 7.A, 8.A
Economics 10.B, 11.B; 14 A–E
Citizenship 18.A
Culture 22.A, B, 23 A–C
Science 24.A–C

 


8th Grade
The Bayou Bend field trip can support:
History 1.A, B, C; 2.B; 4.A, B; 5.A; 8.5; 8.6; 8.7; 8.9
Geography 8.11.A, B, C; 8.12 A, B, C
Economics 8.13A, C; 8.14.B; 8.15.A,B
Citizenship 8.21.A, B; 8.23.A, B
Culture 8.24.A–E; 8.27.A-C; 8.28.A–C; 8.29.A–C


During Your Visit: FAQs

May we bring our lunches?
There are a few picnic tables and a large lawn space near the Visitor Center and parking lot where groups are welcome to eat brown-bag lunches. Outside food and drink are not allowed in the historic gardens due to the lack of trash containers. Students may not chew gum at Bayou Bend.

May we take photographs?
You are welcome to take pictures anywhere on the property except inside the house.

Is there parking for busses and carpools?
Yes, there is a large parking lot with free parking for buses and cars.

Is Bayou Bend accessible to children of all abilities?
Yes! But please let us know in advance if your group includes visitors with mobility impairments so that we can direct you to the accessible entrance.

Will students be able to work on an assignment during the visit?
We are happy to work with your students to complete assignments. Please provide us with a copy of the assignment at least a week before your visit so that the volunteers will be ready to help your students.

If I have questions before my visit, whom do I ask?
Call 713.639.7750 or e-mail bayoubend@mfah.org and we will be happy to help!

What if I need to cancel my visit?
Call 713.639.7750 or e-mail bayoubend@mfah.org to cancel the visit.

What happens if our group is late?
Please call 713.639.7750 as soon as possible to say that you are running late by. In general, tours end on schedule, and the volunteers and staff will shorten the presentation to accommodate your arrival time.

Where do we enter and check in?
Your bus should proceed to the lower parking lot, where you will be met by Bayou Bend volunteers. Your group will be divided as necessary, and then escorted to the beginning point of your program.

We recommend that backpacks, heavy coats, and umbrellas remain on the bus. All bags and cameras must be locked up in the provided lockers before you enter the house. If your group plans to have lunch on the Visitor Center lawn, please leave the lunches on the bus until your scheduled lunch time.

How many chaperones should we bring?
The number of recommended chaperones varies based on the age of the students, school policy, and the activities planned for the visit. We will help you work out the right number of chaperones for your group when you call to make your reservation.