Bayou Bend is open year-round with programs and events for adults and families with children. In addition to the highlights below, Bayou Bend offers an Election Celebration every four years and many other activities. For more information, contact Joey Milillo, programs manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.639.7759.
Are you interested in the docent program? Bayou Bend docents are nationally recognized volunteers who provide outstanding tours and education to visitors.
There’s mystery afoot at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens for sleuths ages 6 and older. Detective Days are self-guided activity sheets that provide a focused activity, challenging a child's observational skills and critical thinking.
Detective Days are available during self-guided tour hours for both the house and the gardens.
Detective Days at Bayou Bend are generously supported by Denise Monteleone.
♦ Special Lecture Event
Welcome Home, George Washington: Mount Vernon's Gardens
Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 2 p.m.
Speaker: Dean Norton, director of horticulture, Mount Vernon
♦ Carol and Les Ballard Lecture Series
Twice a year, renowned scholars speak about interesting aspects of American decorative and fine arts. Each lecture takes place in Brown Auditorium Theater at the MFAH. A reception follows. Tickets are free.
George Washington’s ‘New Room’: An American Masterpiece
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
Speaker: Susan Schoelwer, the Robert H. Smith Senior Curator, Mount Vernon
Visit mfah.org/calendar for more information on these lectures.
Offered free of charge on selected Sunday afternoons*, Bayou Bend Family Days feature music, games, crafts, and a host of other activities that are fun for both children and adults. Families with young children are invited to take guided tours, led by volunteers from the Houston Junior Woman's Club, of selected rooms of the house. Plus, guests may register for great giveaways from the MFAH and Houston Public Radio. *Family Days usually take place on the third Sunday of the month, but check the calendar for specific days.
Bayou Bend Family Days are presented by:
“Historical Plants for Today's Gardens”
Saturday, October 25, 2014, 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center
Join Bayou Bend Gardens curator Bart Brechter, along with horticulturalists and authors Chris Wiesinger, president and owner, the Southern Bulb Company, and William Welch, Texas A&M University, for a presentation and discussion on best practices for developing garden spaces in Southeast Texas using plants that serve as tangible symbols of the successes of previous generations of American gardeners. Your ticket also includes lunch, which follows the discussion along with a tour of the Bayou Bend Gardens.
Reserve your spot in advance! Get tickets online or call 713.639.7750.
Children's literature comes to life with ExploraStory! Bring your group of up to 24 kids (ages 3 to 5) to read a classic children’s book and participate in hands-on crafts and activities with Bayou Bend's experienced early-childhood educators in modern classrooms. Then investigate nature with a self-guided activity.
For the best selection of dates, reserve your visit a month in advance. More Information
School and Group Tours
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens offers a wide variety of group tours for adults and students.
The Bayou Bend School Tour Program is generously underwritten by The Crain Foundation.
The Bayou Bend Speakers Bureau, staffed by Bayou Bend docents, offers informative talks and lectures, illustrated with slides, for groups and organizations interested in learning more about antiques, gardens, history, holiday decorating, or the lifestyles of Americans in the past.
More than 60 topics are available. Presentations to educational institutions (teacher groups, colleges, etc.) are free of charge. Other groups pay a tax-deductible honorarium of $75 that is used to support the educational activities of Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Please call 713.353.1508 for more information.
Rienzi and Bayou Bend host a history book discussion series about life in America and Europe in the 1700s and 1800s. Meeting alternately at Rienzi and Bayou Bend, this book club offers free discussions on a regular basis.
Yuletide: Holiday Time at Bayou Bend, one of Houston's most beautiful annual traditions, features festive lights, decorations, and period room settings that bring historic American celebrations to life. Bayou Bend offers several evening programs during Yuletide—including events for families on Friday nights and for adults during the week—when guests may tour the exhibition, then enjoy holiday refreshments and entertainment outside. Yuletide typically begins shortly before Thanksgiving and closes around New Year's Day.
Bayou Bend partners with innovative music companies such as Ars Lyrica and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra to bring you beautiful outdoor concerts throughout the year. Visit mfah.org/calendar for details and tickets.
Each March, Bayou Bend participates in Azalea Trail, presented by River Oaks Garden Club. Azalea Trail showcases the colorful azaleas at Bayou Bend, Rienzi, private homes, and the garden club's Forum of Civics. At Bayou Bend, guests enjoy the splendor of spring among the woodland gardens and glimpse the collection of American decorative arts in the main hall of the house. For more details, contact River Oaks Garden Club. Tickets are also available at Bayou Bend beginning in February. Azalea Trail admission is the only way to view Bayou Bend during this weekend. Proceeds support local organizations including Bayou Bend and Rienzi.
Spring Break Week
Bayou Bend presents a week of special programming for families during Spring Break. Enjoy a wide range of child-friendly activities in the gardens, the mansion, and the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor Center.
Spring Break Week at Bayou Bend is generously underwritten by William J. Hill.
Summer History Camp
A Kid's Life in Colonial America
June 16–20 | June 23–27
July 7–11 | July 14–18
Bayou Bend's collection of early Americana serves as the jumping-off point for exploring how children lived 250 years ago. During Summer History Camp, kids become blacksmiths, mold candles, write with quill pens, wear 18th-century clothes, and play colonial games!
Designed for children entering or exiting 5th grade during the summer they attend, History Camp is a five-day program: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The week culminates in a special presentation for family and friends on Friday afternoon.
Registration is closed for 2014. Registration for summer 2015 begins in February. Questions? Contact Joey Milillo, Bayou Bend programs manager, at email@example.com or 713.639.7759.
Bayou Bend Summer History Camp receives generous funding from Houston Junior Woman’s Club.
4th of July Celebration
On Independence Day, Bayou Bend is open for an afternoon of music, art activities, and historical demonstrations that celebrate American freedom. Admission is free.
The 4th of July Celebration at Bayou Bend is presented by: