Programs & Events at Bayou Bend
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 email@example.com 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.
Holiday Brews on the Bayou
Saturday, December 1, 2 p.m.–6 p.m.
Add some hops to your holiday! Sip on beer tastings from select breweries at Holiday Brews on the Bayou! The tastings take place under a festive tent in the spectacular Diana Garden.
The Richard Brown Trio, with vocals by Bob Luna, provides jazz sounds featuring music from the Great American Songbook.
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 specially chosen rooms in the house.
*Family Days usually take place on the third Sunday of the month, from September through April. Check the calendar for specific days.
Teen Photography Workshop at Bayou Bend
Tuesday, November 20, 2018, 10 a.m.
Get inspired by the beautiful settings, backgrounds, and features of Bayou Bend! Teens of all skill levels are invited to participate.
An instructor from the Houston Center for Photography leads a photographic exploration of Bayou Bend’s 14-acre gardens. Learn about the principles of photography using digital cameras, as well as smartphones and tablets. Continue practicing your photography skills after the workshop—registration includes two free visits. Recommended for ages 13–19.
Thanksgiving Weekend at Bayou Bend
Bayou Bend is open on Thanksgiving weekend!
Friday, Saturday & Sunday, November 23–25
Live music each afternoon
Add a new tradition to your Thanksgiving holiday weekend with a visit to Houston’s home of early American treasures. Bring your family, explore the 14 acres of gardens, and enjoy self-guided tours of the historic mansion. Visit the cozy cottage for a curated selection of holiday gifts in the Shop at Bayou Bend.
In the afternoon, musical performances bring the gardens to life! Relax inside a see-through tent to the sounds of:
• Wylde Meade (Celtic & Celtic-inspired folk music) on November 23 & 25, 2:30–4:30 p.m.
• Swing Rendezvous (jazz/swing, 19th- & early-20th-century music) on November 24, 2:30–4:30 p.m.
Thanksgiving Weekend Hours
Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday, 1 p.m.–5 p.m.
Christmas Village at Bayou Bend
December 14, 2018–January 5, 2019
Open every evening, Wednesday through Sunday • Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays
Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday: 5:30–9 p.m. • Friday & Saturday: 5:30–10 p.m.
Premium nights: December 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 & 29 + January 4 & 5
Discover an immersive Christmas experience at beautiful Bayou Bend!
Get in the holiday spirit with carolers, a faux-snow slide for sledding, a cotton-snowball play area, a handcrafted model train, a trail of lights, and more—all on 14 acres of gardens and art nestled in River Oaks. Holiday-themed tours of Ima Hogg’s historic mansionfeature live actors, theatrical effects, and Christmas decorations. Plus, the Shop at Bayou Bend is open for holiday gifts! Christmas Village takes place rain or shine.
David B. Warren Symposium
A Diverse History: Texas, the Lower South, and the Southwest before 1900
February 22–23, 2019
To honor Bayou Bend’s founding director emeritus and his passion for American material culture, the MFAH established the David B. Warren Symposium, presented biennially since 2007. Each symposium develops a different aspect of the overall theme of American material culture and the Texas experience.
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.
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.
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.
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
Bayou Bend’s Speakers Bureau offers informative talks and lectures—illustrated with colorful slides—for groups and organizations interested in learning about antiques, history, holiday decorating, or the lifestyles of Americans in the past.
Staffed by Bayou Bend docents, Speakers Bureau presentations to educational institutions (teacher groups, colleges, etc.) are free of charge. Other groups pay an honorarium of $75 that is used to support the educational activities of Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
2019 dates: March 1, 2 & 3
Bayou Bend participates in the annual Azalea Trail, presented in March 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.
Summer History Camp
June 18–22 | July 9–13 | June 25–29 | July 16–20
Bayou Bend’s collection of early Americana serves as the jumping-off point for exploring activities that children participated in 250 years ago. During Summer History Camp, 21st-century kids become blacksmiths, write with quill pens, make candles, wear 18th-century clothes, and play colonial games. The camp’s thoughtful curriculum creates an engaging atmosphere for understanding the past through multiple perspectives, and challenges campers to form opinions based on asking questions and discovery through active participation.
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.
Questions? Contact Joey Milillo at email@example.com or 713.639.7759.
Bayou Bend Summer History Camp receives generous funding from Houston Junior Woman’s Club.
Education programs at Bayou Bend receive generous funding from Landry’s, Inc.; Laura and John Arnold; Sharon G. Dies; Mitra Mujica-Margolis and Michael Margolis; Houston Junior Woman's Club; Mr. William J. Hill; the Susan Vaughan Foundation; Frost Bank; Carolyn Frost Keenan; Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P.; Ralph H. and Ruth J. McCullough Foundation; Mrs. Denise D. Monteleone; William A. and Madeline Smith Charitable Trust; Mr. and Mrs. Dan English III; Christine and Jaime Yordan Foundation; and additional generous donors.
The education programs also receive endowment income from funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Ballard and Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Tate.