Explore: Snow Science [12 Days of HMNS]

Hello, holidays! Today is the First Day of HMNS – for the next 12 days, we’ll be featuring another fun video of a holiday museum activity here on the blog (or, you can get a sneak peek at all the videos on 12days.hmns.org – we won’t tell).

For our first video, we wondered about snow – something we were shocked to see falling here in Houston on Dec. 4 – the earliest recorded snowfall in local history. So, we asked Gene Norman, Chief Meteorologist at KHOU, to explain a few things. Like: why is snow white? Are all snowflakes really unique? And – will we see snow falling in Houston again this year?

Click play to see for yourself!

Visit the Gene Norman Weather Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, a one-of-a-kind interactive exhibit, where kids and parents can conduct a live weather forecast in precisely the same manner as Norman does on the local news each evening.

Get into the holiday spirit! Visit our 12 Days of HMNS web site to see the videos and get more information about each event, exhibit and film!

Happy Holidays!

Snow? In Houston? Really?

On Wednesday, four days after the HMNS Snow Flurry event, it was chilly and wet outside. I was snug in my office with a mug of cocoa and a toasty warm computer monitor when I heard a ridiculous story that we were supposed to see naturally falling snow by that evening. I naturally accused the bearer of this news of hopeful invention, if not outright lying, then checked a weather website and saw indications for ‘rain or snow showers’ that evening, but still I didn’t believe we would see anything interesting. “It will all melt on the way down — it’s not even supposed to get below freezing tonight!”

But of course I was wrong and we had the first snow Houston has had this early in the season since 1944! Allison took these pictures:

So what conditions do you need to form snow? Well, if you have the right lab and a research budget, you could grow snow crystals indoors! (‘Snowflakes’ can refer to individual crystals or (often) to agglomerations or clumps of many, many snow crystals.) If you need larger quantities, you can always create your own snow like ski resorts, but you still need much colder conditions than we usually have. Most of us, however, must wait for suitable weather conditions.

Need immediate gratification? You can always resort to making decorative paper snowflakes, or try a more high-tech option.

We may not see snow again this year, but if you’re curious about who else might be getting it soon, check out this 24-hour snow forecast map. Or see if your holiday travels will bring you a White Christmas.

The Flurry was upon us!

Thousands of Houston children came to HMNS last Saturday to enjoy one of our most popular events of the year: Snow Flurry! Cookie decorating, making snow angels and visiting Santa and his reindeer were the most popular activities of the day.

Mom and Dad had fun, too, signing up for the Ho Ho Harley Davidson Giveaway where they could register to win a Christmas present of their own. 362 days until the 6th annual Snow Flurry – so while you wait, take a look at some amazing photos of the event taken by one of our festive staff members!

Snow covered the HMNS grounds at Snow Flurry.
Holiday crafts were a hit.
Little ones got their photo with Santa!

The holidays are happening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science – check out our 12 Days of HMNS web site to see sneak-peek video of everything happening here this holiday season.

At Snow Flurry: Prancer, the Gossiping Reindeer

Since I’m an insider it’s hard not to share this news…

Prancer is a total gossip! He’s been living at the North Pole as long as he can remember and knows every little detail about everyone there. He knows what designer shoes the head elf is wearing, where Mrs. Claus keeps her most precious pearls, and whether Santa wears boxers or briefs! (Ok, that’s neither here nor there because who wants to know what kind of underwear Santa has on! …Ew!!!)

So here’s the latest gossip… Santa has lost it. He lost the list! He lost the list of which present goes to which kid! It’s a complete disaster (and so far it’s Prancer’s most highly acclaimed gossip article in the North Pole Daily). So it’s time for us to come through for Santa! Seriously, how many times has Santa come through for you?!? Gather up your friends, family, neighbors, the kids at the rec center – come see Santa at Snow Flurry and tell him what you want! My sister Amanda is certainly not going to want the cordless electric drill that her husband requested and my little cousin J.P. won’t want the Barbie his sister is asking for! This is our chance to help Santa straighten out this mess, Houston! Could you really turn down a pair of twinkling eyes and those merry little dimples?? 

Where can you find Santa? He’s going to be at the Museum this Saturday! All day long he will be collecting the wishes of little boys and little girls. Or you can just tell Prancer (he’ll be here, too). He’s a talker. Before you meet her in person at Snow Flurry, get a sneak-peek meet n’ greet with Prancer in the video below (and learn why all of Santa’s reindeer are girls).

See Santa AND Prancer at Snow Flurry! This Saturday, December 6 from 10 am – 4 pm. Seeing Santa is free -but did I mention there will be real snow there, too? 80,000 lbs. of it. Members $3 or non-members $5.