Family Friendly Cities: More to explore in Houston - United Hub

Family friendly cities: More to explore in Houston

By Bob Cooper

Houston may not seem like an obvious choice for a family vacation, but the city is an underrated destination with fun activities all year round. Even though this city experienced historic flooding last summer, all of the city's attractions are currently open and waiting to be explored. America's fourth-largest city is becoming an increasingly popular, budget-friendly family destination.

Houston Space Center

Space City

Houston earned its nickname, Space City, by putting men on the moon only eight years after the space program was launched there in 1961. Today it's equally well known for Space Center Houston, which hosts one million annual visitors. The Smithsonian-affiliate museum displays artifacts that include past and present Mission Control center replicas; the Apollo 17 module; space shuttles; space station and Mars Rover exhibits; the tallest rocket ever flown (363 feet); and the world's largest collection of space suits. Astronauts themselves make appearances on Fridays and Saturdays, as the NASA Johnson Space Center is right next door, where astronauts are trained and tram tours are given to museum visitors.

Kid-friendly museums

Space is not the only topic kids can learn about in Houston. The city is home to three other family-friendly museums—all walking distance apart in the Museum District—that are among the best of their kind in the U.S. A floor-to-ceiling ribcage and a 12-foot-tall beating heart are part of the Amazing Body experience at The Health Museum, where kids get to know how the human body works. Also appealing to inquiring young minds is the Houston Museum of Natural Science nearby, which includes a planetarium and three-story butterfly zoo, and the Children's Museum of Houston, where tots to teens can learn, create, invent and play.

Kemath Boardwalk in Houston

Waterside attractions

Houston may not be a coastal city, but numerous beaches on Galveston Bay and Galveston Island are within an hour's drive. One big family attraction on the bay is Kemah Boardwalk, which offers classic thrill rides (including a wooden rollercoaster), a Ferris wheel and a double-decker carousel. A bit farther south on the Gulf is Galveston Island's Moody Gardens, where attractions include an aquarium, water park, zip line, ropes course, paddlewheel boat rides, rainforest zoo and 4D Special FX Theater.

Hermann Park in Houston

Houston outdoors

Families who prefer “doing" to spectating also have ample choices in Houston. Average highs from the sixties to eighties through spring make outdoor fun pleasant. This may mean a stop at the Houston Zoo, where the African Forest is the newest major addition, or taking the Hermann Park Railroad two-mile ride and pedal boating at McGovern Lake. All are located near the Museum District in Hermann Park. Families can also rent a bike from a bike shop or at any of the 51 Houston BCycle bike-sharing stations for a spin on the river-hugging Buffalo Bayou Trail near downtown Houston.

Fun festivals

Family-friendly festivals can be enjoyed all year in Houston. Families can take part in a traditional Chinese New Year festival (Feb. 24-25), where seven lion dance troupes will perform, or the American tradition of watching a big rodeo (Feb. 27-March 18), where a parade and horse show are also featured. In April, they can attend America's largest children's festival (April 7-8), with 300 activities and four entertainment stages, or see the world's wackiest-decorated vehicles at the 250,000-spectator Art Car Parade (April 14). Kids of all ages should enjoy Comicpalooza on Memorial Day weekend. Or, looking further ahead, they can visit Houston for the big July 4 weekend festival or Thanksgiving weekend parade.

If you go

United Airlines offers flights to Houston from numerous cities throughout the U.S. and abroad, and MileagePlus® Rewards can help pay for your car rental and hotel room once you arrive. Go to united.com or use the United app to plan your family getaway to Texas.

United Cargo and logistics partners keep critical medical shipments moving

By The Hub team, July 02, 2020

By working together and strengthening partnerships during these unprecedented times, our global community has overcome challenges and created solutions to keep the global supply chain moving. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the shipping landscape, United and our industry partners have increasingly demonstrated our commitment to the mission of delivering critical medical supplies across the world.

United Cargo has partnered with DSV Air and Sea, a leading global logistics company, to transport important pharmaceutical materials to places all over the world. One of the items most critical during the current crisis is blood plasma.

Plasma is a fragile product that requires very careful handling. Frozen blood plasma must be kept at a very low, stable temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or less – no easy task considering it must be transported between trucks, warehouses and airplanes, all while moving through the climates of different countries. Fortunately, along with our well-developed operational procedures and oversight, temperature-controlled shipping containers from partners like va-Q-tec can help protect these sensitive blood plasma shipments from temperature changes.

A single TWINx shipping container from va-Q-tec can accommodate over 1,750 pounds of temperature-sensitive cargo. Every week, DSV delivers 20 TWINx containers, each one filled to capacity with human blood plasma, for loading onto a Boeing 787-9 for transport. The joint effort to move thousands of pounds of blood plasma demonstrates that despite the distance, challenges in moving temperature-sensitive cargo and COVID-19 obstacles, we continue to find creative solutions with the help of our strong partnerships.

United Cargo is proud to keep the commercial air bridges open between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Since March 19, we have operated over 3,200 cargo-only flights between six U.S. hubs and over 20 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, India, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Celebrating Juneteenth

By United Airlines, June 18, 2020

A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group

Fellow United team members –

Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.

Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.

Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.

Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."

Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.

To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.

Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.

Thank you,

UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)

Leadership Team

Making every step of the travel journey safer for you

By United Airlines, May 20, 2020
United Clean Plus | Clorox

We remain passionate about connecting the world safely

United CleanPlus SM is our commitment to putting health and safety at the forefront of your journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness. We're teaming up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures, and over the coming months, we'll roll out Clorox products across our U.S. airports, starting in select locations, to help support a healthy and safe environment, and to provide transparency and choice throughout the travel journey.

At the airport

  • At check-in:

  • 1
    Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub airports
  • 2
    Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
  • 3
    Encouraging use of the United app for contactless travel assistance and more
  • 4
    Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand 6 feet apart
  • 5
    Rolling out touchless check-in for customers with bags
  • At the gate:

  • 6
    Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
  • 7
    Providing hand sanitizer and
    disinfectant wipes
  • 8
    Allowing customers to self-scan boarding passes
  • 9
    Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front to promote social distancing
  • 10
    Rolling out Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Sprayers to disinfect in the airport

On our aircraft

  • 1
    Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers
  • 2
    Requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering and providing disposable face coverings for customers who need them
  • 3
    Providing onboard items like pillows and blankets upon request
  • 4
    Disinfecting high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding
  • 5
    Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
  • 6
    Ensuring aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines
  • 7
    Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft
  • 8
    Using state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters to circulate air and remove 99.97% of airborne particles
    • The cabin recirculated air is exchanged every 2-3 minutes

Cleveland Clinic We're working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols for the safety of our employees and customers. Visit Cleveland Clinic's website to learn more about COVID-19.

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