Best Menagerie - 2006
The Eclectic Menagerie Park
Just south of Loop 610 off State Highway 288 is the newest manifestation of Houston's inherent weirdness -- a fresh companion for other such exuberant folk-art outbursts as the Orange Show, the Beer Can House and the Flower Man House. In a huge green field just off Holmes Road, on land belonging to Texas Pipe and Supply Company, lies the Eclectic Menagerie Park, a slowly growing outdoor installation of sculptures. It began in 1999 with a lonely hippo bawling on a little purpose-built mound. Little by little, more beasts came to the party -- huge, rust-colored armadillos, a staid-looking rhino, a giant roadrunner, a trio of gaudy art cows, an enormous eagle with outstretched wings. And, oh yeah, a giant gorilla dangling from a crane, a dragon, and lots and lots of airplanes. If you have to ask why all that stuff is out there, you just don't understand Houston. "Why shouldn't it be there?" is the better question. That's just the way we roll around here.