I'm not a rich man because believe it or not it's really hard to find someone to pay you large amounts of money for talking about Doctor Who and steampunk sex toys. Because of that I am usually on the lookout for a deal when it comes to entertainment. Turns out there are some pretty amazing things you can do in Houston for the price of a single portrait of Mr. Lincoln. What will $5 let you do here? Well you can...
10: Play Pool All Night at Slick Willie's: On Wednesday nights the Slick Willie's on Fountainview has Wristband Wednesday. Patrons can play pool all night for only $5, which is a pretty fantastic deal. They also have a live DJ, Rob Rock, spinning from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
9. Where the Girls Are: Weekday nights are usually when you see deals in the nightlife in Houston. If pool isn't your thing you could also head over to the Last Concert Café for Where the Girls Are on Tuesdays. The weekly shows feature three to four female fronted bands with a $5 cover charge, and the money raised actually goes to charity. Robin Kirby, Wendy Elizabeth Jones, Susan Gibson, Lady and the Tramps, and more all make appearances. It's a good cheap way to acquaint yourself with the feminine side of Houston music.
8. Red Beans and Rice at Pappadeaux: For my money there are two great, guilty pleasure meals that you can pick up in Houston for $5. The first is the red beans and rice at any Pappadeaux's. It's listed as a side, but it covers a plate. If you nab it as takeout it serves as a two whole meals, and has a damn near perfect blend of spices. Or sit in with a glass of water and your total with tip comes to just over $5. They tend to be a little light on the sausage in the dish, though, which is why it's ranked after...
7. Frito Pie at 59 Diner: 59 Diner doesn't have the best chili in Houston, but it probably has the best cheap chili in Houston. Just thick, meaty goodness for an amazing price. Unlike the red beans in rice I mentioned it doesn't make for much of a take-away meal, but that's fine because the Frito pie is so good you're not going to leave any anyway.
6. Feed a Giraffe: The Houston Zoo is constantly being updated in new and awesome ways, and the new African forest is a marvel. Until the gorilla enclosure opens in 2015, the best part of the trek to the back of the zoo is the chance to feed the giraffes at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. A $5 ticket gets you three large leaves of lettuce, and the giraffes are super gentle and friendly. No petting them, unfortunately, but it's a thrill to see their big black tongues come snaking out to snatch the greens right from your hand.
5. Feed a Stingray: Sure, on a certain level you know that the massive giraffes could probably kill you, but there's just no getting over the fact that they are one of God's more ridiculous-looking experiments with evolution. Stingrays, though? That's got cache. Anything that took out Steve Irwin is worthy of a healthy dose of respect.
The Kemah Aquarium, and now the downtown one as well, have a stingray reef. You can touch them for only $3, but $5 will allow you to feed the fascinating fish! It really is something you will never forget, though you do have to wonder when zoo keepers realized that they could get us to pay money to essentially do their job for them.
4. Visit the Buffalo Soldiers Museum: Houston has one of the country's best museum districts, but frankly some of them are a little pricey. The Buffalo Soldiers Museum, which is the only museum in the nation dedicated primarily to the contributions of African Americans in the military, is one of the few museums and adult can get into for just $5. It's such a fascinating look at the way our views have evolved over the course of history, and should definitely be on every Houstonian's list of things to eventually do.
3. Watch Old Blockbusters in the I-MAX: The Houston Museum of Natural Science has the biggest screen in the city, which they use to show amazing documentaries. Have you ever wondered what say, Independence Day would look like on that enormous screen? Now you can find out. The Take Two series of films will screen some of our favorite flicks in gigantovision twice a month over the rest of the summer. Everything from Jaws to Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The best part is that they've also dropped the price to $5 per ticket for the events.
2. Ride a Dinosaur: As long as you're in the museum you might as well take the opportunity to ride the giant robotic tyrannosaur that they have in the lobby. $5 will net you the ultimate Christmas card photo. The only downside is that it's strictly a kids-only affair. For shame, people that make robotic dinosaurs. Did you honestly think that no adults would enjoy yelling, "Yee haw!" from astride eight tons of thunder lizard? Oh well, it's fun for the kids at least.
1. Ride an Elephant: Robot dinosaurs are cool and all, but they are little more than a glorified coin-operator supermarket ride. With the Texas Renaissance Festival coming up in a couple of months, set aside a Lincoln in order to ride a real life elephant! There's nothing quite like sitting on the mightiest of all land animals, the steeds of Hannibal's army, for the price of a 20 games of Ms. Pac-Man. And unlike to robot dinosaur at the museum, adults are perfectly welcome to climb aboard. It's the ultimate ace to any conversation. What did you do today? I rode the mighty elephant! Best fun you can have in Houston for $5.
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