Meet Our Discovery Tour Guides
As a kid growing up in the suburbs of Crosby, Texas, Chris would launch expeditions up old drainage pipes, riding his bike to the nearby forests, and digging around for arrowheads like the ones his dad would bring home from hunting trips. Since the first grade, Chris has wanted to be an archaeologist, a career path he pursues today. Here at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Chris aims to share all the knowledge he has gained on his journey and to satisfy the curiosity of others. Whether it's Egyptology or paleontology, a tour with him isn't a simple dry run-through, or a quick show and tell. It's an experience. Fun guaranteed!
“Aloha, My wife and I had time on Friday to enjoy your Museum and was pleasantly surprised by the offer of a guided tour through the paleontology exhibit. We mentioned that a guided walk through time could be great or horribly bad depending on the guide. I am writing to compliment Chris Wells on the great job he did in bringing to life the subject matter. He was thorough without being long winded and humorous without being distracting. I was especially impressed by how he handled the two children in our group. He acknowledged them frequently, answered their questions, listened to their stories, and generally treated them very well without allowing them to overrun the group or stop progress. I appreciated his work and dedication and wanted to pass on my thoughts.” Micah Sutton
“Our guide on our Paleontology tour was amazing. He was extremely knowledgeable and patient with our questions. It was a fascinating tour. Thank you Chris.” Bob Dorfman
“On Saturday my daughter and I took the group tour lead by Chris Wells. Chris did a great job and we learned a lot. He was very knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. I just wanted to let you know that Chris represented the museum well and made our visit much more enjoyable.” Mark Braud Baton Rouge, LA
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the Egyptian exhibit today. Our guide was Chris Wells. We found him to be very knowledgeable and very pleasant. He gave us a lot of information and welcomed our questions. The way he delivered the information was easily understood and a very positive experience. We will be back. Donna Kay & Michael Farr
Chris was awesome and amazing in the paleo tour! Major kudos! So much information, all of which was interesting! Thanks so much for the time and effort! Ana Osornio
While not a native Texan, Gary happily fell in love with Texas in San Angelo where he met his wife. During his childhood Gary was raised in a military household where he picked up an appreciation for the complexity of nature and the diversity of life in different locations. Gary is a huge fan of all of our museum's collections but he will attest that his favorites are our Didelphodon, Cretaceous Tazzie and our Malacology Hall. Gary can typically be found energetically talking about a multitude of various scientific subjects all while trying to amuse and educate our guests at the same time.
“Gary Kidder was a wonderful tour guide for the Egyptian Hall. I learned so much during that hour. It was great how Gary would make comparisons to life today. I hope to come back and visit in Feb. 2014 to see what new and exciting exhibit the museum will have. Thanks again Gary! Cassandra Chavez Baltimore, MD
“Gary Kidder gave us an amazing tour of the new paleontology hall. I was so glad that a museum employee told us it was possible as we entered the museum this morning. Ours was a mixed group - my son (40) 3 children (10,9,5) and a German guest (18). Gary accommodated everyone especially my grandson who asked lot of questions. It was a wonderful experience. Thanks." May M. Coylet and Family Conroe, TX
“Gary Kidder, (Docent or tour discovery guide). The tour was the most impressive tour my 10 year old daughter and I have ever experienced. Gary captivated our attention for more than an hour. After he finished the tour we wanted come back during our next visit. I have been to many museums and I can say that this tour was by far the best I have ever experienced. I was thrilled with the knowledge and with the enthusiasm that spills over into the tour. Children will learn all of the different opportunities science majors and anthropology majors can have. Also how it takes a community with multiple talents to create a pool of knowledge that allows us to understand/consider the past in forming the future. Thank You” Lorna T. Hotson San Diego, CA
My family and I took the opportunity today to enjoy one of your guided tours through the Paleontology Hall. I have been wanting to do a guided tour for many years now and have just never taken the opportunity. It has been worth the wait and worth the chance to experience an engaging tour with Gary Kidder in your new hall.
My son and I both love science and the Houston Museum. I hope you continue your tours and giving the public the opportunity to hear the story behind the fossils on display. I feel that there is no role more important for a public museum than to spread Scientific enlightenment to the public it serves. Seth Robins
Gary Kidder was very polite and knowledgeable tour guide. The tour was informative and entertaining at the same time. He did an excellent job. Stephen Dawson
James joined the Houston Museum of Natural Science family on July 21st 2011. His love for science and history are only matched by his enthusiasm of teaching. As a supplemental instructor, lab assistant and tutor of geology, James has been on many field excursions before he joined the museum. He has also preformed presentations at a number of schools, career days, conferences and was a special guest on a webinar. James’ passion is contagious when he paints a mental image of the circumstances and story surrounding an item. James has a great blend of enthusiasm, excitement and humor which makes his tours enjoyable for everyone.
“Thank you so much for guiding my staff and me through the museum of Natural Science! Your incredible depth of knowledge and passion for science make it clear that this facility is a fantastic asset for Houston.” Ellen R. Cohen City of Houston Council Member District C
“On Wednesday, a geologist friend and I were touring the new paleontology hall when we had a delightful encounter with Jurassic James, a member of your concierge staff. He was informed and charming and even took time to offer us some insights into other exhibits about which we expressed an interest. His enthusiasm is infectious and he is clearly knowledgeable. I wish we could clone him and put one of him in every science class in America. The museum is to be congratulated for encouraging James and others like him. He is a real asset to the museum.” Felicia Eppley
“I had the most amazing experience last Friday. I had the pleasure of spending part of my day with James Washington III (Jurassic James). James guided me through the Faberge exhibit and the Morian Hall of Paleontology. I originally went to the Museum to see the Faberge exhibit, which was fantastic and thanks to James I learned so much and was in awe of the craftsmanship. But James blew me away with his tour of the Morian Hall of Paleontology. He was so knowledgeable, funny, and interesting. It was an incredible experience that I can’t stop talking about.” Mary Saul Director, Marketing Analytics GDF SUEZ Energy Resources NA
“We had a guided tour with a large group of teenagers through the Paleontology hall a couple of weekends ago at noon with James Washington III (Jurassic James) and just wanted to give a huge 'Thank You' for now offering this tour service. It makes the museum's already impressive collection of specimens that much richer and thought-provoking. I never enjoyed the pre-recorded audio tours at other museums because it failed to allow for questions, feedback or otherwise engage. This tour service goes above and beyond expectations.” Ainsley Christianson Operations | Artisan | Analytics
Our tour guide was Mr. James. He did a marvelous job explaining everything in a very professional and knowledgeable way. He made our trip to this museum a very good experience. Thanks. Alfredo Phegn
Our tour guide James did an outstanding job at keeping the tour on the Hall of Ancient Egypt both entertaining and informative. Diego Pliego
K/T Kendall J. Friess
As a child Kendall ran around the sandstone hills of Farmington New Mexico, collecting rocks and capturing colorful collared lizards. From a very young age he has been in awe of our amazing planet, the life on it, and the processes that have changed the face of earth for billions of years. Kendall absolutely loves sharing information with others and making it entertaining and exciting for people of all ages. To see a HMNS guest look at our world in an illuminating new light brings Kendall much joy!
“Kendall is an excellent tour guide. He was very informative and a complete joy to be around. As a student in my 20’s Kendall made me care more about geology then my professor and TA did. He was entertaining and quite funny. Two for you Kendall! You go Kendall!” Sarah Uanier
“I visited the HMNS a couple of weeks ago for the first time. It was fantastic. A bit confusing to enter as a rookie and not know where to go. After all, when a child visits Disneyland, he never knows what ride to visit first. I was fortunate enough to be the only person to join the 12pm tour. It was guided by Mr. Friess and I had such a good time that I had to sign up for a membership because I knew I would be returning to the HMNS. He was very friendly, knowledgeable and objective. I brought up a couple science questions that weren't directly related to paleontology, and he was clearly versed in other disciplines. And since nobody in my family likes to talk science with me, I was elated to talk science with someone who loves it as much, if not more, than I do. Thank you, staff at the HMNS and Mr. Friess.” Mike Navarrette
We had a wonderful experience with the Paleo tour. Kendall was our guide and our tour was structured so well that our entire group learned so much from our 5 year old to adults. Wonderful experience and we will definitely return soon and participate in future tours. Samara VanZaudt
We just finished a tour of the Paleo Hall w/Kendall. He was wonderful and very knowledgable! Kelly Yoon
Rich has been at HMNS since 2007. He loves science, and specializes in kids tours. He's a former teacher, social worker, park ranger, and farmed for several years in southwest Georgia. Rich believes the world is changed every day by n.e.r.d.s (Never Ending Radical Dudes/Dudettes) When not showing kids how to make an Egyptian mummy, or talking about dinosaurs, he can be found in HMNS' awesome special exhibits.
“Dear Rich, Huge thanks for an absolutely amazing tour of the Paleontology Hall for our small home school group. Zoey, Jules, Pearl and Carrie were totally engaged and learned more in that two hours then any textbook could provide. We are so appreciative of your time, knowledge and enthusiasm. We will most definitely schedule something in the future. All the best. Emily Weinstein and Marcia Chamberlain.”
“ Dear Mr. Rich, Thank you for helping us learn more! Our museum visits are even more fun when you are teaching us! You make the science museum (HMNS) come alive. Love the Holy Family”