One summer long ago (well six years back anyway), I spent working in Houston, Texas with an amazing group of teachers.  We were always up for an adventure on the weekends, or as much of an adventure as we could fit into the couple of hours we had free on a Saturday.

We discovered that without leaving the greater Houston area we could fulfill our dream of visiting China and even better it would take 3 hours tops.

Forbidden Gardens was built in 1997 at the pleasure of Ira P. H. Poon, AKA “Mr. Poon,” a Hong Kong real estate mogul who wanted people of Asian descent (including his teenage children) to know something of Asian culture besides firecrackers and kung-fu. Mr. Poon lives in Seattle, but preferred constructing the sprawling exhibit somewhere outdoors, open year-round, on flat, cheap land, where there was a large Asian population. Houston, 25 miles east of Forbidden Gardens, has the third highest in the nation.  Read more here.

As I write this I am saddened to share that: (1) my pictures of this glorious occasion were taken in the great laptop crash of 2008 and (2) as I searched the internets it seems that Forbidden Gardens was closed in 2011.  While you may not ever get to experience China in Texas –  you should definitely check out the Terracotta Warrior Exhibit.  I had the chance to see it in Montreal and it was amazing!  And speaking of Montreal, check out this Canadian photographer/blogger here.