By John Egan
The annual Offshore Technology Conference truly brings the world to Houston: The record-high 108,300 attendees at the 2014 conference-including energy executives, consultants and scientists-hailed from more than 130 countries.
This year's conference, which will be May 4-7 at NRG Park, should be no different. Conference spokeswoman Dana Otillio said registration for the 2015 conference "remains positive and strong," on pace with registration in recent years. One indication that this year's attendance will be solid: The conference received more than 1,300 proposals for its technical sessions, the highest number in the event's nearly 50-year history, said Otillio.
So if you're among the tens of thousands from around the world who will be descending on Houston for the 2015 Offshore Technology Conference and you want to immerse yourself in some global activities while you're in the Bayou City, here are six options.
Visit the Asia Society Texas Center
The Asia Society Texas Center, part of the Houston Museum District, says it "engages the diversity of Houston through enriching programs and events within the pillars of arts and culture, business and policy, exhibitions, and education and community outreach."
Check out the Czech Center Museum Houston
The Czech Center Museum Houston, also located in the Houston Museum District, strives to "preserve, record and celebrate the language, scholarship and arts of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Slovakia."
Dine at Peli Peli
Peli Peli, one of Houston's most popular restaurants, serves South African fusion cuisine. On the menu are South African delicacies along with American-style steak, chicken and seafood.
The high-end eatery says guests will "embark on a journey that will capture their heart, soul and belly and enjoy a culinary experience that they have never had before." Aside from the fare, you're bound to be impressed by the restaurant's 30-foot-tall Acacia tree.
Swing by the Houston Public Library
Of course, you can peruse an array of books at the Houston Public Library. But in keeping with our international theme, one of the reasons you should stop by the library is to admire the historic Julia Ideson Building.
The library says the building's "distinctive and elegant Spanish architecture stands out among the glass contemporary buildings that surround it. As you enter into this 1926 structure, it takes you back to a Houston that once was." Highlights of the building include the Spanish-brick floors, the grand staircase, the pillar-surrounded Tudor Gallery and the step-back-in-time Reading Room.
Fly over to the Johnson Space Center
Space Center Houston, the official visitors center for NASA's Johnson Space Center, takes guests on an out-of-this-world journey through human adventures in space.
Space Center Houston, which bills itself as "the gateway to the universe," contains more than 250 space artifacts, such as the Mercury 9 capsule, the Gemini 5 capsule and the Apollo 17 command module. Various exhibits, attractions and theaters tell the story of space exploration.
Take a tour of Karbach Brewing Co.
One reviewer on TripAdvisor toasts the German-style Karbach Brewing Co. as a "hidden gem."
Not surprisingly, aficionados praise Karbach's beer. But tours of the brewery are just as much of an attraction as the beer itself. Karbach conducts tours and tastings every day. Tours are at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Learn more about the evolving Houston Convention District at visithouston.com/meetings/.
How Offshore Technology Conference Attendees Can Immerse Themselves in Worldly Houston
By John Egan