Day Trips: Lucky Land, Houston: Chinese-Themed Gardens Guarded by Thousands of Terracotta Soldiers – Columns

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Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

lucky land in Houston takes you on a journey to China through an open-air museum. It’s a fun garden of pandas, buddhas, monster robot art, martial arts, and terracotta soldiers.

It was the Terracotta Soldiers that got me to the park among North Houston’s flea markets, auto shops and Mexican restaurants. The statues are the last remnants of the Forbidden gardens.

From 1997 to 2011, the Forbidden Gardens were the biggest tourist attraction in Katie. Ira PH Poona Hong Kong real estate investor who lived in Seattle, built the gardens as a showcase for Asian culture.

Among the many symbols of China brought to the coastal plains of Texas were 6,000 terracotta soldiers. Poon had the one-third scale soldiers made to match the clay army discovered in 1974 by farmers near Xi’an, China. It was an amazing sight.

When the Texas Department of Transportation announced it was building a highway through the 40-acre gardens, Poon ditched his Texas hobby and auctioned it all off. The Emperor’s army of sand-colored soldiers has been furloughed in backyards around Houston.

A few days before the bulldozers started leveling the site, Nida Lee discovered that hundreds of soldiers remained in the forbidden gardens. She and her husband, Jack, collected what they could and added to their impressive outdoor art collection alongside their Sunny Flea Market.

Lucky Land is located at 8625 Airline Dr. in North Houston. The park is divided into different thematic gardens connected by koi ponds. Admission ranges from $5 to $10. Closed on Mondays, doors open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 6 p.m. on weekends. 346/410-5847, luckyland-houston.com.


1,617th in a series. Everywhere is a day trip from somewhere: follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.


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