Houston’s Astrodome to Become World’s Largest Indoor Park?

When it had opened its doors for the first time on April 9, 1965, the Astrodome was the world’s first multi-purpose domed sports stadium. On that day, the dome was celebrated by 47, 879 people, who were cheering at an exhibition match between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees. Among the cheering crowd, in a private box, there sat President Lyndon Baines Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird.

Interior of the Astrodome in 2004

There is a tremendous amount of history flowing between the walls of the Astrodome and an ever increasing pressure to decide on how to deal with that history – after receiving proposals that entailed complete demolition and an extreme repositioning,  the dome might have found its salvation in a recent proposal from Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who argued for the conversion of the Astrodome into the world’s largest indoor park and recreation center.

“I believe it is time to put forth a new vision for the future of the Dome,” Emmett said. “With that in mind, I am suggesting that we explore the concept of creating an indoor park and recreation area inside the Dome for the people of Harris County. The world’s largest indoor park.”

While the details of this reconversion haven’t been specified, the idea is to have the Astrodome open to the public except when in use by tenants such as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo or the Offshore Technology Conference. In addition, the judge’s plan proposes the inclusion of a large, open green space that would cater to festivals and other community gatherings.

“Rather than try to convert the Dome into something it was never intended to be, I think it is time to look back to the original version of Judge Hofheinz,” Emmett said. “That vision was to provide a place for traditional outdoor activities in a climate-controlled space. A space like none other in the world.”