impulsive fun

5 enlightening reasons to ride downtown Houston's musical seesaws this summer

5 reasons to ride downtown Houston's musical seesaws this summer

Impulse seesaw Avenida Houston
Everyone's getting tipsy downtown.  Photo by Adrian Samano

Adulting is hard. Between the groan-inducing chores of having to wake up, head to a job, and pay bills — to say nothing of family obligations — it’s easy to yearn for the simpler, fun-filled days of childhood. And few activities elicit those cherished youthful moments like a blissful, floating ride on a seesaw.

That’s the idea behind Impulse, a traveling, interactive exhibit that’s currently drawing hordes of Houstonians to downtown at Avenida Houston. The glowing experience, which runs until September 2,  features 12 interactive and illuminated seesaws that respond when activated. Described by creators as a “human-powered light and sound experience built to encourage play for children of all ages,” Impulse is a constantly changing “instrument” in which participants become the musicians and artists.

The luminescent seesaws are 16 feet long and produce audible tones when in motion. The lights and sounds change as the units are moved up and down in time with the motion — slower or faster.

The seesaws are created and designed by Lateral Office and CS Design and the experience is produced by Montreal firm Quartier des Spectacles Partnership (it debuted at Place des Festivals, the outdoor plaza in Montreal's Cultural District). Impulse was a wild hit in Dallas, where it just completed a month-long run in May.

Based on demand and interest, here are five things to know before you enjoy a serene seesaw sit-down.

Sunset views
As the seesaws light up, the perfect time to take it all in is before it gets too dark outside. It's also especially fun to watch the sun set around Discovery Green and downtown Houston.

Dress the part
The best bet is to wear tennis shoes and — this one's for the ladies — pants. The idea is to pretend to be a big kid again on a seesaw, so dress in big kid attire.

Grab a friend 
The whole point of a ride on a seesaw is to have a pal on the other side. It's quite boring — and immobile — without a counterpart. If possible, find a friend who's similar in stature for the best results. If attending with children, it’s best to have two adults involved if the children are small enough to fall off — one to hold junior and the other to gently counterbalance.

Make it a Discovery Green day
The park is usually home to various art installations and events, such as the "GUST" pinwheels. And, being Houston, there are myriad quality restaurants within spitting distance. Tack on visits to the likes of Pappadeaux, Brassiere DuParc, The Grove, Xochi, The Rustic, and more.

Free rides
Nostalgic riders have nothing to lose but maybe what they pay in metered or garage parking. The free exhibit is only here until September 2, and is available during park hours: 8 am to 11 pm. 


Indulge your Impulse through September 2. Exhibit runs 8 am to 11 pm daily at 1001 Avenida de las Americas — between Polk and Rusk.