Cowboys and Culture

The Fort Worth Herd.

The Fort Worth Herd.

By Jennifer Elliott –

I grew up in Fort Worth and have loved being able to take my husband and kids back to visit. If you have a free long weekend this summer, head north and enjoy the City of Cowboys and Culture.

For folks with kids, your first stop must be the Fort Worth Zoo. Ranked as a top five zoo in the nation, it showcases natural habitat exhibits that replicate animals’ homes in the wild. The popular Texas Wild! exhibit features 200 native animals and a replica of an 1890s Texas town. If you travel before July 6th, you can catch the temporary exhibit Gigantabugs! featuring 13 larger-

than-life, animatronic bugs scattered throughout the zoo.

“The size of these mechanical creatures gives an opportunity to highlight their unique features and value to the ecosystem in a memorable way,” said zoo Executive Director Michael Fouraker. Who wouldn’t want to encounter a seven-spotted lady beetle or a Madagascan sunset moth up to 709 times larger than real life?

Tourists young and old will get a huge kick out of the Stockyards National Historic District. You can catch the Fort Worth Herd, the world’s only daily cattle drive, as it heads down Exchange Avenue. After that, take a ride on the authentically restored Grapevine Vintage Railroad all the way to Stockyards Station, the former hog and sheep pens turned into a shopping and dining marketplace. Complete your Old West experience with rodeo action and Wild West shows taking place year round at the Cowtown Coliseum.

Horse armor, horse mask and horse tack from the Kimbell Art Museum exhibit. Photograph by Brad Flowers.© The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas.

Horse armor, horse mask and horse tack from the Kimbell Art Museum exhibit. Photograph by Brad Flowers.© The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas.

My children have always enjoyed the outstanding exhibits at the Kimbell Art Museum. This summer’s exhibition of ancient Japanese armor is sure to impress. Among the works featured will be 18 full suits of armor and three life-size horses clad in armor.

“This stunning display of exquisitely ornate and wonderfully forbidding armor recreates the world of the samurai and brings the viewer face-to-face with the legendary warriors,” said Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum.

Those over 21 can mosey on over to the world’s largest honky-tonk, Billy Bob’s Texas, to enjoy live music and even some live bull riding. If you are looking for something a tad smaller, the White Elephant Saloon is a real Western watering hole offering country western music nightly.

Those looking for something fast-paced can race over to the Texas Motor Speedway, which hosts NASCAR and IRL IndyCar races throughout the year. As of April 2014, all of the racing will be up close and personal with the addition of the world’s largest high-definition video board nicknamed “Big Hoss.”

For a broad array of entertainment and dining options, check out Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth. From the Bass Performance Hall to art galleries to shops, there is something for everyone in this 35 block area that has been fully restored to its original Victorian beauty.

Although there is never enough time for everything on the list, my family also likes the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and the National Cowgirl Museum.

Fort Worth fun is calling, so y’all better saddle up and get going!