Like most Texans, I’m proud to sing our State song and proudly respond “Texas” when asked where I’m from on foreign travels. But with two kiddos under six now in tow, my trips normally consist of the grocery store and the carpool lane. So for a summer “getaway,” our family took a daycation to explore some of Fort Worth’s greatest landmarks and give our kids a real understanding of what is the “City of Cowboys & Culture” – in just eight hours.
Pony Up for the Fort Worth Stockyards
Always ready to chow down on anything cooked on a grill, we found a bench at Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. Since you start the experience by ordering straight from the hot pit of all things juicy meat from brisket, sausage & smoked promise ribs, select your other fixins', then belly up to a community bench with butcher paper plates, this #1 rated BBQ joint is ideal for families who don’t want to worry about keeping your elbows on the table. We did a little bench toe-touching Waylon Jennings over the sound system while licking our fingers as we bit into the beef ribs, sausage and of course, the jalapeno mac n cheese. After washing down our first taste of Fort Worth with the obligatory sweet tea, we took off to walk off our smorgasbord and let the kids just be kids with a walk in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Always a requirement for anyone who travels to Fort Worth, it actually had only been a few weeks since visiting for Willie Nelson’s Annual Fourth of July Picnic (now Billy Bob's Texas' 4th of July Picnic.) This time it was fun to point out all the activity happening like horses in the stalls, cowboy stagecoaches to ride, and our favorite, the bull. For just a few dollars, the boy was able to mount an electric bull and ride it rodeo style. The kids began pointing out all kinds of fun things to do including checking out the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, racing through the Cowtown Cattlepen Maze, and taking old timey family photo at Uncle Charlie’s. Mom and dad also eyed a few activities for our own bucket list like staying for a night at the Stockyards Hotel and for a dinner at the award-winning Lonesome Dove Western Bistro.
And while we could have made an entire weekend of just checking out the history, heritage and fun of the Stockyards including the free, daily cattle drive through the Stockyards (11:30 a.m. & 4 p.m.), we rounded up our little pokes and ponied up for our next Fort Worth adventure - into culture.
Explore the world at the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History
Fort Worth may be known as "where the west begins," but as the home of many world-renowned museums, it’s also an epicenter for learning where we’ve been, how we’ve gotten there and, of course, where we are going. No adventure to Fort Worth with kiddos in tow is complete without a stop at the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History.
We found ourselves in The Children's Museum play area designed for kids - ages birth to 8 - to put their imagination to work with everyday activities: grocery shopping, water works, playing doctor and looking at snakes. While we could have spent the whole afternoon enjoying make-believe and building blocks, we couldn’t help but see the huge DinoLabs and DinoDigs exhibit where you can “dig” up fossils. After a trip to the most amazing gift store and a quick slide down the dinosaurs tail, we begrudgingly left the museum to hit a few more stops before the end of the day.
With such a fun day upon us, a cool treat at Sweet Sammie’s was a must. Nestled inside the West 7th development, a short walk or drive from the Museum, families can get their cookies and ice cream fix at this locally owned sweet shop to build the perfect ice cream sandwich.
Kid-Friendly Museums Not-to-Miss
- Amon Carter Museum of American Art
- American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum
- National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
- Bureau of Engraving and Printing, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Downtown Living in Sundance Square
Sundance Square is the heart of Downtown Fort Worth with 35-blocks of entertainment, restaurants, and more. At the center of the district is a ground fountain that invites kids (and adults alike) to cool down in the summertime by dancing in the water under the blue skies from 2-6 p.m. only. Swimsuits not allowed. The tables and restaurants line the perimeter, inviting you to sit down and stay awhile.