Hometown: Westport, ct
Occupation: syndicated columnist and creator of www.takingthekids.com.
Describe Fort Worth in three words: fun, fun, fun! (and good eats, great museums and shopping—I got new cowboy boots and a denim shirt!)
Need your belly washed?
In cowboy parlance, belly wash is coffee, a saddle blanket is a pancake and Pecos strawberries are beans.
Welcome to Fort Worth, Texas, which prides itself on being known as the City of Cowboys. (You can see cowboys herding longhorn cattle on the streets twice each day in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, though today it’s strictly for the tourists.)
But Fort Worth also prides itself on being a city of culture. After all, there are five world-class museums here, from the Modern Art Museum, the second-largest museum gallery space for modern art in the country after MoMA New York to the Kimbell Art Museum, which has in its collection Michelangelo’s first painting and is undergoing a $125 million expansion to the Cattle Raisers Museum, that is literally a museum within a museum at the fantastic Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, which also includes the Fort Worth Children’s Museum.
It was at the Cattle Raisers Museum that I learned the lingo for chuck wagon eats. By the end of the Civil War, I also learned, millions of heads of cattle were in Texas and the teams that herded them North along the Chisholm Trail stopped here for supplies at what originally was settled as an army fort to protect settlers from Indian attacks on the frontier. The kids will love the interactive computer games that challenge them to drive the cattle to the ranch. Did you know that some ranchers use helicopters today to keep track of their herds?
Fort Worth certainly would be a good option for a Family Spring Break
Got a little cowgirl in the bunch? A few steps from the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame that celebrates the resilience and athleticism of the women who helped settle the frontier and entertained at rodeos and Wild West shows.
I love that Fort Worth offers the opportunity to juxtapose Western history in museums and outside on the streets. Did I mention the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Sid Richardson Museum, both feature works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, two of the country’s greatest Western artists.
Eat some Texas barbecue or Tex-Mex(we went to Riscky’s) for traditional Mexican fare at the sprawling Joe T. Garcia’s in a Mexican-style hacienda that has been a fixture here since 1935. (Enchiladas or fajitas?) Stop for breakfast (biscuits and gravy or cheese grits maybe?) or a piece of freshly-made pie (coconut or chocolate) at the Paris Coffee Shop that has been in the same family for more than 70 years. In case you are wondering, owner Mike Smith, who makes the pies, says coconut and chocolate cream are the most popular.
By now you’ve got to work off all the good eats, so grab your cowboy hat and go horseback riding along the Trinity River trails or take a hike at the huge (3,600-acre Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, where there’s also the chance to see a variety of animals native to this area — cottontail rabbits, prairie dogs, beavers and bison among them.
I’m busy breaking in my new Fort Worth cowboy boots.
© 2012 EILEEN OGINTZ
For more Fort Worth information and things to do this Spring Break, Click Here.
Fort Worth Cattle Raiser's Museum (within the Museum of Science and History)