Whether it’s a school holiday, summer or any ordinary weekend, road trips are always fun and entertaining. But when we ventured west to Abilene, Texas, we found that our road trip was a bit educational, too! Abilene, just a 2-hour drive from Fort Worth, is known for its cowboy charm, the frontier land and hospitality around every corner.
While on our trip, we discovered an endless list of family fun. Because we were traveling with children ranging in age from 14 to 3, we needed to hold everyone’s attention with activities through the day.
This post was part of a sponsored project in conjunction with members of the Texas Travel Industry Association to feature their members. The partnership included lodging, food & beverage, and compensation for the trip. The opinions reflected are honest and based upon the individual blogger experience.
Our first stop was to Frontier, Texas! At Frontier, Texas! you can put on your cowboy boots to discover the wonders of the Old West. You will meet several “spirit guides” as you wander through the museum, discovering years of history on the prairies and frontier settlement.
This was a great way to start our day, as we learned about the land we were standing on and how Abilene came to be. Frontier, Texas! was educational and interactive, and after walking out of one of the theaters, my children asked for more! (“More” was definitely found outside!)
Next on our stop? We had to find out why Abilene was given the title as the Storybook Capital of America!
We ventured to downtown Abilene to see larger than life storybook characters greeting us. We saw The Cat in The Hat, The Lorax, Three Little Kittens, Stuart Little and more friends we easily recognized from our favorite classic storybooks. My 3-year-old loved this, as did my other children. In all, there are more than 25 statues that can be found on a “goose chase” scavenger hunt through the garden.
You can also visit the statues from this handy adventure guide, available at nearby shopping venues, or through this link.)
Nearby, you can visit the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, which features exhibits showcasing the works of celebrated children’s book artists, as well as hands-on art activities every Saturday starting at 1 pm. We happened to be visiting right at that time and joined in to make eggs for Easter. I loved that my children were off their electronics and getting hands-on with activities!
Our next stop was to Rockin Rollerz for lunch, and I am ever-so-grateful that we picked this restaurant, of the many Abilene has to offer.
Rockin Rollerz was once a food truck serving cooked-to-order craft burgers using the freshest ingredients the owners could buy. After making a name for themselves and winning several awards, the food truck business moved into a brick and mortar building.
At Rockin Rollerz, you will quickly note that food is a passion. The fun and relaxing environment, along with the customer service, didn’t disappoint, either.
What does it mean to be a Rockin Roller? It means that you do things your way. It’s about being true to yourself. That everyone should follow the path they chose through life.
My 9-year-old already has asked to go back for his birthday, which isn’t for another 5 months. He loved his burger. Each of us could say the same. Take a look at the menu and you’ll see why the Poppin Johnny was my favorite, though the Future Bird needs to be noted, too!
After lunch, and with buttons popping at the seams, we headed to The Grace Museum. The Grace, located in the heart of downtown in a historic building, is an AAM accredited museum. Changing exhibits feature the best of Texas art, past and present, within the context of American art.
The Children’s Museum, located on the 2nd floor of The Grace, offers hands-on learning activities with a variety of educational programs for all ages. There, you can make music, discover the systems in your body, perform on a theater stage, drive an ambulance and so much more. This was a great way to get out our energy and gain more education insights.
On another floor of The Grace, you can see a timeline of kitchens, which my teenagers found quite interesting. There were lots of questions that even my husband and I couldn’t answer! (Thanks to Google, we found out how certain machines were used.) I loved seeing the changes and knowing how far we’ve come with technology.
Day 2 started with a trip to The Abilene Zoo, which has more than 1,000 animals representing 250 species. We were excited to enjoy the beautiful weather and spend the morning exploring.
Our favorite exhibit was Giraffe Safari. Zoo-goers can feed the giraffes for a small fee, and trust me when I say “do it!” Each of us laughed as the giraffes got a bit up close and personal!
We also fed the fish and watched snakes hunt for lunch. Make sure you check out the reptile house — those snakes were slithering all around their habitats!
Before leaving the area, we stopped by the Paramount Theatre, which opened in 1930. The fully restored theatre now features concerts, live theatre, touring shows, classic films and more! Inside, you’ll see two grand staircases, artwork on the ceilings, a 1200 seat auditorium and so much more! (Don’t miss the hand-blown chandeliers!) You can go inside for a free, self-guided tour!
With so much to do in Abilene, Texas, you will definitely want to check out the Round-Up Pass, which provides access to six of Abilene’s best attractions at a reduced cost. My family of 6 was able to enjoy all the venues mentioned in this article for less than $70, plus meals.
It’s definitely worth it. My husband and I learned a lot about Texas, and my children picked up fun facts along the way. (The pass can be purchased at any participating venue or at the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau.)
This post is part of the Summer Family Travel Planner created for members of the Texas Travel Industry Association. Read about the other destinations featured in the planner here.