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Spotlight: Dallas/Fort Worth

Everything is bigger in Texas—including this pair of larger-than-life cities

The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is a multi-city mashup of historic Old West adventure and metropolitan excitement. Popular landmarks such as the Dallas World Aquarium and the Fort Worth Stockyards are worth a visit, but be sure to check out some lesser-known destinations that are just as entertaining and enlightening. You’ll see the Lone Star State in a whole new light after visiting these towns.

Fort Worth

Natural beauty is treasured in Fort Worth, and the city’s Botanic Gardens provide a great way to get a sense of the region’s diverse flora. Wander the 115 acres of curated plants in 23 uniquely styled garden settings. From the Japanese countryside to English rose collections, the garden’s sights and smells will make you want to spend a whole day there.

Let the warm summer breeze carry a cool mist your way from the Fort Worth Water Gardens, next to the Fort Worth Convention Center. While it’s not for swimming—the center of the pool is a strong swirl of rushing water—the sight and sound alone will grant you a temporary oasis in the heat of the urban environment.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

See a collection of diverse animals at the Fort Worth Zoo. This state-of-the-art zoo boasts hundreds of species in natural settings and a Wild West-style town that offers kid-friendly activities such as a carousel and petting zoo. A new waterpark feature invites the little ones to cool off in the summer months.

Fort Worth’s biggest outdoor show can be found at the Fort Worth Stockyards, a 98-acre historic district that once served as a vital cattle center. Immerse yourself in the city’s Western history by touring the preserved buildings or taking in a rodeo. Watch an authentic cattle drive or go shopping at one of the many stores selling western gear and memorabilia.

Museums

The collection of stainless-steel and glass structures that comprise the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth are eye-catching and inviting, and visitors who venture inside find works by Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.

Rough and rugged men weren’t the only ones to roam the Texas plains in the days of cattle driving. The women who made history are remembered at the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum, located near the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The hall of fame honors pioneers such as Annie Oakley and Sacagawea, and houses more than 4,000 artifacts attributed to these great ladies of the frontier era.

The neighboring science and history museum houses a permanent children’s collection of hands-on exhibits that keep kids busy for hours. Visitors also learn about the Wild West days of the region and the geology that makes up this part of the state.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dallas

Dallas dominates the skyline of the east side of the Metroplex, and its streets are filled with eclectic shops, world-class museums and shops and dining spots soaked in true Texas character. City founder John Neely Bryan is honored in the display of a replica of his log-cabin home, which sits on Founder’s Plaza, only a quarter-mile from the original homestead. Pioneer Plaza, near the Dallas Convention Center, features a life-size bronze sculpture depicting a cattle drive, along with native trees and a flowing stream on a four-acre site.

Trinity River Audubon Center is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, and with good reason: It’s home to the largest urban hardwood forest in the U.S. and boasts stunning architecture, day hikes, birding classes and guided river tours.

Dallas has its fair share of ghost tales, and if supernatural stories are your thing, pay a visit to Sons of Hermann Hall in Deep Ellum. Here, ghosts of revelers past have been known to dance in the upstairs ballroom, knock paintings off the wall and even launch a bowling ball or two down the lanes of the shuttered bowling alley in the basement.

Texas-size Fun for Kids

Kids get a kick out of trying some of the nearly 200 sodas on tap at the Soda Gallery in Bishop Arts District. This sugar-laden store features soft drinks from dozens of countries. Fair Park is another great family-friendly spot, with the Children’s Aquarium and an extension of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, whose main campus is located downtown.

While you’re there, tour the Texas Discovery Gardens and the African-American Museum. If you visit in the fall, you can’t pass up the chance to visit the Texas State Fair, which is held every year at Fair Park. Wave back to Big Tex, an animatronic statue that towers over the fair, and ride the gigantic Ferris Wheel to get a bird’s-eye view of the festivities below.

For More Information

Dallas/Fort Worth Area Tourism Council
817-329-2438
www.dfwandbeyond.com
Texas State Travel Guide
800-452-9292
www.traveltex.com