Look no further for a trip with balance. This car stops for sculpture gardens, safaris and saloons.
This journey from DFW down to Waco is about balance. Just the right amount of art and culture with a sprinkle of some wild good times. Get the pals together for this one and start in the big D.
We’re kicking off this little escapade at the Dallas Museum of Art (known as the DMA around town). Expect to spend $0 at the door and three hours in the exhibit rooms. The global collection contains an impressive 24,000 works that span 5,000 years of history, plus, there’s always a new and exciting temporary exhibit to see.
Right across the street is The Nasher Sculpture Center, which houses a substantial collection of modern and contemporary sculptures. The fantastic shapes that pepper the gallery and garden can’t help but inspire and delight the visitors that admire them. It’s open Wednesday through Sunday, and is free the first Saturday of every month!
We’ve spent enough time on the ground, wouldn’t you say? Dallas’ iconic Reunion Tower offers spectacular views of the city below. The best time to reserve a ticket is sunset, when you get a 360 golden-hour view of the skyline at eye level. It’s truly spectacular.
Driving from Dallas to Ft. Worth takes a little over half an hour, and we’re picking up where we left off. The Kimbell Art Museum is a gorgeous collection of sculptures and paintings from all ages and styles. When the museum was founded, the director said, “The goal shall be definitive excellence, not size of collection.” It has remained a collection of extreme quality. The cafe on site is a great option for a bite of lunch or a spot of afternoon tea.
The Modern Art Museum is just a crosswalk away, where you can see a slice of world culture from 1945 to now. You’ll recognize many of the names you find here: Picasso, Pollock, Rothko, Warhol.
We said this trip is about balance, and after so many hushed hallways of silent masterpieces, it’s time to get rowdy. How could we not recommend the Fort Worth Stockyards? This district is 100% Western from head to steel-toes. You’ll find live music, shops and food, and every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., there’s a cattle drive - herds of cowboy-corralled longhorn walking down the brick-laid streets. You can’t miss it. Get some BBQ for dinner, then head to one of the many nearby saloons for some honkey tonkin’. You’ll be two-stepping until two in the morning.
Up next is Granbury. The little town on the Brazos River has the mini version of what the big city offers, with a sheen of small-town hospitality. The historic downtown has museums and galleries of all kinds, boutique shopping, mom-and-pop dining options and a lineup of exciting festivals and events. Just a few blocks away is City Beach Park, a stretch of sandy shore on the Brazos (only here, it’s called Lake Granbury). There’s no salt in the water, but it feels like a real beach day here with swimming, kayak rentals and a volleyball net for you and those friends you brought.
A quick 20 minutes south, more outdoor adventure awaits in Glen Rose. At Dinosaur Valley State Park, visitors can see (and step in!) real dinosaur tracks from the Cretaceous period in the shallow stone riverbed. These fossilized footprints are exciting enough for the $7 entrance fee, but there’s also camping, trails, swimming and fishing.
The adventure continues at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, and you don’t even have to get out of your car. You can take the self-guided safari drive to see rhinos, bongos, emus, cheetahs and parrots to name just a few of the beautiful wild animals in the conservation area. We recommend taking the public tour where you ride with a guide and get to feed the animals. What a treat!
The theme of animals and prehistoric fossils continues in Waco at Mammoth National Monument. The structure was built around the archeological fossil site where they found the elephant’s less-fortunate cousins. Tours every 30 minutes make it easy to drop in and see what the archeologists saw as they uncovered the fossilized bones — great big tusks and unbelievably large leg bones scattering the earth below you.
It’s time to finish out this trip with one more museum. The Dr Pepper Museum doesn’t have quite the prestige of the Dallas Museum of Art, but it certainly has its own brand of Texas charm, and it’s a must-visit if you’re in Waco. Tour the world of Texas’ favorite fizzy drink in this 100-year-old bottling building. Then it’s off to Magnolia Market, Waco’s beloved local shopping center that’s gained some national recognition. In addition to the home-goods store, there’s a food truck, a bakery and a garden store. Get yourself something nice to celebrate how far you’ve come.
From modern art to wooly mammoths, this trip has been a medley of exciting subjects. We’ve learned, we’ve played, we’ve shopped. Who knew the Texas lakes and prairies region had so much diversity in things to do? Well, we did. And we hope you get to know it soon. Enjoy the drive, adventurers!