Kick off the summer with historical outings that will inspire and educate. Whether your playmate is drawn to Little House on the Prairie or likes to establish law and order in the household, we’ve mapped out the best spots for helping them learn about Texas history. Be sure to call ahead or check the website as most places are still operating on an adjusted schedule due to health and safety concerns.
1.For an interactive settler experience, visit Dallas Heritage Village in the Cedars neighborhood. Count the roaming chickens as you stroll past original Victorian homes and buildings, and get a taste of what early Dallas life was like over 100 years ago. Dallas; 214/421-5141
2. Texas counts at least three presidents as their own. Learn about the latest Texan in the White House at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on SMU’s campus. Currently on display is “Out of Many, One,” an exhibit that displays the portraits and stories of immigrants painted by the former president. After you explore the gallery and special exhibit(s), take a walk through the 15-acre Native Texas Park. Dallas; 214/200-4300
3. Best suited for older children, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is centered around the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy, and particularly the events surrounding the tragic day in November that changed our nation, and city, forever. See news footage, artifacts and the infamous window at this not-to-miss landmarked museum. Dallas; 214/747-6660
4. Having just celebrated its 175th birthday, Denton County is rich with Texas history. You can visit one, two or all three of the county’s museums located conveniently in downtown Denton. Your child will enjoy making their own quilt square and visiting the vintage grocery store exhibit at the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum. Maybe they’ll even pick up some useful skills that you can leverage on your next Central Market run. Denton; 940/349-2850
5. Before President Kennedy headed to Dallas, he made an impromptu speech on the front steps of what is now the Hilton Fort Worth. To see how the city of Fort Worth memorialize that speech and day, visit the John F. Kennedy Tribute in downtown’s General Worth Square. Fort Worth
6. Explore a new (old) frontier at Log Cabin Village, a living history museum in Fort Worth where your 21st century kid can step back in time to the days of bonnets and wagons. Historical interpreters are available to answer any question about pioneer life as you meander through the village. Add a Time Traveler bag filled with goodies from days past and your little one will see how the west was fun. Fort Worth; 817/392-5881
7. Party like it’s 1899 at Nash Farms in Grapevine, the oldest intact farmstead in Tarrant County. Kids can experience life on the farm and the importance of survival through water and food sources. You may never hear them complain about their chores ever again! Grapevine; 817/410-3185
8. Head south to Waco’s original tourist destination, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. After you explain that it’s not a baseball museum, your little ranger will walk away with a better understanding of our state’s history and the symbol of safety and service that a Ranger represents. If they behave, you can pop over to Magnolia Bakery for a sweet treat since you were thinking about it anyway. Waco; 254/750-8631
Photo courtesy of Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau.