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Log Cabin Village

Log Cabin Village
2100 Log Cabin Village Ln., Fort Worth
Hours: 9am–4pm Tuesday–Friday; 1–5pm Saturday–Sunday. Closed August 24–September 9.
Admission: $5 adults; $4.50 ages 4–17.
Parking: Free.

When the historical interpreters of Log Cabin Village get dressed for work, they’re sure not to forget their suspenders, bonnets or hoop skirts. Visiting with the costumed staff is part of the fun at Fort Worth’s living history museum, where you can take the kids to experience some of the life skills Texas settlers employed to survive and thrive during the mid-1800s.
“We want it to feel like you walked in and someone just walked out,” said museum coordinator Rena Lawrence. For a glimpse of what life was like, take a self-guided tour through the 10 historic structures, and soon the kids will be connected to pioneer roots they didn’t know they had. 

Pretend on the prairie
Even if your kids have a playhouse to die for in your own backyard, they’ll love to play with old-fashioned parlor games and try on pioneer costumes inside the Seela Hands-on Cabin. Have a seat in front of the spinning wheel to pump the foot pedal, and step out onto the porch to find the tiny chicken coop, as well as small, wooden vegetables half-buried in a garden box and “ripe” for the picking.
Meet the feline staff
Somewhere along the path, you’ll likely see the village’s permanent residents. Cats Izzy, Taffy and Yellow Cat are considered part of the staff (they are on “pest control” duty) along with the historical interpreters, some of whom crochet feline-inspired dolls. (All cats have been neutered or spayed and are up-to-date on vaccinations.)
The most famous cat, Pepper, who lived at the village for 23 years, is remembered on each cabin’s interpretive sign. “Pepper’s Place” denotes educational tidbits to help parents connect historical information with their kids. You can also find Pepper in the children’s book Log Cabin Kitty, sold in the gift shop.
Make an old-fashioned candle
For a hard-to-find but easy-to-do craft, stop by the Tompkins Cabin for a candle dipping session. Let the kids pick out a small wooden block with attached cotton wicks, and an interpreter will instruct you on how to safely dip the wicks into a warm vat of orange wax. You’d have to dip it at least 50 times to make a sizable taper candle, but the wax cools quickly. Dip as much as you like and hang it up to harden. Candle dipping will be available throughout the summer.
Forge ahead to the Blacksmith Shop
The fire really happens inside the 1870s-style Blacksmith Shop, where staff blacksmiths – including a female blacksmith – host demonstrations for the public on most Tuesdays and Thursdays. Watch them heat and hammer iron and steel into the trivets, trammel hooks, axe blades and horseshoes that were necessary for life on the frontier.
Getting hot on your walk? Take a break under the misters or in front of the fans blowing in most cabins.
Grind corn at Shaw Cabin
You may recognize Shaw Cabin’s gristmill and its working water wheel from the Log Cabin Village’s logo. The Price-is-Right-sized wheel swiftly recirculates water from the pond and lends an air of charm to the village. Though the wheel is disconnected from the cabin’s pulley system, interpreters will turn it on to show you how the system was and is still used to grind corn into cornmeal. The kids can also handle the cabin’s mortar and pestle from Mexican and Native American traditions to see how corn was ground by hand.
Kick it old school
Yes, it’s summer but it will be relatively easy to coax the kids inside the Marine School, a one-room schoolhouse built in the late 1870s. Just show them the long rope attached to the school bell (give it a few good tugs), and let them try on the dunce cap, a cone-shaped, paper hat that ill-mannered kids donned while sitting in the corner.
Get a close shave
Howard Cabin, a rare two-story log home was rebuilt in 2009, serves as the woodworker’s shop. Kids can have a seat on a shave horse and watch the interpreter on duty use the draw knife to shave a long piece of wood, which can be whittled to make small toys such as the covered wagon model on display. Don’t miss the real, life-sized yoke and ask the interpreter to explain how the yoke was placed over oxen to haul the wagons across the farm.