Have you been to the Dr Pepper Museum? How about a tour of famous Blue Bell Creameries? Well then, you’ll have to hit these tasty and fun samples of what makes Texas just so Texas-y. And don’t forget the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, the Waco Mammoth Site, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Dinosaur Valley State Park and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, where you could have a giraffe nibble from your hand. These tremendously colorful attractions abound here. Just head on down and get started first chance you get.
Dr. Pepper Museum
300 S. Fifth St., Waco, TX
A fountain drink mixed in The Old Corner Drug Store in the 1880s was dubbed a “Waco” by early patrons—it later acquired the name Dr Pepper. The museum is housed in the original 1906 bottling plant, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
It features a restored operating soda fountain along with other Dr Pepper memorabilia and interactive displays. Open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and noon–5 p.m. Sun. Last ticket sold at 4:15 p.m. Admission charge. 300 S. Fifth St. 254/757-1024. www.drpeppermuseum.com
Blue Bell Creameries
Founded in 1907 as the Brenham Creamery Co., the name changed to Blue Bell in 1930 after a wildflower that grows in the area. Beginning with ice cream production of only two gallons a day in 1911, the popular creamery is now home of what many believe to be the “best-tasting ice cream in the country.”
Tours are offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri. Check ahead for spring break and summer hours. Closed most holidays.
Fee charged for tour. Tokens are required for tour admittance; check with hostess upon arrival. Visitors are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups of 15 or more must make a reservation. (All visitors need reservations during spring break and Easter.) Blue Bell Country Store is open Feb.–Dec. 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri. and 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat.
- F.M. 577 off U.S. 290 (southeast of downtown).
- 979/830-2197 or 800/327-8135 .
This museum is dedicated to the history and lore of the legendary Texas Rangers, the oldest state law enforcement agency in the nation. The facility features changing exhibits with more than 14,000 artifacts, including badges, firearms, saddles and photos.
- From I-35, take Exit 335B .
- Open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Last ticket sold at 4:30 p.m. Closed holidays.
- Admission charge. Gift shop.
- 254/750-8631 .
Waco Mammoth Site
6220 Steinbeck Bend Drive., Waco, TX
Step back in time 68,000 years ago, when mammoths and saber-toothed cats roamed what would become Texas. Discovered in 1978, the fossil site was closed to the public until a dig shelter was constructed and opened in 2010. A suspended walkway provides an overhead view of the mammoth bones.
- Open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tue.–Fri. and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.
- Admission charge.
- 6220 Steinbeck Bend Drive.
- 254/750-7946 .
Texas Sports Hall Of Fame
1108 S. University Parks Drive, Waco, TX
Memorabilia highlight nationally known Texan sports figures, including golfers such as Byron Nelson and Lee Trevino, boxer George Foreman and baseball’s Nolan Ryan. Also includes halls of fame for several sports and a Southwest Conference exhibit. Open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and noon–5 p.m. Sun. Admission charge. 1108 S. University Parks Drive. 254/756-1633. www.tshof.org
Art Car Museum
140 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007
This museum, known as the “Garage Mahal,” is easily one of the most interesting and strange museums you will ever visit. The artists who created these eclectic works of art see cars as a piece of canvas to glue and paint objects on.
Several of the people whose vehicles have been featured here still drive them to work every day. The one in the photo is known as the Fruitmobile, and it was the first of the Houston cars to be auctioned off at The Orange Show in 1986. If you’re in Houston, you should definitely check it out!
Dinosaur Valley State Park
1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, TX
When the water is low, put your feet into dinosaur footprints set in the Paluxy riverbed 113 million years ago. A replica of the tracks is available for viewing. Multi-use trails meander through the uplands. This park is popular year-round with mountain bikers, campers and RVers. Admission and camping fees.
- 1629 Park Road 59 , about five miles west of town via U.S. 67 and F.M. 205.
- 254/897-4588 .
Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum
5959 Grove Ln, The Colony, TX 75056
Barney Smith, a retired master plumber, wanted to showcase his passion for one-of-a-kind art on what he knew best: toilets. Toilet lids, to be precise. He collected used toilet seats and decorated them with random objects. He started out working out of his garage, but he quickly ran out of space, and when the local media noticed his artistic talent, he decided to open his own folk museum.
By the way, if you happen to have an old toilet seat or lid lying around, bring it with you when you visit the museum. Your name will be engraved on the seat by Barney himself, and it will be etched into history for all future generations to see.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
2299 Co Rd 2008, Glen Rose, TX 76043
Features some of the world’s most endangered animals, such as white rhinos, cheetahs and the Grevy’s zebra, along with about 60 species that roam on 2,700 acres. Includes petting pasture, café, nature store, picnic area, nature trail and learning center.
- Open daily except Christmas and Thanksgiving . Admission charge.
- Off U.S. 67, 3.5 miles west .
- 254/897-2960 .