Family Fun In Fort Worth, Texas by Bonnie and Bill Neely

If you live or vacation in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area there are a few places you MUST visit! Fort Worth developers wisely designated a large area of real estate as the Cultural District and planned so that you can visit numerous excellent museums and special places here in a wonderful day, week-end, or take an entire week to get in-depth enjoyment and enrichment from all you’ll see and do and learn in this area. This area is the perfect family get-away with something for everyone. The museums are within walking distance of each other and have plenty of parking.


The Kimbell Art Museum is unique in that since its beginning in 1966 the art selected and collected has been chosen for its importance in whether it defines a master, period, school, style, or area by its special quality of excellence. What is important to the curators and board of this museum is quality, not quantity. They leave to the old and musty museums the responsibility of huge collections. The unique and especially valuable selections which the Kimbell owns include pieces from 3,000 years before Christ to mid 20th Century. The beautiful museum is a treasure in the Art World, similar to the unique and valuable quality of a Faberge egg or the Hope diamond. The collections include Antiquities: European, African and Oceanic, Asian, and Pre-Columbian.
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is perhaps the best museum we have ever visited anywhere. It is not a musty, smelly old place that is dark and dank, as museums were in former days. This is a state of the art modern building where I’d like to spend an entire day every week if I lived in Fort Worth area. There are so many things to see and do for all ages you could never tire of these fun learning experiences. The first thing we saw was the enormous dinosaur with many families gathered excitedly to learn about it. The courtyard has the world’s longest dinosaur topiary, which will grow its living green covering for about thirty years.
The museum has many wonderful exhibits in which the visitor can view of the history of photography, learn about astronomy as well as about moths & butterflies, aviation, kachina dolls, fossils, bird eggs, and much more. In the Children’s Museum section there are so many interactive exhibits and classes to make items that relate to and reinforce the understanding and learning experience children will be happy and excited all day. Adults are just as informed and entertained as the kids. Of course, this entrance city to the Old West is the perfect place for the Cattle Raisers Museum, also in this building. You’ll see collections of barbed wire, branding irons, spurs, saddles, and learn all about raising cattle and what cowboys do in their real work. A real long-horn steer, who looks as alive as he once was, is there for your children to pet. And the many daily shows provide the perfect rest when you need to get off your feet. The Noble Planetarium and the Omni/IMAX Theater have shows all day and these change frequently. You can even attend a free, outdoor star party with plenty of telescopes on certain nights.
After the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History/ Cattleraisers Museum your entry ticket includes a museum right next door, one of a kind in the world: The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Here you will discover the stories of strong women who pioneered the Wild West and those who work even today on ranches, with cattle and horses, and in rodeos and more. The interactive exhibits let you experience being a cowhand yourself (even to riding a mechanical bull…can you stay on for 8 seconds??) You will see films of those women who helped make Fort Worth and the United States what it is today and those who delight us with their western music and those who help raise our food. This museum has many modern exhibits that are participatory fun for all ages and for males and females. You will surely find one of your heroines here and learn more about her! Don’t miss this unique and beautiful museum.


Fort Worth Botanic Gardens/Japanese Garden is, at any time of year, a treat for the senses of sight, touch, smell, hearing. You can stroll through 21 different gardens with over 25,000 species of plants. And the 10,000 square foot Conservatory is an amazing array of beautiful plants and flowering species from many places. My favorite is the Japanese Garden, like few other places I have visited. It is a tranquil experience for all your senses to be at peace. It is not a flower garden but a beautiful experience of perfect serenity given to you by the waterfalls and languid lakes, the scent of evergreens, the gentle fall of willows. You will leave here (if you can force yourself) revived from any stress! And don’t forget your sense of taste. The garden restaurant is wonderful!May 29, 2010–November 7, 2010
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (“The Modern”) is another jewel in the Cultural District. The beautiful, simple lined building of concrete and glass was designed by Tadao Ando of Japan fame and was opened in 2002. With the 53,000 square feet incorporating great natural lighting, the vast collection of Post Modern Art (since World War II) hangs in the five long pavilions augmented by a reflecting pool. Among the 3,000 pieces of art the permanent collection features artists including Pablo Picasso, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Motherwell, Susan Rothenberg, Jackson Pollock, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol.
The Amon Carter Museum of American Art has long been one of my favorite art museums because I, as an American living in the West (and married to a former cowboy), can appreciate and relate to this art. “The museum was established in 1961 to house Amon G. Carter’s collection of paintings and sculpture by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, the two greatest artists of the American West,” Tyler says. “But from the beginning, the Amon G. Carter Foundation and the Carter family intended the museum to be a vibrant and evolving institution,” which it is today. It has recently been renamed as above and in addition to the incredible permanent collections there are many new exhibits throughout the year. The current ones are:
May 29, 2010–November 7, 2010 Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light
May 25, 2010–December 5, 2010 Leon Polk Smith: The Tamarind Lithography Workshop:
August 14, 2010–January 23, 2011 Masterworks of American Photography :
October 2, 2010–January 2, 2011 American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White
Casa Mañana . has long been a bold theater in Fort Worth, bringing tomorrow’s theater experience to you today. The theater was the nation’s first theater in the round, so the actors must change from their normal way of performing because the audience is seated all around. A fascinating experience. Check their scheduled Broadway plays for adults and premiere theater productions for children here.


The Forth Worth Community Arts Center is wonderful space devoted to theater, concerts, and art galleries and can be rented for other events. The W.E. Scott Theater has 500 seats for productions by local theater groups and has presented celebrities through the years also. You can check their calendar here before you go and plan which you want to see.

Where to Stay And Eat:
For a wonderful stay in Forth Worth there are many choices of hotels and motels in many areas. Among our favorites are Marriott DFW Airport South, near the airport and a good place to stay for Texas Motor Speedway events because you miss the main traffic in going to and from the event. For the downtown area around Sundance Square reserve a lovely room at Etta’s Place Bed & Breakfast Inn for a very special event and be sure to dine at sundown at Reata’s, famous for its atmosphere and delicious Southwest cuisine and the view overlooking Sundance Square. For anytime best typical Texas food and drinks choose Riscky’s at Sundance Square or in The Stockyards National Historic District. You’ll find many choices, and every bite is TEXALICIOUS!!! For easy accessibility in walking distance to all the cowboy and cowgirl fun at the Stockyards we chose Hyatt Place Historic Fort Worth Stockyards, a wonderful, spacious new hotel with western theme in a modern setting and really good breakfast included and terrific drinks, snacks and light meals available to order anytime. And while in the Stockyards area there are three EXCELLENT restaurants/bars to try: Lonesome Dove Restaurant for fine dining, H3 Ranch Restaurant is for fabulous, hearty food almost anytime of day or night. The open pit hickory grill creates a very relaxed atmosphere in which to receive the best service and fine dining experience without having to dress up. In addition to drinks at your table, you must also go into Booger Red’s Saloon in the next room for a high-class saloon atmosphere with a surprise hanging over the bar! Bryan Christensen does an excellent job as director of food and beverage operations at both. We also recommend the Hyatt Place Cityview on Cityview Drive located near the malls.