If you’re planning a trip to Texas, the city of Waco should definitely be on your radar. Located between Dallas and Austin, this vibrant city offers a range of activities and attractions that will keep you entertained throughout your stay. From history to culture to beautiful scenery, there is no shortage of things to do. To start, here are the top ten things to check out next time you’re in Waco, Texas.
1- See the Waco Mammoth National Monument
Amongst the acres of wooded area along the Bosque River lives a fascinating look at the lives of mammoths and other ice age animals. Fossils of mammoths were first found in this area in the 1970s. Also, more bones continued to be discovered in the 1990s. They were sent to Baylor University, where they were studied and identified for years, with the site finally being opened to the public in 2009. It officially became the Waco Mammoth National Monument in 2015 when Barack Obama signed an executive order declaring it so. This is a must-see for anyone who has an interest in history, science, or animals.
2- Explore Cameron Park
This beautiful park spans over 400 acres in Waco and offers over 20 miles of walking and biking trails. There are also scenic overlooks and picnic areas to enjoy lunch. You can go fishing, visit the zoo, or even climb a quirky staircase called Jacob’s Ladder.
One popular attraction in the park is Lovers Leap. It is a spot at the edge of a steep cliff looking over the Bosque River. Legend has it that two star-crossed Native American lovers from enemy tribes stood at that very spot and chose to leap to their deaths rather than be forced to live life apart.
3- Visit Magnolia Market at the Silos
Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, created this beautiful two-block shopping area in Waco in 2015. Browse six stores full of clothing, accessories, furniture, and home decor, all curated by this famous TV designer couple. Amongst the shops is a grassy lawn with free games and areas to have a picnic in between shopping.
4- Visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
The Texas Rangers, a law enforcement agency started by the “Father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin, are a staple of Western American history. With a long history of solving crimes, catching famous outlaws, and even stopping presidential assassinations, this group is celebrated at this Waco museum. Learn about their accomplishments, weapons, tactics, and more.
5- Check out the Dr Pepper Museum
Did you know that Dr Pepper is actually the oldest soft drink in America? It was originally created in 1885, and the original bottling plant from 1906 is now home to a museum dedicated to tasty fizzy beverages. From antique memorabilia to the soda fountain, explore three floors of history, architecture, and information about the entire soft drink industry. The museum also offers a few different experiences, including a chance to make your own soda or take a night tour of the museum and conduct your own paranormal investigations.
6- Walk on the Waco Suspension Bridge and Riverwalk
The Waco Suspension Bridge is the oldest bridge still standing in Texas. It was the first bridge that crossed the Brazos River. Built in 1870, the cables used to suspend the bridge were provided by the same designer and engineer who built the Brooklyn Bridge in 1869. Today the bridge is for pedestrians only and is a great place to look at the river.
Experience the enchantment of Waco after dark with a kaleidoscope of captivating nighttime experiences in Waco. As the sun sets, the city comes alive with a vibrant energy, offering a diverse array of activities that cater to all interests.
On either end of the bridge are two great Waco parks – Indian Spring Park on the west and Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on the east. Along both banks of the river and crossing under the bridge is the riverwalk. It provides seven miles of paths for running, biking, and more. (Note: the bridge is temporarily closed for construction, but you can find progress updates here).
7- See a Game at McLane Stadium
Home to the Baylor Bears, this football stadium hosts the local university’s football games. If you aren’t visiting during football season, you can still take a 90-minute guided tour of the large, beautiful stadium. Tours begin in the Bruiser Locker Room, named after the team’s mascot, and continue on through the entire stadium, including access to the field. If you visit between August and December, you can catch a game and get the full experience.
8- Go on a Vineyard Wine Tour
While many people think of California when they think of vineyards, Waco actually offers a number of wineries where visitors can sample wine made from Texas-grown grapes. As you tour boutique wineries, you will taste a variety of local wines and be provided with lunch. Various companies offer shuttle services to and from hotels and other central locations in Waco. This is key so that you don’t drive after drinking, which is a common cause of Waco car accidents.
9- Explore Waco Zoo & Sculpture Zoo
With over 1,000 animals from around the world, the Waco Zoo is a must-see on your trip. One popular exhibit is the African Savanna area, featuring zebras, giraffes, and more. There is also a section, namely the Brazos River County exhibit, which homes animals local to Texas. Within the zoo is also a sculpture garden featuring over 20 animal sculptures from local artists. The sculptures are made from a variety of materials and can be explored by a self-guided tour.
10- Walk Around Waco’s Downtown Cultural District
Walking around the downtown of a city is a great way to take it in. With shops, restaurants, and more, this area is a must-see if you’re in Waco – and if you visit the Dr Pepper museum, you’ll already be downtown. The Hippodrome Theatre is a historic theater where you can catch a live show or classic movie showing, and there are plenty of art galleries to check out as well.
If you plan to visit Texas, the city of Waco should definitely make it on your itinerary. It’s a great stopping point between Austin and Dallas, and with its large number of beautiful and historical attractions, it will not disappoint.
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