Fort Worth, Texas is known as the City of Cowboys. One of the most popular things for families to do is spend a day at the Fort Worth Stockyards. With its brick lined streets, historic buildings, a weekly rodeo and twice daily cattle drive, this is the place where tourists come to experience the American West.
And this is where we spent the day on Wednesday.
When we asked for suggestions of something fun to do with the kids in the Dallas, Texas area a friend suggested the Fort Worth Stockyards. I looked into it and knew at once that it was a must-see stop on our Texas journey.
The girls were excited to have an excuse to pull their cowboy hats out again.
We arrived and easily found parking near the end of Exchange Ave. Tyler loved the parking payment system at the Stockyards that involved pushing your folded dollar bills in the slot that corresponded to your parking spot. I’ve never seen a system quite like it.
Our first stop was the Visitor’s Center where a helpful young lady gave us the low down on the Fort Worth Stockyards. She explained the cattle drive, including what time to line up along the road and the best spots to stand to best see the longhorn cattle (and view them from the shade. A key tip in the 100 degree heat!). She also went over the various activities available and her recommendations for the best BBQ joint in town. All were helpful tips that helped structure our day and determine what we ended up seeing and doing.
We found the Visitor’s Center to be a worthwhile stop before beginning our day at the Stockyards.
It had the added appeal of giant misting fans out front…another huge perk in the 100+ degree heat.
Our first stop was the Cattle Pen Maze. It too was recommended by my friend. The cost was $6.00/ child but ended up being one of the highlights of our day at the Stockyards. The kids each received a ticket that was marked with their starting time. They then had to race the clock, seeking out the four hidden stations to punch their card, before finding their way out of the maze.
It proved to be far more challenging than they thought it would be.
There was a covered observation deck that extended above the maze, allowing us to look down at our kids and watch them scramble through the blind twists and turns of the maze.
Rusty was the first one to find the four punch stations and get out of the maze. He did it in 10 minutes.
Grace was next with a time of 13 minutes.
Molly came in third with a final time of 16 minutes,
And Tyler brought up the rear with a time of 20 minutes. I will say, though, that Tyler lost time because of his kind heart and willingness to backtrack and help a lost mother find her way through the maze.
Then we walked over to the petting zoo. At $2.00/person this was a fun and affordable experience for all of us animal lovers. Once again, for the second day in a row, Molly got her goat fix and loved it.
Tyler also LOVED feeding the goats and sheep.
Rusty made a special friend while we were there.
We all enjoyed this nice little petting zoo.
Then it was time to get in position for the cattle drive.
“The Old West comes to life before your eyes during the Fort Worth Herd’s twice-daily cattle drive. Genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards national Historic District every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Every detail of the cattle drive—from the saddles and chaps to the boots and hats – is authentic and historically true.”
It was incredible to see these iconic Texan Longhorn cattle up close as they walked down the main street of town.
What a thrill!
It was the highlight of the day for me!
After the cattle drive we had fun exploring the stockyards and seeing the pens where the Longhorns are held,
And catching a glimpse of the cowboys at work.
We also stopped in Billy Bob’s- The World’s Largest Honky Tonk.
This 6000 person capacity nightclub is open during the day for families who want to grab a bite to eat or buy a Fort Worth souvenir. It was fun to check out the bull riding ring and the huge nightclub that becomes a line dancing haven when the sun goes down.
I best this place gets crazy at night!
We didn’t eat at Billy Bob’s, but walked over to Risky’s Bar-B-Q instead, as suggested by our new friend at the Visitor’s Center.
Toby, Rusty and I followed the recommendation of the waiter and ordered the specialty: Beef Bar-B-Q ribs. The girls ordered the brisket sandwiches.
The ribs were incredible, made all the tastier by their awesome sauce.
We ended our day at the Stockyards with a little shopping at Stockyards Station,
and some horseback riding…
Hang on kiddos! Those are some wild stallions!
Next stop: San Antonio, Texas