Located on a 90-acre site on the campus of Texas A&M University, the Bush Presidential Library and Museum entertains and educates with interactive exhibits and an exhaustive collection of artifacts. Opening September 1, the new Headed to the White House exhibit charts the presidential-election process from primaries to inauguration with hands-on activities, role-playing opportunities, and animatronic babies to kiss. Visitors can try running their own campaign, create their own election news story, or tour exhibits and sculptures including Life and Times of George Bush, and The Day the Wall Came Down.
The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History welcomes visitors to its 9,400-square-foot naturalistic nostalgia emporium stocked with exhibits and collections ranging from archeological anthologies to local historical tidbits. The popular Ice Age Mammals exhibit poses large fossils and casts for tangible perusal, and the Carter Creek Nature Trail takes trekkers through the museum's front yard for an earth-friendly jaunt narrated by botanist squirrels. Hit up the Discovery Room for up-close glimpses of both live and preserved reptiles and arachnids, or swing by The Republic of Texas exhibit, a celebration of Texas history filled with Lone Star State memorabilia such as Santa Anna's silverware and the cowboy hats of tumbleweeds who fought in the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836.
George Ranch Historical Park, only half an hour southwest of Houston, is more than a representation of Texas history—it’s the hundred-year story of a ranching family who lived their lives on the park’s very soil. The attractions tell their story, beginning with the Jones Stock Farm—a cattle operation circa 1830—where interpreters demonstrate old-fashioned skills amidst a traditional dog-trot log cabin. The Ryon Prairie Home unveils an 1860s image of a Texas Ranch home in the golden age of the cattle drive, and the Davis Mansion contains artifacts from Victorian-era Texas enjoyed by the wealthiest citizens of the 1890s. The final site, the George Ranch Complex, demonstrates ranching life as it happened in the 1930s, including barn structures and daily cattle demonstrations. Guides show off each building and era with historic tours, demonstrations, and living history exhibits such as a working blacksmith shop.
The park’s directors breathe life back into this history with interactive events, as well. They also schedule an array of yearly events such as military reenactments, and holiday-themed history lessons.
Blooming from a family-run arts-and-crafts business more than a quarter century ago, Woodland Art & Frame now focuses on accentuating masterpieces with complementary borders. Aside from performing traditional services, such as dry-mounting posters and retouching oil paintings, certified framers enlist a virtual framer program to help patrons visualize their artwork in different mattes, frames, and ’80s hairstyles before finalizing selections. Framers also transform flat-screen TVs into functional artwork by crafting screen-hugging frames, and sometimes visit homes or offices to assess aesthetic needs.
The North Pole's most famous resident descends from his workshop to share the lights, fun, and food of the holiday with revelers at Santa's Wonderland. For 15 years, the larger-than-life Christmas experience has dazzled visitors with sparkling, colorful light displays that stretch more than 37 acres, following a path traversable by car, horse and carriage, or hay ride. Said to be one of the largest Christmas attractions in Texas, this yuletide haven has been delighting families for more than a decade. After gazing upon the 2.5 million twinkling L.E.D. bulbs, visitors can head over to Santa's Town to enjoy a bite of barbecue and continue the festivities. Trumpeted by the owners as a "Texas Christmas Village," the community invites guests to shop at an old Western ghost town and little ones to hop aboard a kids' train before meeting Santa and one of his reindeer. Marshall Frostbite, the park's smiling officer, encourages visitors to watch a nightly holiday movie on a large screen, run their fingers through the fur of the barn animals in the petting zoo, and try their hand at riding a mechanical bull.