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.
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.
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.
Bo Poole's family farm is a working farm—complete with harvests of sweet corn, eggplant, and purple-hull peas—but it is also a family destination for autumnal fun. The farm's country store also allows visitors to stock up on honey harvested onsite, pumpkin-cake mixes, and corncobs that may be taken home and popped or planted in hopes of sprouting a popcorn bush. Along with developing P-6 Farms' yearly harvest, Bo develops the public's agricultural know-how with an annual fall festival filled with family-friendly activities. Tractor-drawn hayrides give passengers a first-hand look at farm life, and the 8-acre corn maze allows them to get up close and personal with America's most celebrated crop as they navigate twists and turns in search of the exit. Other autumnal amusements include a life-size human spider, target-shooting with a kid-friendly water canon, and a pumpkin patch.