Consider activities that take about an hour to complete: a trip to the grocery store, a relaxing massage, watching a favorite television show. Rarely, if ever, do haunted houses fall into this category—unless you're talking about Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth. In 2009, the attraction’s length caught the attention of Guinness World Records, which deemed Cutting Edge the longest walk-through haunted house in the world.
Looming in a section of the city dubbed “Hell’s Half Acre,” Cutting Edge populates an abandoned meatpacking plant that was originally built in the late 1920s. The plant’s equipment is still fully operational, and still resides inside—only today, it processes humans. To escape such a grisly fate, guests must grope through a multi-storied labyrinth replete with unthinkable horrors such as live monsters, realistic special effects, and salsas made in New York City. Cutting Edge is so terrifying, in fact, that it even earned the top spot on HauntedHouseRatings.com's list of the best haunted attractions in 2013.
Can plants help save the planet? That's a question the researchers at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas ask themselves every day. The institute has been around since 1987, and since that time it has become a center that uses conservation ideas and plant research for the greater good. Whether researchers are discovering new plant species or coming up with solutions to pollution using botanics, they stay curious about the plant world and then share their findings with the public. Visitors to the campus can also tour the super-efficient facility—built in 2011—and explore its herbarium, libraries, and expansive grounds.
Log Cabin Village’s authentic historical houses and cabins give visitors an interactive look at life in 19th-century Texas. Through tours, artifact collections, and story hours led by Log Cabin Village’s four resident cats, visitors are transported back to a simpler time. Grab your family, friends, or trio of wind-up toy ducks and meander through the six cabins, the smokehouse, school, blacksmith shop, water-powered gristmill, and herb garden to see, smell, and hear about the frontier days of yore. Both the one-room schoolhouse and Seela cabin can be entered and explored in their entirety, and the other historical properties can be viewed behind a barrier. Various demonstrations, from embroidering to blacksmithing to stylish bonnet accessorizing, happen daily, and staff historical interpreters are always available to talk and answer questions.
Blanketing more than 100 acres, Fort Worth Botanic Garden houses several disparate gardens that welcome locals and tourists whether they want quiet reflection or a social stroll amid arboreal beauty. The Fragrance Garden lives up to its name by engaging olfactory zones with a dozen uniquely scented plants. In the 7-acre Japanese Garden, visitors commune with plants and animals, including the pond's koi fish and their pet minnows.
The National Cowgirl Museum honors the tough-as-nails cow-lasses of the American West with a comprehensive collection of more than 6,000 photographs and 5,000 artifacts, as well as both traveling and permanent exhibits. A Hall of Fame gallery shares the stories of 200 honorees, including Annie Oakley, Patsy Cline, and Sandra Day O'Connor, while artifacts such as costumes, boots, saddles, letters, and jackalope lassos span 150 years of cowgirl history. Exhibits are organized to display different aspects of the lives of women in the West. Into the Arena honors women riders with rodeo memorabilia and a life-sized bronco model, allowing mounters to simulate the thrill of the rodeo. Claiming the Spotlight takes a look at the entertainers, actors, and country-western musicians whose tales of rootin' and shootin' injected the American consciousness with nostalgia for the open prairie and dangerously full tobacco spittoons.
In the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Omni Theater’s domed, 120-foot-wide IMAX screen towers over moviegoers, projecting myriad tales of human, beast, and machine alike across eight stories. The screen has born documentaries on topics such as the Serengeti desert, the Grand Canyon, and the aquatic ecosystems that distinguish the ocean from well-maintained dunk tanks. Originally limited by its scale to films that lasted an hour or less, the theater can now show feature-length films thanks to digital remastering technology, and its new IMAX IDO projection lens has increased films’ brightness and sharpness. These developments mark yet another addition to its pioneering history, which includes being among the first IMAX screens in the region when it opened in 1983.