This week the girls and I (sans Mr. Byrd) loaded up and hit the road to visit family in the Dallas- Ft. Worth area. I love to drive and explore and I’m hoping that if I drag my kids off on my adventures enough than one day they might just choose to do the same.
The real surprise of the week was that I actually left my house on time Friday morning and we made it to Fort Worth with about an hour to spare before my Mother-in-law would be home from work. What to do when you have an hour to spare?
Well for starters you can always get lost in downtown Ft. Worth. Then while you’re lost and attempting to get back on track you might pass a few really great areas such as Sundance Square and the courthouse. Seeing these great areas might get your mind spinning about the possibility of stopping in over 100 degree weather but it doesn’t quite have the pull to make you do it.
Then on one wrong turn we ran into the Ft. Worth Stock Yards.
We’ve been studying American History and the settlement of the west this year with the girls. When I saw the cowboy murals lining the streets and the brick paved roads I knew that I had no choice but to stop and have a mini adventure that would hopefully bring that history to life.
I pulled between two buildings that are older than the state of Alaska and paid a few dollars to park. then I pulled forward to look for an open space and drove and drove and drove until I was at a dirt lot really far away from the Stock Yards. At this point I looked at my outside temperature gauge and considered just leaving when I saw that it said 98 degrees, which means that it felt like it was 105 degrees outside.
But then I saw to the side something that looked like a walkway with boulders lining it and decided that an adventure was not without risk and so we headed off down the path.
And yet we were so glad that we had to park in the middle of nowhere because we would have never found the river walk behind the stockyards. It’s just a simple path but the view is beautiful and no one else was out there. It was a hidden gem in an area that I’ve visited many times throughout my life but never had a clue what laid behind it.
In fact to get to the actual stockyards we had to walk through the backdoor of a building, through a courtyard and finally out to the stockyards.
Finally we were there, at the Fort Worth Stock Yards to show the Byrd girls a piece of Texas history. Of course the smallest one spent the first 15 minutes asking if a cowboy had died there while pointing at different spots and monuments.
And it was good to find that even cowboys dressed to fit the part still find time to check their mobile devices while on horseback. (They were probably checking the temperature as it was sweltering.)
We wandered down to the old Stock Exchange which is open to people and still a working building.
Of course I made the girls pose for pictures in front of it and as usual, this is how our posed pictures turned out.
If you do visit the Stock Yards on a warm day than I recommend going inside this business. It’s air conditioned, has a museum inside and has nice clean bathrooms. Plus my girls discovered that there’s air vents on the floor that they could stand on for a Marilyn Monroe effect.
After we had cooled down and explored the old architecture of this building we headed back out to explore some more.
We enjoyed some ice cream and then lined up to watch them do the cattle drive down the street, which they do every afternoon at 4pm. When I was young they drove the cattle all the way down the street. On this day they only drove them about 50 yards but it was so extremely hot that I’m not sure if that’s just what they do now or because of the heat. It was disappointing.
For a second though I got to channel my inner Pioneer Woman (aka- Ree Drummond) and my girls got to see a living example of Texas history.
Our adventure was hot and at times miserable but it was worth it!
Since that visit my mother-in-Law and dad have both told me separately that there’s a huge war in Fort Worth over big hotel chains and restaurants that are trying to come into the Stock Yards to make it more of a commercialized touristy area.
I’m so happy I stopped and let my girls explore it for a short while as it is now, which is pretty close to what it was in it’s original state but with more indoor plumbing and less manure.
Even though we could only make it for an hour in the heat, I hope they remember it. If nothing else I hope that they’re never afraid to find the adventures in life that we sometimes just don’t take time to look for.