Sometimes we wake up with an itch to travel. Once, we detoured going to church in favor of a 300+ mile jaunt to Wichita, Kansas. It is in our blood, Too Tall and I love a little adventure; I mean we have 4 kids shouldn’t that warrant its own adventure badge of courage?!
Friday morning, Too Tall leans in for a kiss with a cup of coffee for me in his hand and slyly says “Wanna go somewhere?”. My mind begins to race before the coffee cup meets my lips and I think ‘WHAT? We are going halfway across the country in less than two weeks!’. Instead, I don’t want to squash his spirit of adventure and ask what he has in mind. He suggested a gallop over to Cowtown (pun intended).
An escape to Fort Worth sounded lovely. It is a short drive from Dallas and feels like a whole new world with its lively tourism, 'where the west begins'. I have many special memories as a child visiting family in Fort Worth, and all the fantastic places to see and experience. Cowtown is one of the most family-friendly spots in North Texas. Our visit was only the tip of the iceburg.
We dashed out the door once Too Tall’s work day came to a close. Plugged into Google Maps directions to the La Quinta Hotel we booked for the evening and hit the open road. Traffic was light and we were there in no time. We checked in, got settled, and headed off to find dinner.
We have an unwritten rule while traveling, that we cannot eat at an establishment we could indulge in near our home. When in Fort Worth, that means Joe T Garcia’s, a Fort Worth staple to satisfy our thirst for authentic Tex-Mex, heavy on the Mex. Well, poor adventure planning on our part, because we had 2 of our 4 kids in tow and they were hungry. The full parking lots, yes, I said lots plural, made our brave souls doubt if we had the staying power to wait it out for a table. In a stroke of genius, one of us mentioned the Stockyards.
Off we went down the original brick streets soaking in the rich history that surrounds this area. We strolled over to Stockyard Station and into Riscky’s Barbeque. We were greeted with a smile and giggles as Little T and Mini Me led the way into the restaurant when we walked in. Red and white checked table clothes and rustic décor surrounded us, no doubt we are deep in the Heart of Texas. The service was great and the barbecue was equally as good. The cheese fries were topped with cheddar and the ice tea was fresh, a must in the South.
Outside the restaurant, as you walk around Stockyard Station there are kiddie coin rides. Little T made a beeline to the carousel and insisted we pop 2 quarters in so she could have fun. We are suckers and 50 cents is a low investment to see both our littles happy. Check out the Instagram video here. The atmosphere was family friendly, and relaxed. Easy to see why this is a hot spot for tourism, and it lives up to it’s National Historic District title.
We retired to our hotel room and enjoyed the plush bed and spacious room. The girls unwound watching a movie on the TV. Soon we were all fast asleep resting up for our morning outing. We woke early and had a leisurely time getting ready. We connected to the hotel WiFi and streamed some of the girl’s favorite cartoons while we packed up. A quick ride down the elevator to the Bright Side Breakfast with Texas shaped waffles awaited our hungry bellies. It is always a win to find a continental breakfast that satisfies every member of the family.
The Fort Worth Zoo and adventure awaited us. The lush tree lined road leading up to the entrance made the wait in line bearable. Parking was a breeze and with all the ticket windows open we had a minimal wait to get into the zoo. Score on a Saturday morning. The race was on. This is Texas. How long can we go until the heat cuts our day short? Little T and Mini Me loath the stroller and prefer walking; that also added to the equation. Off we went and straight to the World of Primates. The exhibits were grand and the gorillas that greeted us were ready to show off, especially Gus, the baby gorilla. We made our way through the Asian Falls where more babies awaited us, baby elephants. Belle and Bowie played together and captured our hearts as only two little giant elephants could do. We strolled though the African Savannah, Meerkat Mounds, Parrot Paradise, Raptor Canyon and Flamingo Bay. Then it hit us, the heat was upon us and we sought refuge in the Crocodile Café. The fascinating surroundings made our lunch wilder! Nap-time was calling and we decided to close the day at the zoo on a high note before any tantrums reared their ugly heads. So much more to do at the zoo, and we will certainly return to finish our visit soon!
We decided to head back to Dallas and let Mini Me nap in her own bed. Before we left, we stopped by the gift shop and picked up two soft Fort Worth Zoo balls. You would have thought we hung the moon. Us? We just wanted something to occupy the girls on the ride home! #parentingwin