Abilene's Springtime Guide: 5 Activities You Must Try
Spring is just around the corner in Abilene, and there's no better time to explore all that this charming city has to offer. From scenic state parks to cultural events and historic districts, Abilene has something for everyone. To help you make the most of your springtime visit to Abilene, we've put together a guide of the top 5 must-try activities.
VISIT THE HISTORIC DOWNTOWN CULTURAL DISTRICT
Abilene's Downtown Cultural District is a vibrant and historic hub of activity, featuring over a dozen beautifully preserved historic buildings and a wealth of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Here's why you should add it to your must-visit list:
The Downtown Cultural District is a perfect place to start your visit to Abilene. Start at Abilene’s original train station, the T&P Depot, and take a self-guided walking tour of the district and explore the city's rich history and culture. The district boasts an eclectic mix of architectural styles, including Art Deco, Victorian, and mid-century modern, and each building tells a unique story of Abilene's past.
In addition to its historic buildings, the Downtown Cultural District is home to a variety of unique shops and restaurants. You'll find everything from modern boutiques to antique shops, and a variety of restaurants offering everything from traditional Texas steakhouses to artisanal coffee and craft cocktails.
The district also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including art walks, concerts, and festivals. Abilene’s art scene offers a variety of art-related events, and the historic Paramount Theatre features classic movies and live performances throughout the year.
Abilene's Downtown Cultural District is also home to a variety of educational museums that are perfect for visitors of all ages. The Grace Museum is one of the most popular, offering a unique look at the history and culture of West Texas through its exhibits on art, history, and science. The museum's permanent collection includes works by regional artists, as well as artifacts and exhibits that showcase the region's history and natural resources.
The Center for Contemporary Arts is a must-visit for art lovers, with rotating exhibits featuring contemporary artists from around the world. The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature is another gem, featuring rotating exhibits of original illustrations from popular children's books.
Frontier Texas! is another popular attraction that offers a hands-on look at the history of the Texas frontier. Visitors can experience life on the frontier through interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations.
Last, but definitely not least, the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum is a must-visit for history buffs. The museum honors the men and women of the 12th Armored Division, who fought in World War II, and features exhibits on the division's history and accomplishments.
Overall, Abilene's Downtown Cultural District is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, culture, and the arts. With its beautifully preserved historic buildings, unique shops and restaurants, and wealth of cultural attractions and events, it offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
THE ABILENE ZOO
The Abilene Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in the city, drawing visitors of all ages throughout the year. The zoo is home to over 600 animals, a safari train, giraffe feeding terrace, educational classes, concessions & more.
In addition to these major exhibits, the zoo also features Up Close Tours, meet members of the giraffe herd or get up close with the zoo’s anteaters in these exclusive behind-the-scenes tours. There is also a playground for children to enjoy, as well as several picnic areas where visitors can relax and enjoy a meal in the beautiful outdoor setting.
The Abilene Zoo also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, exciting news for animal lovers! The Abilene Zoo is proud to present the return of Wild Days, a special event presented by the Excelsior Foundation that promises to be a WILD time for all. Scheduled to coincide with Spring Break, from March 11th to 19th, Wild Days is an event that shouldn't be missed.
But Wild Days isn't just about the Wild Side LIVE! show. There will be plenty of other activities and attractions to enjoy, including special animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, and more. And of course, the regular exhibits and attractions of the Abilene Zoo will be open for visitors to explore.
One of the highlights of the event is the Wild Side LIVE!, an interactive show featuring the zoo's beloved Animal Ambassadors and hosted by the Conservation Supervisor, Clay Carabajal. If you're a fan of Clay's popular YouTube series, the Wild Side with Clay, you won't want to miss this live version of the show. It's a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the zoo's most fascinating residents and learn more about their habits and behaviors.
The Abilene Zoo is a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Abilene. With its diverse collection of animals, interactive exhibits, and fun-filled activities, it offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
BUFFALO GAP HISTORIC VILLAGE
Step back in time at the Taylor County History Center/Buffalo Gap Historic Village and explore the fascinating history of the region. The centerpiece of this living museum is a historic 1879 structure that once served as the courthouse and jail for Taylor County. But that's just the beginning - the Village is a potpourri of historic buildings that have been brought together to create a unique experience for visitors.
Walking through the Village is like taking a journey through time, as you explore a variety of historic buildings and settings. From a doctor's office to a barbershop, a railroad depot to a bank, a post office to a print shop, private homes to the Nazarene Church, each building offers a glimpse into a different aspect of life in the past.
Preserving such a collection of buildings is no easy feat, but the staff at the Taylor County History Center/Buffalo Gap Historic Village have done an incredible job of maintaining and restoring these historic structures. And the experience is made even more engaging with the help of a sound wand, a device about the size of a cell phone that you can pick up at the admission desk.
The sound wand is packed full of stories related to the buildings and their former inhabitants, and the stories are short, artfully written, and told by master storytellers. With enough information presented to keep you engaged for hours, the sound wand is the perfect way to explore the history of the Village and its residents. But coupled with the structures and their associated artifacts, the experience is truly unforgettable, engaging guests of all ages.
If you're looking for a unique and immersive experience that takes you back in time, be sure to visit the Buffalo Gap Historic Village. You won't be disappointed!
TAKE A WALK AT ABILENE STATE PARK
Abilene State Park is a beautiful nature escape just outside the city of Abilene. With miles of scenic hiking trails, fishing, and camping opportunities, it's the perfect place for nature lovers to experience the great outdoors.
The park is home to several species of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and armadillos, which can be spotted throughout the park's trails and campsites. Bird watchers can also enjoy the park's diverse bird population, which includes roadrunners, Northern cardinals, and hummingbirds, to name a few.
One of the unique features of Abilene State Park is the option to stay in one of its three rentable yurts. These round, tent-like structures are fully furnished with beds, a kitchenette, and air conditioning and offer a unique camping experience for those who want a little more comfort. Visitors can also stay in one of the park's campsites, which offer water and electricity hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings.
The park also features a large swimming pool, which is open during the summer months and is the perfect place to cool off on a hot Texas day. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, and mountain biking. The park's trails offer stunning views of the surrounding hills and prairies, and the terrain ranges from easy, flat paths to more challenging trails with steep inclines.
In addition to its natural attractions, Abilene State Park also has several picnic areas and group shelters that can be reserved for family gatherings or other events.
Abilene State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. With its diverse wildlife, rentable yurts, and numerous outdoor activities, it's the perfect place to experience the natural beauty of West Texas.
ATTEND A CULTURAL EVENT LIKE THE WESTERN HERITAGE CLASSIC
The Western Heritage Classic is one of Abilene's most exciting and popular annual events, drawing visitors from all over to celebrate the tradition of cowboy heritage and culture. Here are some more details about what visitors can expect:
The event centers around the Ranch Rodeo, which features teams of working cowboys competing in events such as bronc riding, wild cow milking, and team penning. Visitors can watch as these skilled cowboys put their horsemanship skills to the test.
Another highlight of the Western Heritage Classic is the Chuckwagon Cook-off, where teams of cooks compete to prepare the best cowboy-style meals using only cast-iron cookware and open fires. Visitors can sample the food and enjoy a taste of the old west.
Saddle up, cowboy enthusiasts! If you're a fan of traditional and contemporary music that captures the spirit of the cowboy lifestyle, you won't want to miss the Entertainment Pavilion. This is the place where artists from all over the West gather to share their passion for humor, history, and music that's been passed down from pioneer campfires and the bunkhouses of the great cattle ranches. Visitors can also attend the Cowboy Poetry Contest, which showcases the rich history and traditions of the cowboy lifestyle through poetry and storytelling.
If you're looking for some exciting action, one event you won't want to miss is the horse races held at the southeast area of the Expo Grounds. This is one of the most popular events of the weekend, drawing crowds of enthusiastic fans eager to watch horse and rider face off against competing teams and the clock. With a total purse of $1,100 and the winner receiving a Buckle Set by Clint Conder, the stakes are high and the energy is electric.
There are also a variety of vendors selling Western-themed goods, such as clothing, jewelry, and home decor. Visitors can even try on authentic Western clothing and accessories, such as cowboy hats, boots, and belts.
The Western Heritage Classic is a must-visit event for anyone interested in the culture and heritage of the West. With its exciting rodeo events, Chuck wagon cook-off, cowboy music, and fun-filled activities, it offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
There you have it - 5 must-try activities to experience the best of Abilene this Spring. From exploring the great outdoors to discovering the rich history and culture of the city, Abilene offers something for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Come to Abilene and experience these amazing attractions this Spring!