This Fort Worth Stockyards post is courtesy of our travel writer Cheryl of Kids On A Plane…Fort Worth, Texas is known as the City of Cowboys & Culture. Families can learn about cowboy and cowgirl history, grab a drink or two at the world’s largest Honky Tonk or visit some of the world’s top museums and performance halls here.
One of the most popular things for families to do is spend a day at the Fort Worth Stockyards. With its brick lined streets, historic buildings, a weekly rodeo and twice daily cattle drive, this is the place where tourists come to experience the American West.
Fort Worth Stockyards Travel Tips:
If you’re heading to the Fort Worth Stockyards, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind:
1. Wear Comfortable Shoes & Bring Sunscreen
The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is a walkable area. Most of the attractions and activities take place outdoors so be prepared to stand in the sun for the majority of your visit. Comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen are a must.
2. Free Parking at the end of Exchange Avenue
There are several paid parking lots at the Stockyards but if you arrive early enough in the day, you might be able to grab a spot in the lot at the end of Exchange Avenue.
Drive all the way to the end of Exchange Avenue (the main road marked with the Fort Worth Stockyards banner sign) and then make a left. That lot is free and fills up quickly.
3. Pick Up a Map at the Stockyards Visitors Information Center
The Stockyards area is very large so make sure you pick up a map at the Visitors Center to learn about all the attractions and events. You don’t want to miss anything if you only have one day here.
4. Stay for the Cattle Drive
There are two cattle drives a day along Exchange Avenue – 11:30AM and 4PM. This is something fun for kids to see (I originally thought they’d be running down the street but no they’re just walking) and costs nothing.
Be sure to grab a spot along the street 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled time if you want a good view of the Texas Longhorns.
The cattle drive starts near the free parking lot and ends around the Cowtown Coliseum. Drovers are available before and after each cattle drive for pictures and questions.
5. See the Longhorns Up Close Again
After the cattle drive, take a walk behind the Cowtown Coliseum and look for the Fort Worth Herd sign. You can see the Texas Longhorns up close and take some photos from the bridges above their pen.
6. Bring a Sturdy Stroller or Baby Carrier
For parents with little ones, I would highly recommend bringing a stroller. It is a lot of walking outdoors and your arms will get tired quickly if you’re holding baby the entire time. Because of the old paved roads and bricks, you’ll need a stroller that can handle rugged terrain.
A soft shell baby carrier for infants works well too but you might get hot quickly because of the dry Texas heat.
7. Take the Train to Grapevine
Visitors can take a 1.5 hour ride from the Stockyards to Grapevine aboard one of two vintage trains – Puffy (a 1896 steam locomotive) and Vinny (a 1953 diesel locomotive). You can find out more about the train ride at the Visitors Center.
8. Get Tickets for the Rodeo
Every Friday and Saturday night, the Cowtown Coliseum hosts cowboys and cowgirls from all over the world at the Stockyards Championship Rodeo. This is a popular event not just for tourists but locals as well. You’ll get to see bull riding, calf roping, and barrel racing.
It goes without saying, when in Texas – EAT!
The Fort Worth Stockyards is home to many restaurants, bars and saloons. While you can pack a picnic for the day, if you’re a foodie this is the place to try Texas-style cuisine.
Carnivores will love it here. I’d recommend Cooper’s BBQ if you’re looking to grab a bite before the rodeo. It’s just a few steps away from the coliseum and is a laid-back fun experience for the whole family (your plate is just a piece of wax paper!)
10. See the World’s Largest Honky Tonk – Billy Bob’s Texas
You don’t have to know how to do the two-step to visit Billy Bob’s Texas. This 6000 person capacity country and western nightclub is open during the day for families who want to grab a bite to eat and buy some fun Fort Worth souvenirs.
11. Buy Cowboy (or Cowgirl) Boots and Hats
If you’re looking for a pair of boots or an authentic cowboy/cowgirl hat, you’ll find it at the Stockyards.
There are numerous stores where you’ll find everything from custom stitched cowboy boots and bedazzled hats. I wish I had bit the bullet and bought a pair of boots while I was there as I didn’t see many boot stores outside of Fort Worth.
M.L. Leddy’s is for serious cowboys and cowgirls (they specialize in custom made boots) and Fincher’s White Front Western Wear have a huge assortment of boots for the more budget conscious buyer.
Have fun and enjoy your day at the Fort Worth Stockyards! It may seem a bit touristy for some parents, but the kids will love it!
There are so many great reasons to plan a vacation in Texas!
To start planning your day at the Fort Worth Stockyards, visit Fort Worth CVB and Texas Tourism.
For more family travel tips, visit Cheryl’s blog Kids on A Plane as well as her Facebook page. I love the sneak peeks of her adventures on Instagram!
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