Curious Learners Visit Fort Worth to see Dream Park and the Iconic Longhorns at the Stockyards

We traveled north to Dallas-Fort Worth where the cooler weather was a welcome reprieve. We were staying on the top floor of the hotel overlooking Six Flags in Arlington. While there, we experienced our first tornado sheltering in place, we brought our breakfast and school books to the ballroom and sat out the tornado warning.

Dream Park

After the tornado warning lifted, the sun came out and we cruised over to Dream Park which is playground for children of all abilities. We had all 57,000 square feet of play space to ourselves for almost an hour. We explored the slides, hot air balloon, zip-line, music making space and climbed on the ‘DREAM’. Then, as we started to get hungry for lunch, a bus of school kids arrived and we knew it was time for us to head out. We found a delicious shop called Cheba Hut where we enjoyed toasted subs and named as many characters in their somewhat edgy wall mural as possible. They also had a fun outdoor patio with big checker boards and a giant Jenga.

Fort Worth Historic Stockyards

The historic Fort Worth Stockyards was such a fun outing and I’d love to come back and explore some more. Think of an old west movie town and that is what we walked into. Parking was pretty easy on a weekday with big open lots and a digital pay station. Our group with two mamas and eight children found a spot on the sidewalk to enjoy the morning cattle drive. The longhorn steer are driven down the brick road every day at 11:30 am & 4:00 pm. We meandered shops on the main roads, moseyed the stores on the side streets, and got a few souvenirs including fudge. We all agreed that BBQ was a must while in a cowboy town and enjoyed the outstanding service and food at Riscky’s Steakhouse.

Considering our budget, we opted to just enjoy the free views this visit. Next time we would enjoy going through the John Wayne – An American Experience. While on the way to use the bathroom, we wandered the halls of the North Fort Worth Historical Society -and looked at all the photos of amazing people who have impacted the cowboy way of life. There were beautiful shops with handcrafted leather goods, hotels, eateries and even a fun shop where you could decorate your own hat!

Photo in front of the Drover Hotel with MJ and Mom.

Curious Learning Moments

Who were the first cowboys? Vaqueros, the Spanish word for cowboys, were the first to wrangle herds in the American Southwest. Americans misheard this word and began calling them buckaroos. Here is a lesson about Vaqueros and here is a article about Cowboys.

Why are there not more longhorns now? After the Civil War, many veterans returned home to Texas and began to capture the plentiful wild longhorns and began profitable ranches. The north longed for beef and thus the cattle drives began to bring fresh meat to the north. As the railroads expanded, barbed wire segmented the once open range and a better breed for beef was introduced, all causing the age of longhorns to fade into history.

Extensions for your Curious Learners:

Read some true stories or some folk tales about cowboys. One great story is Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time

Watch a John Wayne classic cowboy movie.

Veritas Press 6th Grade History has one lesson about cowboys. If you are studying history using Veritas Press, this would be a wonderful field trip!

Visit Texas State Parks that are conservation lands for the longhorns.

Make a Family Brand – At Riscky’s Steakhouse, the menu had an insert telling the legends of the brands one might see on a ranch or a cow’s side. Read over these then make a family brand and write down why it represents you.

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