Sunday Recap Report – Deep in the Heart of Texas

It was another… Wait! This isn’t your ‘normal’ Sunday Recap Report! We actually spent some time in Dallas, Texas this last week. I’ve been Texas many times in life. I have family in El Paso and Houston, and have been to Austin, but have only been to the airport in Dallas. This time, I actually had the chance to explore the city as well as some great food!

We arrived Wednesday morning after a very early flight from Los Angeles. One of the first things we did after we checked into the hotel was walk to Whataburger. This is a staple in Texas. In fact, they have been around since 1951, and remain family owned and operated. Several of us actually ate at Whataburger three times during the trip, and we were okay with that.

After lunch at Whataburger, we walked to the Forest Lane DART Station. DART is the Dallas Area Rapid Transit, consisting of buses and trains. We got our train ticket, and waited for the Southbound Red Line Train. Once at the West End Station, we exited and made the short walk to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Dealey Plaza is the area where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. The Sixth Floor Museum, formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald made the fatal shot.

The 1-1/2 hour to 2 hour audio guided walking tour is fascinating. I learned so much about the events that occurred that fateful day, as well as about events that happened prior to that day, and events that were to occur if those events didn’t happen. Several areas of The Sixth Floor Museum are behind protective glass to preserving the events that took place at those particular locations.

After spending exploring, we headed to Dealey Plaza across from the museum. As you look at the road where the motorcade was passing, there are two ‘Xs’ on the road. The first ‘X’ marks where the first bullet hit, and the second ‘X’ marks where Kennedy was hit and killed.

It was very surreal to be in a place where such a tragedy took place. Thousands of cars pass through this area daily, and one can only imagine what it was like to be here on that fateful day in November 1963.

After we left Dealey Plaza, we made our way to Pioneer Plaza. There is an incredible display here featuring large sculptures that commemorate the 19th Century cattle drives that took place along the Shawnee Trail. There are 49 bronze steers and 3 trail riders. Each steer is larger than life at six feet high. It is set along an artificial ridge and past a man-made limestone cliff, native landscaping, and a flowing stream and waterfall.

Our adventure continued as we headed to dinner. We wanted barbecue, and found a place called Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. It was founded in 1910 so we figured we would eat there. The food was good, and it was a good way to end our first day in Dallas. After dinner, we made our way back to the hotel.

Thursday the 13th was the coldest day of the trip. It was a very comfortable 39 degrees as we walked to Starbucks. I think most of us got warm drinks because they were very much needed.

Our plan for the day was to visit the Dallas Zoo. We once again took the train all the way to Dallas Zoo Station. The train station is across the street from the zoo so it was very easy to access. Admission to the zoo was more than half off in honor of Penguin Days! We love penguins so it was great for us! Plus who doesn’t love a discount?!

One thing we learned as we were exploring the Zoo was that many animals tend not to come out when the weather is below 45 degrees. It only got to 43 degrees as we were walking around so we didn’t see as many animals. We did, however, see warthogs, meerkats, goats, a lion, a tiger, lots of birds, and of course, penguins!

We did have fun counting the animals as we were told there are over 2,000 animals at the Zoo. I believe we counted over 160 animals, so not quite 2,000. And walking around the Zoo was great too. It definitely helpedkeep your mind clear from the temperature.

After the zoo, we took the train and headed to Cedars station and made our way to another barbecue place. This one was even way better than the first place! It’s called Off The Bone Barbeque, and many say it’s the best barbeque in the state! We all agreed 1,000 percent!!

Following dinner, we headed back to the hotel to relax and unwind. Friday, we went to Starbucks near the hotel, and had lunch at Whataburger again. We were attending a conference while in Dallas, and we didn’t want to go too far from the hotel. Saturday, we spent all day at the hotel for the last day of the conference.

Sunday, we checked out of the hotel and headed to Southern Methodist University to check out the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The SMU campus feels like you’ve stepped into a real life Liberty Square from Magic Kingdom. Most of the buildings on the campus looked historic, as if they have been around for 200 plus years.

As we explored the library and museum, we are reminded of the 2000 Presidential Election and the attacks of September 11, 2001 among other events.

We also saw how life was inside the Bush White House, and got a see a replica of the Oval Office.

On the walls, were the various awards given out during George W. Bush’s presidency. One award that had notable names was the National Medal of Arts. Disney Animator Ollie Johnston, Marvel founder Stan Lee, and The Sherman Brothers were among those honored with this award during this time.

After some time at the Bush Library and Museum, it was time to head back to the hotel and then to the airport. We had lunch while we waited for our flight, and worked on stories for DAPS MAGIC.

Overall, it was a fun trip to Dallas! The weather may have been cold a few days, but eating good food and exploring the sights the city made for a memorable visit! Our regular Disneyland adventures return next week, and I can’t wait to share the fun once again!


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