If you live in Texas and love Blue Bell ice cream you must take advantage of an amazing road trip that includes dollar scoops, historic treasures and beautiful murals for photo opportunities.
The girls and I took a short drive from northwest of Houston with my sister in law and nephew to beautiful Brenham Texas. The hills start rising up from the earth and the city is lost behind us as we pass farms and pastures with beautiful homes and picturesque ponds.
Just outside of Brenham there is a red barn facing highway 290. In April the field is covered in bluebonnets. Photographers and tourists flock to this area for their annual pictures with our state flower. The neighboring town of Chapel Hill has an annual Blue Bonnet Festival that attracts many visitors.
Our first stop in Brenham was of course the Blue Bell Creamery. The visitors center, ice cream parlor and baseball museum is open to the public. The grounds are beautiful and there are many opportunities for photos. We started at the visitors center where we got a blue bell hat just like the ice cream parlor servers. On the walls there is a timeline and pictures of Blue Bell’s most notable events.
Next up the Ice Cream Parlor! We made sure to take all the pictures we could before we rewarded the kiddos with their ice cream. Upon entering the building we were greeted by a huge mural and to the left a baseball museum.
We climbed the stairs to the second level which is where the ice cream parlor is located. There was also an observation deck down the hall that looked out over busy conveyor belts and machinery hard at work packaging and transporting boxes of ice cream to its next destination. No photos were allowed to be taken at the observation deck! The last thing they want is the competition to find out trade secrets!
The best part of the ice cream parlor tour were not the places to take photos, but the dollar ice cream scoops and the generous sample sizes. The girls had crazy cookie dough which was sugar cookie ice cream with chunks of icing. I had my old faithful pecan pralines and cream. The visitors center, museum and ice cream parlor are opened from 8am-5pm Monday through Friday, close on Saturday and Sunday.
We had decided to visit a park for a picnic lunch and allow the children to burn off that sugar. Fireman’s Park was just 5 minutes away. I highly recommend this park because of the two shaded areas with playground equipment, covered picnic pavilions and beautiful flowers and landscaping. There is also an antique carousel that is available for private parties. The large trees must have been a hundred years old. We had a perfect view in the shade to enjoy lunch. The 30 acre park has three different playgrounds, restrooms, and beautiful floral landscaping for pictures and exploring.
We decided to explore the other covered playground and to our pleasant surprise it was new equipment neighboring a beautiful butterfly garden. On researching Brenham things to do I had noticed the local library had reading events on Tuesday’s at 10 am and 2 pm. My sister in law and I sat watching the kids and admiring the butterfly garden when we noticed the Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library was just steps away from us. How lucky we were that it just so happened to be a little after 1pm! We couldn’t have planned it better. We let the kids play a little longer. They were excited to explore new playground equipment.
After playing and climbing, we walked to the library for restroom breaks and to cool down. The Nancy Carol Roberts Library had a large children’s room. There were steps for seating and pillows for reading books around the room. There was also pretend food and plates which Madelyn loved. We sat and read as we watched a crowd of kids start to form out in the hallway. We thought there was no way we would try to fight the crowd for story time. Then we heard that instead of story time a zoo animal presentation was taking its place. We were curious and hesitant but decided to give it a try.
To our surprise it was the most amazing up close animal experience we had ever seen and we go to the zoo frequently. Wild Things Zoofari was the highlight of our trip and we got to participate for free! They are a mobile zoo servicing the greater Texas area. They are based out of San Antonio and are available for birthdays, events and school programs. Wild Things Zoofari teaches the importance of wildlife conservation with a hands on experience. The cutest little tamarind was presented first. He was no bigger than the palm of her hand. Madelyn squealed with excitement and begged to hold him or for me to get her one. Up next was a lemur named Zeus, he wore diapers and was so lovable. His best friend was the next furry guest, a monkey named George! Apparently he loves to share food right or if his mouth, escape from his cage and remove his diaper. He also helps other to escape and remove their diapers.
The next animal was a cockatiel named Petey. He told us hello and imitated the sound of a missile dropping.
The final guest was a seven month old kangaroo. The joey had been sitting in a purse hanging on a door the whole time. We all got to pet him! We could not believe that we had such an amazing experience! The girls learned so much and they flooded their dads ears with their whole day.
Even though it was getting late we decided to forge through nap time and head downtown which was literally a mile away. We had read that the murals were worth the walk around the square. The Brenham Art Walk is a great opportunity for photos. We planned to find a sweet treat to keep the excitement up and the children going.
We dragged the kids around from mural to mural. They were fading fast and their annoyed expressions showed. We still tried hard to bribe them with more ice cream and for a few extra smiles. They couldn’t believe they got more ice cream out of us. We stopped at a nearby cafe called Must Be Heaven. The homemade pies looked and smelled amazing and the menu listed all of grandmas favorites. The home-style restaurant served up blue bell ice cream of course at a novelty bar straight out of the nineteen-fifty If you are road tripping across Texas and happen to be going down highway 290, make Brenham, Texas one of your stops. You will not regret it!
Other Brenham Attractions:
The Blue Bell Aquatic Center is a great stop especially on a hot summer day. Daily admission is only $5 and for children 3 years and younger $3. It is located just down the road from the creamery and open all year road, check their site for hours of operation.
Love and Blessings,