There is a lot to discover and experience for families that will make your trip to Waco, Texas fun and educational. Waco has recently been a popular place to visit for fans a HGTV design show called ‘Fixer Upper.’ Co-stars, Chip and Joanna Gaines have used their talents of construction and design to revitalize neighborhoods in their hometown. Lately many have flocked to the Texas town to visit Magnolia Silos owned by the home design couple. Since the opening of the Gaines’ home decor shop and restaurant, the town is bustling with new businesses and restaurants. If you have thought about visiting Waco, plan to visit a few places that are great experiences for your entire family.
We decided to leave Houston a little earlier than we had planned. We were blessed to have been missed by Hurricane Laura, but the damage it caused on the coast of Louisiana caused our electricity to be out most of the day. It was Thursday just before midnight when we arrived at my husband’s brother’s home in Waco, Texas. Three places on our list to visit that weekend were: Cameron Park, The Homestead Heritage, and Waco Mammoth National Monument.
We woke up the next day and while Ryan (my husband) toured the Brazos River on bike with his brother, we decided to stroll and scooter along the river in Cameron park on the hottest day of the year. After about a mile and a half into our adventure I checked the weather and realized we were touring the 400 acre park in 105 degree Texas heat. We had parked in an area of the park called Pecan Bottoms near a playground and splash close to downtown Waco. The large shaded trees throughout the park and the promise of cool sprays of water was all that got us through the mile and a half walk back. Cameron Zoo is located just steps away from the park and our walk was made even more exciting with the statues of zoo animals that lines our walking path. Had the weather not been as intense we would have spent more time exploring the other playgrounds of this gorgeous park. We drove past the area of Lovers Lookout, the highest spot in the park and took in breathtaking views of the river and town. This is definitely an area you could spend days exploring. You can enjoy disc golf, fishing and picnics. Take a stroll, hike or bike the trails along the Brazos. Check out their website for more information on how to navigate one the largest municipal parks in Texas. After the splash pad we treated ourselves to sundaes famous Katie’s Frozen Custard. I love finding local favorites for food and entertainment.
Waco Mammoth National Monument sits on 100 acres parkland along he Bosque River, it had only become part of the national park system five years ago. The story began in 1978 when a couple of guys looking for arrowheads stumbled upon a very large bone pertruding out of the earth. The femur of a Columbian Mammoth from the Ice Age was just one of twenty-two mammoths that would eventually be unearthed and housed at Baylor University’s Mayborn Museum Complex. Mammoth Park has a temperature controlled dig site that is protected and open for continued scientific research and public viewing. The park is open seven days a week and costs $5 or less to tour the Dig Site.
Another area of in Waco is the Homestead Heritage farm. It is a 550-acre farm made up of numerous family homesteads and farmland for crops and farm animals. The Homestead Heritage is completely self-sustaining and was founded on Christian values and a desire to live a life of peace and simplicity. The farm has a diverse amount of crops including sorghum which is processed by a mule driven sorghum mill. The community holds a yearly sorghum festival open to the public. Whatever produce is not used by the community or sold through their restaurant or market is given away. The community boasts award winning craftsmen, whose work has been purchased for the White House. Their annual Thanksgiving craft fair holds hands- on demonstrations for children for woodworking, cheese making, basket making, quilt making and numerous other crafts. The community even runs a school, the Ploughshare Institute for Sustainable Culture, which teaches year round courses in many of the above mentioned skills as well as homesteading skills such as gardening and canning to milking, cheese making and horse farming. Their restaurant Cafe Homestead serves the fruits of the farm’s labor. You are encouraged to take a hay ride to the craft shops and through the working farm while also getting a scenic view of the Brazos River. The Homestead Heritage is a community founded by the desire to give the next generation a better life. What started out as homeschooling and growing their own food with a small group of like-minded people eventually became the Homestead Heritage.