Planning the Texas Road Trip

[Update: We took the Texas trip, and it was great! I’ll tell you everything as soon as I can.]

So, I’m planning my friend, Erin’s, first solo road trip. She doesn’t want to start out with a full-blown, cross-country trip, so we’ve narrowed it down to Texas. We’ve decided to forgo Mexico because of the head-choppers we’ve heard about running around down there now. We’ll also forgo the panhandle because the only things in the Texas panhandle are the Cadillac Ranch and the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, and Erin thinks the Cadillac Ranch is crazy and weird. Terry thought that, too, but a lot of people go there. I think it’s some of the most interesting art around. So, she’s sent me the list of cities that she would like to visit so I’ll start with those: Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi. That’s how I start, with a few places, and now I’ll map those and go from there. I’ve also added in Galveston because if you go on a road trip, you really need to go to the beach so if you are going to Texas you have to go to Galveston. They have a great beach and also Moody Gardens.

So, then I realize, I want to do this trip! I want to do a Texas road trip. We’ve done them before, once when Benjamin was little. We have relatives down there, cool ones that we can stay with. So, I started planning out all the places that I… I mean, we… wanted to go in Texas. I typed them up as you will see below with links to the sites for the places and their address so I have that to Google Map them by if I need to. I put their hours in there because you want to know what days a place is closed and how late they’re open, and I put the admission prices so I can keep up with that….

San Antonio

The San Antonio River Walk looks interesting… and is apparently next to the Alamo. Looks like the place to be in San Antonio.

Here’s the San Antonio Visitor site.

The Witte Museum
3801 Broadway
San Antonio, TX
Mon: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tues: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Wed-Sat: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun – 12 – 5 p.m.
Adults – $8.00, Children  – $6.00

Dallas
Museum of Nature and Science
The Nature Building: 3535 Grand Avenue; Science Building: 1318 South Second Avenue; Planetarium: 1620 First Avenue
Monday–Saturday: 10am-5pm, Sunday: Noon-5
Adult: $15, Child: $12 (includes dinosaur exhibit)
Childrens’ Aquarium at Fair Park
1462 First Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75210
9:00 am – 4:30 pm 7 days a week

Texas Discovery Gardens Butterfly House & Insectarium – Dallas

Dallas Heritage Village
1515 South Harwood St.
Dallas, TX  75215-1273

Fort Worth
Fort Worth Zoo
Open every day, summer hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday with extended weekend hours. No smoking
Adults: $12, Children: $9, Parking: $5

Fort Worth Stockyards

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
open daily, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday Noon to 5 p.m.
$14 x 2 + $10

Irving

National Scouting Museum
1329 W Walnut Hill Ln
Irving, TX 75038

open Monday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
General $8.00, Children 4-12 $6.00, Scouts/Scouters $5.00, Admission FREE on Sundays and Mondays

Glen Rose

Dinosaur Valley State Park
Glen Rose, TX
$10 entrance fee

Homestead Heritage looks like an interesting place to have lunch and look around. If you want to see where the Branch Davidians died, the Waco Tourist Information Center has these directions.

I’ve done Chili Across America before, and I’m thinking Chili Across Texas sounds like a good plan. I hope they don’t make all their chili too hot down there. Have I mentioned that I’ve gotten so interested in Texas doing this road trip plan for Erin that I’ve decided I want to go there, too? We will add in the relatives in Euless and Nacogdoches, and I don’t know if Erin wants to go to the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, and I don’t think we’ll do the ghost tours, but other than that, it will be about the same. We’ve been through Texas a few times before, Galveston, the Stockyards in Ft. Worth, but we’ve never been to the Alamo, and surely they’ve found some dinosaurs down there.

OK, mileage…

Erin’s truck gets about 24 miles per gallon. Our Expedition gets 15 – 20 miles per gallon; pulling the travel trailer gets 6 miles per gallon. We haven’t decided what we’re doing. I don’t want to take the travel trailer because it makes the vehicle lurch all the time. I already get carsick just from reading the map; I don’t need to be lurching the whole trip.

So Google tells me it’s about 1,576 miles from Fayetteville, AR to Dallas, TX to Ft. Worth, TX to San Antonio, TX, to Houston, TX to Galveston, TX to Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, LA to Nacogdoches, TX to Fayetteville, AR. I’ll estimate up to 1,600 to account for city driving and some of the getting lost.
View Google Map

I always have to find my miles per gallon formula; I have to look it up every year….
miles / miles per gallon = total gallons x price per gallon = gas cost

Expedition: 1600 / 17 = 94 X $2.75 = $259
Travel trailer: 1600 / 6 = 267 X $2.75 = $733
Erin’s truck: 1600 / 24 = 67 X $2.75 = $183

Driving time is 30 hours.

Can we even go to Gulf beaches? Is there still oil there from the spill? Research time.

So I’m looking at these barrier island off the coast of Texas. Do they have beaches? Are they accessible to the public? Are they clean — I mean on a good day.

Is Matagorda Beach clean for swimming or more of a fishing area?

Oklahoma

(Because we have to drive through Oklahoma to get to Texas.)

Sam Noble Museum
Norman, OK

Galveston

Moody Gardens
open daily 10-8
Aquarium Pyramid® – Adult: $20.95, Child: $17.95
Rainforest Pyramid® – Adult: $20.95, Child: $17.95
Discovery Museum  – Adult: $8.95, Child: $6.95
MG 3D Theater – Adult: $10.95, Child: $8.95
Dinos Alive Exhibit -(June 4 – August 14) – Adult: $5.95, Child: $5.95

Austin

Dinosaur Park
893 Union Chapel Road
Cedar Creek, Texas
$6 X 3

Houston

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Monday, Wed – Sun: 9 am – 6 pm
Tuesday: 9 am – 8 pm
Adults $15 | Children $10, free Tuesdays

Johnson Space Center

next launch: August 5