As the nation honors those who have died in military service on Memorial Day, dozens of events pop up this weekend to celebrate freedom and the unofficial start of the summer season.
I was struggling to surmount a Friday-afternoon energy slump a few weeks ago when I received a phone call that perked me up better than a cup of coffee ever could. “My name is Louise Rowe,” she told me, “and I think you might be interested in my story.”
Last year around this time, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch in New Braunfels celebrated the birth of twin reticulated giraffes, the first successful twins in the United States. The park named the giraffes Nakato and Wasswa, and they’re still thriving, and growing, and revealing their personalities as the ranch itself celebrates its 30th anniversary this spring.
With spring officially here and summer around the corner, lots of folks are making vacation (and staycation) plans. Museums, since they are usually gloriously climate-controlled and require no slathering of sunscreen to enjoy, make great escapes when the mercury rises, and their offerings are more diverse than you might imagine. For example, most museums these days complement exhibits—whether they present art, history, science, or other disciplines—with film screenings, lectures, art demonstrations, kids’ activities like storytimes and DIY crafts, and even themed dance parties. Not only does this expanded focus bring the museums new audiences, but it also helps make the collections more relevant and accessible to visitors who may have previously thought they weren’t “museum types.”
When you get down with your funky self amid a collection of modern sculptures, or meditate in a gallery filled with Japanese antiquities, it’s easier to find a visceral, lasting connection with the museum-going experience.
Amid the hundreds of documentaries, dramas, comedies, and experimental films available for screening during South by Southwest’s film offerings this year, I chanced into a screening of YAKONA, an important and unusual film addressing one of Texas’ most imperiled resources: Water.
On March 2, 1836, 59 delegates gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence, setting in motion a series of battles that would lead to Texas’ independence from Mexico. Cities and towns throughout Texas will celebrate the occasion on March 2 (see “Events” at texashighways.com for a lengthy list), but two caught our eyes for their unusual nature.
It may seem like the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy has been dissected in every manner imaginable. But the assassination's pending 50th anniversary on November 22 continues to reveal new perspectives of the event. Case in point: Wednesday's opening of the Ruth Paine House Museum, the suburban Irving home where Lee Harvey Oswald stayed the night before he shot Kennedy.
It can be a bummer to only get to wear a great Halloween costume for a single night. And to children, collecting a bag full of candy certainly seems like it should happen more than once a year. Luckily, there are lots of opportunities across the state to have some Halloween fun in the next couple of weeks (and, of course, on All Hallowâ€™s Eve itself).
In addition to carnivals and community trick-or-treating events, several cities add a historical spin on this spooky night. In Bonham on Oct. 26, visitors at the Sam Rayburn House Museum can visit the graves of this statesman, his family and local historical figures. The 10th annual Cemetery TourÂ in Victoria, Oct. 25-26, features re-enactors telling entertaining and informative stories showcasing the areaâ€™s rich history. And San Angeloâ€™s historic Fort Concho offers special evening tours of the site with scary tales and real stories of the 1800s Oct. 28-29.
For more ideas for Halloween fun, check out our event listings:
ABILENE: Boo at the Zoo, Oct. 19
AUSTIN: Goblins in the Garden, Oct. 27
BAYTOWN: Heritage Scaritage Festival, Oct. 26
BONHAM: Cemetery Walking Tour, Oct. 26
COLDSPRING: Scare on the Square, Oct. 26
COPPERAS COVE: Halloween Trick-or-Treat, Oct. 26
DALLAS: Creepy Crawl-o-ween at Texas Discovery Gardens, Oct. 26
DALLAS: Thrilling Halloween Adventures Concert, Oct. 27
DEL RIO: Halloween Carnival, Oct. 27
FORNEY: Forneyâ€™s Trail of Treats, Oct. 26
GRAND PRAIRIE: Haunted Hallways, Oct. 27
GRAND PRAIRIE: Monster Mash, Oct. 26
GRAPEVINE: Bewitched by the Barn, Oct. 26
GRAPEVINE: Halloween Treat Train, Oct. 27
GRAPEVINE: Hallo-wine Trail, Oct. 26
HUNTSVILLE: Scare on the Square, Oct. 26
LAKE JACKSON: Halloween Spooktacular at Sea Center Texas, Oct. 27
LUBBOCK: Heritage Halloween, Oct. 25
NACOGDOCHES: Scare on the Square, Oct. 26
PALESTINE: Palestine Fright Night, Oct. 18-19, 25-26, 31
PORT LAVACA: Monster Bash, Oct. 26
ROSENBERG: Trunk-or-Treat, Oct. 27
SAN ANGELO: Night Tours of Fort Concho, Oct. 28-29
SALADO: Tablerockâ€™s Fright Trail, Oct. 26-27
SUGAR LAND: Halloween Town, Oct. 27
SUGAR LAND: Spooktacular! At the Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land, Oct. 27
THE COLONY: Family Fright Night, Oct. 19-20
THE WOODLANDS: Trick-or-Treat Trail, Oct. 27
VICTORIA: Cemetery Tour, Oct. 25-26
VICTORIA: Haunted Zoo, Oct. 25-27
WICHITA FALLS: Not-So-Scary Halloween Nature Night, Oct. 18
WICHITA FALLS: Zombie Crawl and 5K, Oct. 26
Halloween night events
BEAUMONT: Spindletop Spookfest
BIG SPRING: Truck or Treat
BONHAM: Halloween on the Square
CHILDRESS: Downtown Trick-or-Treating
EDEN: Scare on the Square
FAIRFIELD: Boo on the Square
GRAND PRAIRIE: Street and Treat at Market Square
GRAPEVINE: All Hallowâ€™s Eve Train
JACKSONVILLE: Street Sweets
JOHNSON CITY: Trick-or-Treat with the Merchants
LA GRANGE: Trick or Treat on the Square
McKINNEY: Scare on the Square
PALESTINE: Palestine Fright Night
PEARLAND: Trick-or-Treat Trail
QUANAH: Merchants Trick-or-Treat
RICHMOND: An All Hallows Evening
SAN ANTONIO: More Delightful Than Frightful
TEMPLE: Main Street Fright Fest
THE WOODLANDS: Spooktacular Monster Mash Party
WIMBERLEY: Trick-or-Treating on the Square
As part of its 15th anniversary celebration, the Texas Forts Trail Region has launched a passport program to encourage visitors to explore various museums, historic forts, and other sites across West-Central Texas.