Web Extra: Abilene’s Wild, High-Tech West
Whether you’re in Abilene for the Children’s Art and Literacy Festival or just up for the weekend, stop by Frontier Texas!, an interactive museum on the American West. The 14,000-square-foot building sits on 6.4 acres and highlights Abilene’s history from 1780 to 1880. Videos, talking historical characters, and holographic scenes place visitors in the middle of different scenarios like a buffalo stampede, a prairie thunderstorm, a wolf attack, a peaceful summer night, and daily life during the era.
Your “trail guide” through the museum is Buck Taylor, star of the television series Gunsmoke as well as multiple western films. Buck’s voice explains historical events and also narrates what visitors will encounter during their stay. The center features maps of the area’s topography; a to-scale tipi in the style of the Comanche and Kiowa tribes; and an ‘information station’ where you can browse a collection of ads, newspapers, and letters, including one penned by Sam Houston.
One section of Frontier Texas! also serves as Abilene’s visitors center. Another area marks the start of the Texas Forts Trail, a 700-mile loop that goes through Newcastle, Mason, San Angelo, and other cities with historic forts. The museum’s historical coverage stops just as the railroad crosses through West Texas and leaves the frontier days in the dust.
Frontier Texas! is on 625 North First Street. For more information, call 325/437-2800 or visit http://www.frontiertexas.com.
From the June 2012 issue.