I remember visiting the Dallas Zoo as a kid, and seeing the iconic giraffe statue at the front entrance. Since, I've frequently passed that enormous statue along I-35, but never made my way inside until recently. We made an impromptu stop at this wonderful zoo, and it did not disappoint!
I was elated to see penguins, koalas & kangaroos, and even a hippopotamus! The zoo has so many more animals than our local zoo in Waco. The zoo even has a tram that takes you above the animal habitats & African savannah so you can see them in a new light! I've put together a quick guide about what I love most about the Dallas Zoo & why. Hope you enjoy & will check out this beautiful zoo!
For us, it is just a quick drive up I-35 from Waco. I love that the location is right on a major interstate highway so you don't have to navigate through town.
This zoo is much larger than we are accustomed to in Waco, so the selection of animal habitats is wonderful! I loved seeing the kangaroos, hippos, and gorillas! We even had the joy of seeing a mother gorilla carrying her baby on her back. Such a neat sight to see!
Naturally, the design is very well thought out! The beauty of the plants, animal habitats, and other design elements like statues and benches are really beautiful. I particularly love the statues that fit perfectly among the walking areas for added beauty.
The Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari Monorail is a big highlight! You can ride about the African exhibits, and get a birds eye view of the animals in their habitats. Such a great and unique experience!
The zoo also offers small group and private photo safari tours. This is something that is on my bucket list! You are toured around the exhibits by the zoo's photographer to see the animals as they enjoy their breakfast and play!
There are so many great reasons to visit the Dallas Zoo. I can't wait to go back soon, and hope you will visit too!
We recently loaded up the babes, and headed out of town to one of my favorite places for an exciting adventure--Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas. Fossil Rim is a not-for-profit organization that works toward conservation of many species, some even endangered and threatened. They are apart of many international organizations that work together for species survival. It greatly saddens me that so many of the beautiful animals of the world have become or will become endangered, or even extinct, in my lifetime. Places like this help bring awareness, love for animals, and efforts to better the world for these animals all while providing a unique family bonding experience. At Fossil Rim is the Gosdin Scenic Drive—a drive through safari.
Fossil Rim was a treat to visit as a young adult, then my parents purchased a membership for taking my nephews often. It has been awhile since then, but we decided to do the same. It is an easy and beautiful drive from Waco, and worth the time to see our babies experience the animals. Even at their age, they were aware, excited, and loved feeding the giraffes by hand.
A real treat was to see a baby giraffe and baby rhino! On my bucket list for our family is to stay in one of their cabins and enjoy a guided safari tour aboard one of their open air safari trucks. For now, that's as close as I can get to an African safari!
Have you been to Fossil Rim? If not, you should definitely add it to your list for a family day or even day date with your someone special.
We recently hit the road for a quick trip to Tyler, Texas to spend the day with family. We found ourselves at the famed Caldwell Zoo. We frequented here often when visiting family when I was a kid as it used to offer free admission! Gone are those days, but it was still wonderful to bring my babies to one of my favorite zoos. The Caldwell Zoo offers a beautiful African Savannah habitat, currently a baby giraffe named Lulu, penguins, and so much more.
We enjoyed a leisurely day at the zoo, exploring the habitats, stopping for a refreshing snack, and even feeding the birds! Though the animals and habitats are endless, I love their Wild Bird Walkabout. You can purchase a stick of birdseed, and feed the beautiful birds yourself! If you're patient enough, one will plop down on your popsicle stick of seed, and dine just inches from your face.
If you find yourself in Tyler, I definitely recommend carving out a few hours to visit Caldwell Zoo. After all, those birds are hungry waiting for you!
Hey friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week. I am adjusting to time as a "work at home mom" albeit still pinching myself! I have so many wonderful things planned for our family, included me marking off tons on the to do list, home cooked dinners, and outings in park when the weather cools down.
In a couple of weeks, a few family members are coming to town, and we are going to show them around all the fun spots in Waco. So what better time for me to share my Girlfriends Getaway Guide to Waco. Though it is not all inclusive, I have pulled together a list of my favorite food, shopping, and must see spots in Waco to help you plan your own time here.
What to do.
I may not have always seen this as the case, but there are so many things to do in Waco. We have museums, endless nature, historical spots, and so much more.
Start the day early, and spend the morning at Magnolia at the Silos. The trick is to arrive early before the major crowds set in. Closer to noon, you'll have a hard time walking inside the shop!
Looking for adventure or a spot to send the husbands while you shop? Head down to Pura Vida Paddle under Buzzard Billy's Restaurant to paddle board the Brazos River. Head up to the restaurant's new bar when your done to cool off with a drink.
If you're up for more exploring the great outdoors, hike the trails at Cameron Park. There are miles and miles of walking and bike trails in the park. You'll go through woods, tunnels, across wooden bridges, walk along cliffs or atop them, and enjoy views of the Brazos & Bosque (pronounced Boss-Kee) Rivers.
After a long day of exploring, head downtown, and catch a flick at the Waco Hippodrome. The once live theatre has been restored to feature popular new releases, occasional concerts, and restaurants.
Sometimes, we have to take the kids along wherever we go. If so, escape the heat of the summer, and take the kids to Hawaiian Falls water park or escape the cool of the winter and head to the Mayborn Museum at Baylor University.
What to eat.
There are so many yummy restaurants in Waco. I've shared many of my favorites on a post dedicated just to Waco Restaurants. But here are a few of my favorites for your getaway to Waco.
I recently dined at Magnolia Table for the first time. I was a big fan of the cozy, modern design, and a huge fan of the Bacon and Eggs and their fluffy pancakes! The Bacon and Eggs are an delicacy on the appetizer list, and are a delicious pairing of candied bacon and deviled eggs. A must have on the menu!
One of my very favorite restaurants in town is Heitmiller's Steakhouse, a family owned restaurant that has been around for as long as I can remember. Their fresh from the oven rolls & cinnamon butter are such a treat, and their rib-eye steak cannot be beat!
Just next door to Spice Village (more on that in a minute) and just a block or two from Magnolia Silos is Ninfa's Mexican Restaurant. The Crawfish Enchiladas at Ninfa's are to die for! Not to mention, they serve Big Red, and, here in Texas, Big Red with any Tex-Mex meal is essential!
Baris is authentic Italian food with Mamma Baris still running the place. One of my favorite meals in town is the Chicken Cardinal at Baris Italian Restaurant. The Cardinal is topped with their pink sauce, and is to die for!
After all of that, if you're still up for dessert head over to the Baylor area for homemade ice cream in a homemade cinnamon sugar cone at Heritage Creamery. This cozy little spot right next door to the now famous Common Grounds is perfect for a treat. Create your own cone or ice cream cookie sandwich, and enjoy a sweet spot in the corner to chat.
What to see.
Along with things to do and places to eat, there are a few great spots that are available to everyone to admire and enjoy.
Famous in town is the Waco Suspension Bridge which opened in 1870. A designer in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge had a part in the building of this also famous bridge. The area was also apart of the historic Chisholm Trail.
Lover's Leap in Cameron Park is also a great spot to take in the vast area around Waco. It is a stunning bluff alongside the Brazos River, and is the perfect place to sit back, relax, and enjoy nature.
The ALICO Building downtown was once one of the tallest buildings west of the Mississippi River. Now, it is an iconic place to see in Waco. Home to offices for over 100 years now, it is a building that stands tall making it known you've arrived in Waco.
Lake Waco is a beautiful area to see in Waco, much of the city built right on it. Find a spot to sit at one of the lakeside parks or walk across the dam at the Lake Waco Dam Trail. I'd advise to take the trail in the cooler months, as there's no shade, but it is a beautiful walk!
The Doris Miller Memorial on the Brazos River is coming along, and set to be fully finished on this year's Pearl Harbor Day. Currently in construction, the memorial, including a statue of Doris Miller already standing, will be along the banks of the Brazos River off of Elm Street in Waco. Dorie Miller, a Wacoan, became famous during World War II, taking down several Japanese planes the day they struck Pearl Harbor. It's on honor to the city to hold his memorial!
What to buy.
Waco is home to so many wonderful shops and several malls. From boutiques to antiques to department stores, we have a little bit of everything. Here are a few of my favorites.
This one is a little off from typical items I'd say to buy, but you can't leave Waco without having a Dr. Pepper from the city the created it! Pop over to the Dr. Pepper Museum, learn some DP history, and enjoy one from the soda shop.
A favorite spot since childhood, the Craft Gallery is the perfect place to take home a locally made craft. From woodwork to outdoor decor to outfits, plus market and boutique items, it is a great spot to shop for an eclectic find.
One of our favorite places to hit on Saturday morning is the local Waco Downtown Farmer's Market. Florals, honey, local meats and produce are staples, but you can also enjoy a sweet treat or handmade craft find.
Now in the more mainstream Central Texas Marketplace, Courtney's Boutique is a great spot to find a cute outfit for a night out. Boutique clothing, jewelry, and shoes can be found here. You'll also fall in love with their beautiful doors!
One of my very favorite place to shop in Waco is Spice Village. Spice is home to many, many shops in one, and boasts a bit of everything here. I'll bet even the husbands will find some interesting find here. From boutique clothing for mom & the kids, to unique home decor, to antiques, Spice Village has it all. I also love their iconic stairs and that they decorate the upstairs landing for every season!
There is so much to see and do in Waco, and it is hard to see it all in just one visit. Hopefully, this will help you plan a girlfriends getaway to Waco!
Mornings and early breakfasts are just not my thing. I'm not an early riser at all. Now with the babies, I have to be, but I seem to always get them back to sleep for a couple of more hours so I can get in all the rest I need. So I am so grateful for friends who brunch! Awhile back the babies & I trekked out to try Magnolia Table for the first time. It was an old co-workers birthday, so it was a great opportunity to try the new place.
Though the wait was crazy, like I said not an early riser, it was nice! I loved the design, sleek, yet cozy touches, and the atmosphere. I'm still not 100% in love with the name. I wish it would have been called The Magnolia Elite, a nod to it's original name, The Elite Cafe, but what is done is done. Like I mentioned, for this visit the babies joined me. To get a table faster, and by fast I mean a 1-1/2 hour wait, we had to leave their carriers in the car. With one baby, or if my husband was along for the ride, this wouldn't have been a problem, but with them not being able to sit up on their own yet, high chairs weren't an option. So I had to rely on friends to help out, and taking turns holding them. It worked, but wasn't ideal. For my meal, I tried the eggs Benedict, and they were okay. But I tried a few of my friends' meals and they were delish! So much so, I decided to give it another try.
On my last day of work, at 6 in the morning (remember this is a BIG deal--not an early riser), I went with my coworkers for a final outing before staying home full time. This time, no wait, and I was delighted with my meal! I enjoyed the Eggs & Bacon, a delicious appetizer of deviled eggs and candied bacon--trust me, just order it, and a pancake. Their pancakes are wonderful, as is the French toast!
All in all, I enjoyed my visits to Magnolia Table. If I return, from here on out it will go on a weekday in the early morning. That's my advice if you want to skip the wait! I also HIGHLY recommend the eggs and bacon; you can't get that candied bacon with any other dish on the menu!