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Monday, May 25, 2020

Dallas, TX - FL To NM Road Trip - Stop 6 - Day 1

Dallas/Fort Worth together with Arlington make up an area that residents call DFW or the Metroplex.  I always wondered about these two cities joined together with a slash.  Were they one huge city or two completely different cities.  My conclusion about these two cities are that they are two unique cities and you can't go to one and think you have seen Dallas/Fort Worth.  

We camped at Cedar Hill State Park, a state park midway between Dallas and Fort Worth which made it very convenient for us to get to both areas.  We had a full day to check out Dallas and a full day in Fort Worth.  

Please read our full report on Cedar Hill State Park Campground in our brand new Guide To State And National Park Campgrounds coming very soon!

After parking and getting settled into our campsite, we took a ride to Walmart which was conveniently located only 10 minutes away.  When we got back to the campground we took a look at the suggestions of what to see in Dallas that we got from family and friends and, together with ideas we had, made our itinerary for our first full day here.

It was raining when we got up in the morning but it wasn't too bad.  We had umbrellas so decided that we would go the the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens as we planned.  We have an annual pass from the gardens near us in Florida that would get us in for free here so if we did get rained out we didn't pay anything anyway, so no big deal.

The rain was off and on so we were able to stroll around the beautiful gardens for awhile but decided it might be time to go when it started to thunder.

We usually pack a lunch when we have planned a busy sightseeing or hiking day, unless we have plans for lunch.  It not only saves us a lot of money, but it also saves us a lot of time.   We don't have to spend time trying to decide on a place to eat, getting to the place to eat and waiting for our lunch to be made and served to us.  We just break out the lunchbox, when we get the opportunity, at some point during the day.  This day we ate our lunch in the car while we waited to see if the rain would stop and then we'd go back into the gardens or go to our next destination, which was The Sixth Floor Museum.  We would have loved to continue enjoying the gardens but we decided the rain was not going to stop anytime soon.  We went to the museum partly to get out of the rain.

This museum was a suggestion of a young friend who visited the museum when she was in Dallas for work.  She really enjoyed it and said she learned so much more here than she did in history class.  The museum is located in the former Texas School Book Depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald took the life of one of our finest presidents.  We were just 8 years old when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated but I remember the entire elementary school being called out of our classrooms to attend an assembly where someone, I'm guessing the Principal, told us the news.  

I remember feeling sad when I heard the news.  I felt those same feelings as we toured the museum.  But learning about the life and presidency of JFK and about the conspiracy theory that lingered around for years afterward was very interesting.   We were guided around the museum by audio, with each of us wearing personal headphones, through the museum that was set up with exhibits, pictures and videos that were numbered which made it easy to follow along.

Looking out the window and down on the street where the tragedy occurred was probably the hardest part of the whole tour.  Even though the tour was emotionally draining in spots, it really was a must-see and we were so glad we had a chance to go.

We left the museum and walked a couple of blocks to see the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial.  It was a very simple, square, roofless building that architect Philip Johnson calls "a place of quiet refuge" which was exactly what it felt like.

We walked around the city for awhile and found this gorgeous building, the 1892 Old Red Courthouse turned The Old Red Museum.  By the time we got here, it was almost closing time so we didn't buy a ticket to the museum, but we were able to enjoy the interesting displays on the main floor.

There was actually a lot to see for free like this Pegasus, the emblem for Mobil Oil.  This one was built for the 1939 NYC World's Fair and wound up at a shopping center in Dallas.  The museum rescued it when the shopping center was being demolished.

I loved the gorgeous Grand Staircase, which was originally taken down in 1920 to make room for offices and has since been restored to its 1892 greatness using genuine remnants from the original staircase. 

The most fun fact I learned at this museum was that Barbie (Roberts) and Ken (Carson) had last names!

After our short, but surprisingly fun, museum visit, it was time to get back in the car and out of the city.  Our next stop was Deep Ellum, a very unique Dallas neighborhood, to see an amazing display of murals I read would be there.

We are always looking for ways to be entertained that doesn't cost anything when we are on vacation.  This was Deep Ellum.

The whole town was fun and quirky.  Many, if not all, shops, bars and restaurants had their share of murals and other art decorating their buildings and surroundings.

Deep Ellum was a lot of fun and a place we would recommend checking out to anyone visiting this area.   After our self-guided tour, it was time to hit our last stop of the day.  

My son, Joe and DIL Nicole, insisted we could not leave Texas without eating, at least once, at a family owned chain of fast food restaurants called Whataburger that made it's debut in Corpus Christi in 1950.  They are all over Texas and only in a few other southern states.  The chain was sold to a corporation in June, 2019 so be on the lookout for one possibly landing up in your neighborhood. 

We were glad that Joe and Nicole mentioned this place.  It was a really good burger for a fast food joint.  I had the Whataburger and Soko had the double Whataburger and we shared fries.   Soko saw this ad at the counter when we were placing our order.

And, yes, we started our second day in Dallas/Fort Worth, back at Whataburger for breakfast.

After breakfast, we headed off to spend the day in Fort Worth.  Look for this post coming soon!


  1. Very nice. Thanks for the tour.

  2. great trip - love the water feature in the garden

  3. I've always wondered about Dallas/Fort Worth too! That museum sounds wonderful; I love things like that that really bring history to life. What a fun little town filled with murals.

    1. I love when learning feels more like fun! And yes! Deep Ellum was great. We would love to go back one day.

  4. I had to read your post since I am a born and raised Dallasite. Yes, there may be a Dallas/Ft.Worth metroplex, but we are 2 distinct cities with suburbs in between. I'm so glad you went to the Arboretum; it is a national treasure and known worldwide as a destination. I'm sorry it was raining the day you visited. The Sixth Floor Museum is also a great place to visit. To be honest, I would never have told a tourist to visit Deep Ellum; normally,it's not an area to go to for site seeing, especially at night. Also, the only WhataBurger I know of is are the drive through kind. Dallas has fabulous restaurants; next time you are here, let me know and I'll give you a list. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Turn About.

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback! The little we saw of the Arboretum was really beautiful and we were so disappointed with the weather. I didn't realize what a must-see it was though. Deep Ellum was something I saw when I was researching things to do in Dallas. I am so glad we planned to do area during the day. I did have a feeling that it would not be somewhere I should be at night. We did enjoy the murals though. We would really love to visit Dallas again one day so I will definitely take you up on your offer of restaurant recommendations!

  5. I've lived in TX for many years, but I haven't done much exploring in the state. I'll keep the sites you presented here in mind if we ever get out and explore someday.

    1. You are lucky to live in Texas. We loved all that we saw of it and hope to get back one day to see more. Look for our post on Fort Worth coming this Monday and for our San Antonio post in our archives. Two more amazing cities in your home state!

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