Family trips are adventures your kids will always look forward to. As the parent, you want them to have fun, expand their horizons, and learn new things aside from their academic materials. As you plan for your next destination, you might want to consider nearby areas that are full of outstanding landscapes, quirky attractions, mysterious wonders, and historical towns–West Texas.
As you bring the entire family on this trip, you’ll surely be able to scout for places to drop by and explore. Whether you prefer to enjoy events in Midland, Texas, or visit a museum in El Paso, we got you. Here are things you can do in West Texas with your family:
1. See The Marfa Lights
One excellent way to spend your nights in West Texas is to catch a glimpse of the Marfa Lights. These flickering lights were discovered back in the late 19th century. For centuries, travelers, natives, and even professionals have attempted to study these mysterious beams. However, there’s still no accurate, formal explanation of where these come from.
Despite this, the locals do have their theories and stories about how these wonders came about. Speculations gravitate towards falling stars, UFOs, nightly guardians, ghostly orbs, and so much more. It would be best to talk to a local about what their family thinks about these lights. Surely, almost everyone in town will have their opinion about it. Likewise, ask them when these lights become evident.
Typically, you can go to a roadside viewing center where you and your family can wait and see the twinkling lights on the horizon. The lights range in an array of colors–yellow, orange, blue, green, and even red. It’s said to fly above the vegetation areas, making it quite intimidating for some. As you and the kids catch a glimpse, make sure to take a photo if you could. These lights may disappear swiftly before you knew it.
2. Attend A Star Party At The McDonald Observatory
If your kids haven’t gotten enough of the Marfa Lights, you can take them to the McDonald Observatory. From Marfa, you can visit and drive to the observatory. If you’re situated in Austin, follow the directions going to the west side. However, if you’re in El Paso or in Midland Odessa, you can hop on a commercial plane to get there.
One of the world’s most popular observatories, McDonald has five research telescopes of differing sizes. It includes the Hobby-Eberly, the observatory’s pride and largest optical telescope. Apart from that, the center also has various reflectors.nThe star party takes nearly two hours. Hence, make sure to dress appropriately to stay warm for the chill nighttime weather. During the entire experience, you and your family will be guided by a representative. Visitors were allowed to view through the telescopes back then. However, with COVID-19 safety protocols, check and see if the program still allows the usage of telescopes. Apart from the star party, sky viewing is encouraged through an unaided-eye tour in the Rebecca Gale Amphitheater.
On top of the Star Party and Evening Sky Viewing, there’s another guided tour that usually lasts for almost two hours. From the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center, a staff member will discuss the history of the telescopes, the research surrounding it, the purpose of the Observatory, and the rich story of the center.
Additionally, these parties and guided tours will require you to book a reservation as the program is limited only to a few people. Thus, before the road trip, purchase tickets ahead to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience with the kids.
3. Drop By Joyland Amusement Park in Lubbock
Located in Mackenzie Park, the area offers classic family rides, tasty snacks, a vibrant atmosphere, and a wide scope of options. You and your children will easily love the attractions and activities in the park. After the quick visit, you can drop by the nearby Prairie Dog Town to take a peek at the cuteness of these animals.
4. Check Out The El Paso Museum Of Art
After all the great food offered by the town, make time and visit their art museums. While the area is small compared to most museums, the center will surely not disappoint. The El Paso Museum of Art has an array of delicate pieces, exhibits, portraits, and an abundant art collection. You and the kids will surely be visually satisfied by the historical to modern masterpieces by famous artists. All of these can potentially spark your interest in the arts and curiosity for the past. Also, admissions are free. Totally a win!
With family-friendly avenues and spots tucked around the region, West Texas is a place to be. It’s easily one of the most favorite regions of the country. It may be regarded as a small town, but West Texas is able to compete among places that offer great food, blended culture, wondrous sites, and more.