Texas Road Trip

By: Chandana Kantareddy

In this road trip I spent 8 days in 8 cities from the four regions in one of the most interesting states: Texas.

The Gulf Coastal Plains Region

Day 1: Houston

The Houston Museum of Natural Science

My day in Houston started early in the morning and ended in the evening. The climate in Houston is classified as humid subtropical. August normally is the warmest month at 84.6 °F and January is the coldest month at 53.1 °F. The annual precipitation of Houston is 49.77 inches. The occasional severe weather in Houston is mostly flooding. On my trip to Houston the first stop was The Houston Museum of Natural Science. This museum was built in 1909 by the Houston Museum and Scientific Society. Over two million people visit this museum every year. While we were there we went through four floors of natural science halls, and exhibits. This site is important because it is a very popular and it has large number of special or guest exhibits. This place in Houston makes the region unique because this is one of the most popular in the United States and ranks just below New York City's American Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco in most attendance. From being at this site I learned about the Cockrell Sundial which is that the Cockrell Sundial opened in 1989 and is one of the world's largest sundials. It has lenses on a special chrome ball on top of the part of it called the gnomon so that at solar noon on equinoxes and solstices sunlight shines through and projects an image of the Sun. My favorite part of going to this site was visiting the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, and the Morian Hall of Paleontology. I like those places because in one I got to see over 60 skeletons of dinosaurs including three Tyrannosaurus Rex and the most complete Triceratops skeleton ever discovered. Also in other exhibit I got to see lots of interesting gems and minerals.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

My second stop that day in Houston was in a natural site called The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is 155 acres big and is a non-profit arboretum and nature center located in Memorial Park. The arboretum was first discovered by Robert A. Vines and in 1951 the park land was set aside by the City Council for the Houston Botanical Society. Today the arboretum is smaller than its initial site. The children's botanical hall was funded in 1966 and nature center begun in 1967. The organization was renamed in the 1980s and donations in the 1990s helped fund for major renovations and expansions. Today the arboretum contains over five miles of nature trails with forest, pond, wetland, and meadow habitats. Specialty gardens in it include a Hummingbird & Butterfly Island, Sensory Garden, and Wildlife Garden. This site is important because it gives kids an opportunity to learn about nature and experience the wonderful feeling of walking through it for free. This site makes this region unique because it is very big, contains lots of nature, and provides an area where people can go and experience the wonderful nature for people of all ages so its a unique place. Also I learned that this site It plays a huge role in protecting native plants and animals in the heart of the city where development of the city threatens their survival which is also unique because not every arboretum and nature center does that. My favorite part of visiting this site was that I got to see lots of butterflies and hummingbirds which I like and think are very interesting and I thought that it was cool that they had there own island.

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Rothko Chapel

My third stop on that day in Houston, Texas was in a cultural site called the Rothko Chapel. The Rothko Chapel is a chapel in Houston, Texas founded by John and Dominique de Menil. The interior of the chapel is not only used as a chapel but is also a major work of modern art. On its walls are fourteen black but color hued paintings by Mark Rothko. The shape of the building, an octagon inscribed in a Greek cross, and the design of the chapel was largely influenced by the artist. The Rothko Chapel became the world's first broadly ecumenical center which is a holy place open to all religions and belonging to none. It also became a center for international cultural, religious and philosophical exchanges, and performances. It also became a place of private prayer for individuals of all faiths. On September 16, 2000, the Rothko Chapel was added to the National Register of Historic Places. This site is important because it is a cultural place and also is a work of art. This site makes this region unique because it was the first holy place open to all religions and belonging to none in the world. I learned that fourteen of Rothko's paintings are displayed in the chapel. Three walls display triptychs while the other five walls display single paintings. Beginning in 1964 Mark Rothko began painting a series of black paintings that included other dark hues and texture effects. I also learned that most people had questions about where the paintings were when there were looking at the massive black canvases in the chapel. My favorite part about visiting the Rothko Chapel was seeing its interesting architecture and the modern art on the walls of the chapel.

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The Gulf Coastal Plains Region

Day 2: Galveston

Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum

My first stop in Galveston was in the early morning and was at the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. The climate in Galveston is classified as humid subtropical. Prevailing winds from the south and southeast bring both heat from the deserts of Mexico and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Summer temperatures regularly go over 90 °F and the area's humidity makes the heat index even higher, but night time low temperatures average around 80 °F. Winters in Galveston are temperate with typical January high temperatures above 60 °F and low temperatures near 50 °F. Snowfall is generally rare. Annual rainfall averages well over 40 inches a year and some areas typically receive over 50 inches. Hurricanes are a threat during the summer and fall season. The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, is a museum based on the offshore oil and gas industry. The museum is on top of a retired rig set up in the Galveston harbor. The Ocean Star was built in 1969 in Beaumont, Texas by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation for the Ocean Drilling and Exploration Company. The rig worked in the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast drilling about 200 wells during its active life. The museum is sponsored by the Offshore Energy Center and is a non-profit organization funded by private and corporate donations, and admissions. The Offshore Energy Center took over the Ocean Star and spent 2 years making it into a museum. The museum opened to the public on April 27, 1997. This site is important because it lets people see a real drilling rig and teaches them about it with the museum. This site makes this region unique because it is one of the only museums on top of a retired rig in the middle of the ocean which is pretty cool. From being at this site I learned that there were many people who and technology that took this industry to the sea. My favorite part about visiting this site was walking through the Hall of Fame where it recognizes people who took the industry to sea like George H. W. Bush, J. Ray McDermott, and many more.
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Bishop's Palace

My second stop that day in Houston was a place called The Bishop's Palace. The Bishop's Palace is also known as Gresham's Castle. It is an ornate Victorian-style house in Galveston, Texas. The Bishop's Palace has been put on the list of 100 most significant buildings in the U.S. by the American Institute of Architects and has been classified as one of the fourteen most representative structures in the nation by the Library of Congress. The Bishop's palace was built entirely of stone and was strong enough to hold up against the great hurricane of 1900. After the hurricane was over the Gresham's invited survivors of the hurricane into their palace. The house was built between 1887 and 1893 by Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton for lawyer and politician Walter Gresham. In 1923 the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston purchased the house which is across the street from the Sacred Heart Church and it was used as the home for Bishop Christopher E. Byrne. After the diocesan offices were moved to Houston the diocese opened the mansion to the public in 1963 The home is estimated to have cost $250,000 at the time today its value is estimated at over $5.5 million. This site is important because it is very popular and has been named one of the most significant buildings in the United States and one of the most representative structures in the nation. This site makes this region unique because it is rated very highly by the Library of Congress and the American Institute of Architects giving the region a good name for architecture. I learned a lot about the history of the Bishop's Palace from being there like it was strong enough to withstand a hurricane and that the family who owned the place were nice enough to invite all the survivors there. My favorite part about visiting the Bishop's Palace was seeing all the beautiful architecture on the outside and inside.
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Seawolf Park

My third stop on my day in Galveston was at Seawolf Park. Seawolf Park is a memorial to USS Seawolf, a United States Navy Sargo class submarine that was mistakenly sunk by U.S. Navy forces in 1944 during World War II. It is located in Galveston, Texas in the United States. Seawolf park is unique place that has a submarine, and the remains of a merchant ship, a Destroyer escort designed to conduct antisubmarine warfare, the hunter, hunted, and the protector all in one museum area. It is the home of two preserved U.S. Navy ships, the Gato-class submarine and the Edsall-class destroyer escort USS Stewart , and the remains of the World War I tanker S.S. Selma that is the largest concrete ship constructed . Also at the park is the conning tower of the Balao-class submarine USS Carp and the sail of the Sturgeon-class nuclear attack submarine USS Tautog . At one point in time the park also had a LVTP 5 armored personnel carrier on display. This site is important because it is a memorial for a U.S. submarine that was accidentally sunk in 1944 during World War II and it helps us remember an important event from the past. This site makes this region unique because it is a memorial for something that happened in World War II and of all the places that they could have put it they chose Galveston which makes its region unique. I learned about all the different types of ships that there were and what they were used for I also learned that this museum has a lot to do with the past and teaches you a lot about it. My favorite part about visiting this site was seeing all the submarines and ships they had whether it had all the parts or was just remains of the ship or submarine.

The North Central Plains

Day 3: Fort Worth

Amon Carter Museum of American Art

My first day in Fort Worth started early in the morning at a place called The Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Fort Worth has a humid subtropical climate. The hottest month of the year is July when the average high temperature is 95 °F, and overnight low temperatures average 72 °F giving Fort Worth an average temperature of 84 °F. The coldest month of the year is January when the average high temperature is 55 °F, and low temperatures average 31 °F. Fort Worth is very susceptible to supercell thunderstorms which produce large hail and can produce tornados. The average annual precipitation for Fort Worth is 34.01 in. The wettest month of the year is May, when an average of 4.58 in of precipitation falls. The driest month of the year is January, when only 1.70 in of precipitation falls. The average annual snowfall in Fort Worth is 2.6 in. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art is located in Fort Worth, Texas. It was established by Amon G. Carter to display his collection of paintings and sculpture by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. Carters daughter, Ruth Carter Stevenson, opened the museum to the public in January 1961 after Carter’s death in honor of his will which stated that he wanted to dedicate the museum to the American art. After the museum was opened Mitchell A. Wilder was appointed as its first director. Wilder expanded the museums collection to include masterpieces of the first landscape painters of the 1830s to modern artists of the twentieth century, because he believed that the grand story of American art could be interpreted as the history of many artists at different times working on “successive frontiers” in the great pageant of American history. Today, the collection includes masterworks by many great artists and also possesses one of the premier collections of American photography in the nation, comprising more than 30,000 exhibition prints by 400 different photographers. The museum continues to collect American art and produce related programs, publications, and exhibitions. Museums building was expanded in 2001 and Philip Johnson, the museum’s original architect, designed and completed the building’s expansion,he used Texas shell stone to decorate the museum's exterior. This site is important because it is a museum dedicated to American art and the pieces of artwork in it could be used to find out a little about the artists who worked on them. This site makes this region unique because it is a museum that compares work from along time ago to work now it is also a museum based on the belief that the story of American art can be told as the history of artists that were working on it that time which you don't find in many places. I learned that this museum has one of the most premier collections of American photography in the nation and has over 30,000 printed ones by 400 different photographers. My favorite part about visiting this site was that I got to see lots of different artwork and compare the techniques used in the older ones to the newer ones because I really like art.

St. Patrick Cathedral

My second stop in Fort Worth was at a place called the St. Patrick Cathedral. The St. Patrick Cathedral is the cathedral of the Catholic Church located in Fort Worth, Texas, United States. It a parish of the Diocese of Fort Worth and the seat of its bishop. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Starting in 1870 Father Vincent Perrier would visit the Catholics living in Fort Worth twice a year. All the Catholics used to meet in the Carrico family home as there was no catholic church at that time. Fort Worth’s first Catholic parish was St. Stanislaus. Its church building was a frame structure on Throckmorton Street. In 1879 Father Thomas Loughrey, who by that time had been assigned as the pastor of St. Stanislaus, started a school for boys and classes were held in the church until 1907.After that the building was demolished and to its north new church was built which is the present St. Patrick's church .The cornerstone was laid in 1888 and the church was dedicated to public in 1892. Architect James J. Kane designed it in the Gothic Revival style. St. Patrick's was elevated to a co-cathedral in 1953 when Pope Pius XII changed the name of the Diocese of Dallas to the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth. Pope Paul VI divided the diocese and created the Diocese of Fort Worth on August 22, 1969. St. Patrick's was retained as the cathedral for the new diocese. This site is important because the Catholics tried really hard to get this church there because there wasn't one there before this one so it shows their hard work. This site makes this region unique because it makes this region a place where people worked hard to get a church to support their beliefs which makes it a good region because now there is both a religious and beautiful place. I learned a lot about what the Catholics did before they didn't have this cathedral and what happened after they finally got it. My favorite part about visiting this site was seeing the beautiful architecture and how it was designed inside.

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Fort Worth Botanic Gardens

My third stop in Fort Worth was at a place called the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is 109 acres and is a botanical garden located at 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas. The garden was established in 1934 and is the oldest botanic garden in Texas, with 2,501 species of native and exotic plants in its 21 specialty gardens. It is open daily for the public. An admission fee is charged for the Conservatory which is of 10,000 square feet with tropical displays of orchids, bromeliads, trees and the Japanese garden which was established in 1970 with three koi ponds, waterfall, bridges, tea house, pagoda, pavilions, meditation garden. There a lot of gardens there including the following. Four Seasons Garden which has Hundreds of iris, daylily, and chrysanthemum varieties. Fragrance Garden which has fragrant plants and fountain. Fuller Garden which has pathways and lawn; site for weddings and garden parties.The two rose gardens Lower Rose Garden and Oval Rose Garden have hundreds of different varieties of roses.Perennial Garden which has the perennials with culinary herb collection, as well as ponds and small waterfall. Trial Garden which is the evaluation site for hundreds of species of perennials. Water Conservation Garden which is built for the demonstration xeriscape garden. Water Wise Entrance which is an entry garden with agave, Texas sage, salvia greggii, Mexican Bush sage, red yucca and Esparanza. This site is important because it lets you explore nature and different types of gardens including lots of things like flowers. This site makes this region unique because it is one of the places where you can see many types of gardens and other features. I learned a lot about what the plants were and what the flowers were and where they grow and lots more. My favorite part about visiting this site was seeing all the pretty plants and flowers.

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The North Central Plains

Day 4: Glen Rose

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

My first stop early in the day in Glen Rose was at a place called Fossil Rim. The climate in this area is hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system Glen Rose has a humid subtropical climate. The annual high temperature is 78.7°F, the annual low temperature is 50.2°F, and the average temperature is 64.45°F. The average annual precipitation for Glen Rose, Texas is 34.8 inches. In the early 1970s a businessman from fort worth named Tom Mantzel had wanted to make money in oil and had a passion for exotic animals. In 1973, he purchased the Waterfall Ranch an exotic game ranch. He renamed the place Fossil Rim Wildlife Ranch and was happy about adding to the exotic stock that he had found there. What begun as a weekend retreat for Tom soon became a full-time obsession. Growing concern over loss of wild habitat and species extinction encouraged Tom to experiment in captive breeding at Fossil Rim. While having fun and seeing new sights, people also were learning about animals, their habitats and the need to save endangered species. Fossil Rim had developed a personality, a life of its own - people were becoming aware of the facility and its mission. And though initially Tom hadn’t planned for his ranch to become a public attraction but he liked the interaction he saw between visitors and the animals. After a difficult transition that took them from partnership to outright ownership, the ranch became Fossil Rim Wildlife Center on May 7, 1987. Fossil Rim is the first facility of its kind to have been recognized by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center participates in a worldwide network of wildlife conservation organizations working to restore the delicate balance between people animals and the environment. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center represents over 1000 animals and 50 species of native and non-native animals living peacefully at the 1,700-acre center. This site is important because it allows people off all ages to go through nature and see wonderful animals up close. This site makes this region unique because you get to drive through the nature center and you get to be right in the middle of amazing animals like giraffes and zebras which is not something you can do every where. I learned alot from being at this site like what animals eat and I got to observe how they behave among other animals. My favorite part about visiting this site was seeing all the animals up close they were like a foot away from you.

Creation Evidence Museum

My second stop that day in Glen Rose was at a place called the Creation Evidence Museum. The Creation Evidence Museum originally Creation Evidences Museum is a creationist museum in Glen Rose, Texas. Founded in 1984 by Carl Baugh for the purpose of researching and displaying exhibits that support creationism it shows the Earth as six thousand years old and humans existing with dinosaurs. It also supports the scientific explanation that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old and dinosaurs became extinct 65.5 million years before human beings. All of the creationist exhibits have been strongly criticized as incorrectly identified dinosaur prints, other fossils, or outright forgeries. Carl Baugh was a young earth creationist and after he came to Glen Rose in 1982 to research claims of fossilized human footprints alongside dinosaur footprints in the limestone banks of the Paluxy River. He claimed to have excavated 475 dinosaur footprints and 86 human footprint that are the main focus of the museum along with other exhibits. The Creation Evidence Museum sponsors continuing paleontological and archaeological excavations and other research projects including a hunt for living pterodactyls in Papua New Guinea, and expeditions to Israel. Displays in the Creation Evidence Museum include: The London Artifact, The Burdick Track, The Fossilized Human Finger, The Hand Print in Stone, and The Alvis Delk Cretaceous Footprint. This site is important because it shows evidence of the earth being 4.5 billion years old and humans existing with dinosaurs. This site makes this region unique because I haven't seen any other museum like this where it is based off of dinosaurs and humans at the same time which I think is interesting. From being at this site I learned a lot about the past on Earth when there were dinosaurs. My favorite part about visiting this site was seeing all the 475 dinosaur footprints.

The Promise in Glen Rose

My third stop that day in Glen Rose was a play called The Promise. The Promise is a one-of-a-kind musical production held every fall at The Texas Amphitheater in Glen Rose, Texas. It combines a 200-person cast, live animals, and breath taking technology telling the story of the life of Jesus Christ in modern and family friendly fashion. People call it a life changing experience, an outstanding performance, and very inspirational. With its start in 1989, The Promise is the largest permanent outdoor amphitheater in the state seating over 3200 people. The Promise is the only outdoor production with a moat which is a 45,000-gallon waterway running the length of the structure and separating the stage from the seating area. The Texas Amphitheater stage has 40 ft. walls and arches that tower above a 4,000 sq. ft. It is also the only outdoor theater in the nation with a rain curtain. The Promise begins on the banks of the Paluxy River in the historic city of Glen Rose, Texas. In the opening scene a grandfather and his grandchildren Billy and Lisa explore the woods and riverbed in search of dinosaur tracks that have made Somervell County a popular destination for visitors. As the sun sets they stumble across an old campsite that reminds the Grandpa of a story his own grandfather used to tell him in the same spot the one about the Promise sent by God. As Grandpa begins to sing about the Promised One the three find themselves among the Old Testament prophets who told them about the coming of Jesus. Immediately Grandpa, Billy, and Lisa are swept up in the events of Jesus birth baptism, temptation, and ministry. The Promise brings a modern touch to the most amazing story ever told. Audiences experience a smiling, approachable Jesus who reaches out to people and changes lives. With its sweeping musical score, live animals, and a cast and crew of more than 150 dedicated Christian artists, The Promise is truly the experience of a lifetime. This site is important because it teaches people about the life of Jesus Christ through a wonderful play. This site makes this region unique because it is one of the most one of a kind plays that I think is only in Glen Rose, Texas and you won't be able to find it anywhere else. I learned a lot about the events in Jesus' life from being at this site. My favorite part about going to this site was seeing the play and all the characters that brought it to life.

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The Great Plains Region

Day 5: Amarillo

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

My first stop early in the morning in Amarillo was at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens. Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle's climate is semi-arid. There are blizzards during the winter season and its hot with low humidity during the summer. The normal annual precipitation is 20.4 inches and most of it occurs in the late spring and summer months. Sunny weather is there year-round with nearly 3300 hours of bright sunshine annually. The Texas Panhandle is in the western portion of Tornado Alley. Amarillo is also recorded as the windiest city in the U.S. by the Weather Channel. My first stop early in the morning in Amarillo was at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens. The Amarillo Botanical Gardens have gardens, indoor exhibits, and a library for visitation throughout the year. In 1929 a group of hardworking women banded together to create the first garden club of Amarillo. They set out to prove gardening was possible in the challenging high plains of Texas. The environment and soil of the local area tested their knowledge as they planted plants which could survive drought, windy conditions, and extensive sun. Soil amending was important to loosen heavy soils. After many successful years they tackled numerous city beautification projects.In 1968 after years of fundraising the new Garden Center was dedicated on November 17th at the current location in the Medical Center Park. The garden clubs and other volunteers tackled amending and preparing the soil for landscaping. They made thousands of cuttings to fill the gardens, started seeds, and also brought plants from their homes to fill the new sizable Garden Center spaces. Jane Meyers guided the clubs and volunteers giving vision to the gardens as Director from 1979 to 1992. Jackie Wilson, as Executive Director from 1992-2007, guided the transition from Garden Center into the Amarillo Botanical Gardens. This site is important because it is a place where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. This site makes this region unique because it proves that even though the soil wasn't that great for gardening and also the high plains making it difficult didn't stop anyone from making botanical gardens here which is not the same case every where. I learned about what plants are and what they need to grow I also learned a lot about plants that I didn't even know existed. My favorite part about visiting this site was seeing all the pretty gardens, flowers, and plants.

Harrington House

My second stop in Amarillo, Texas was at a place called the Harrington House. Don Harrington and Sybil Buckingham were married in 1935, and when the Landergin house became available in 1940, they purchased it. Redecorating and refurbishing began in the early 1940’s but no structural changes were made to the house since it was completed in 1914. After the war years, the Harringtons traveled extensively, bringing decorative and fine arts back to Amarillo. In 1977 Harrington House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Mrs. Harrington had admired the house since early childhood, and having lived there for many years she determined that its unique beauty should never be destroyed but enjoyed by the public for years to come. In order to realize this dream she gave up the house together with the grounds, furnishings, decorative arts, and fine arts to be open for tours as a historic home.This fine Neoclassical mansion has over 15,000 square feet of floor space, 20 rooms, 8 bathrooms, and 7 fireplaces on 4 levels. The House is a reflection of the Harringtons’ lifestyle, their love of the decorative and fine arts, and their appreciation for the original structure and grounds. This site is important because it shows wonderful architecture and is full of decorations that tell a lot about the family who lived there. This site makes this region unique because even though there is more than one place called the Harrington House they all have different things that make them all special and unique in their own ways. I learned a lot about the history of this house and also about the people who lived here by visiting this site. My favorite part about visiting this site was walking through the museum and seeing how the Harrison's had decorated their home.

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Texas Air and Space Museum

My third stop that day in Amarillo was at the Texas Air and Space Museum. The Texas Air & Space Museum is an aviation museum located at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in Amarillo, Texas. The museum displays civilian and military aircraft as well as a wide range of air and space artifacts. In 1989, a group of aviation enthusiasts in Amarillo, Texas formed an air and space museum at a private place called the Tradewind Airport in southeast Amarillo. In 1997 the museum was moved from Tradewind Airport to the Amarillo International Airport and into old buildings that for most of the years from 1929 through 1972 were used as Amarillo's commercial air terminal. When the ongoing maintenance costs of the old terminal building and hangars became too great for the museum and city to keep up with, English Field Air & Space Museum sold 13 of its 14 aircraft to other museums moved its artifacts into storage and in 2007 closed. In February 2010, the museum changed its name to Texas Air & Space Museum took over an indoor and outdoor exhibit space at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport and reopened. On opening day February 15, 2011, Texas Air & Space Museum had a significant number of indoor air and space historical displays and three air crafts. As news of the museum's existence spread hundreds of visitors from the local area came to the museum. This site is important because it displays lot of old airplanes and you can compare how they are different from year to year. This site makes this region unique because it one of not many places that displays airplanes for everyone to see. I learned about what materials were used to make the airplanes and I also learned about the differences about the airplanes. My favorite part was seeing all of the airplanes and how the very first one looked and then seeing what the more recent ones looked like.

The Great Plains

Day 6: Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

My first stop on my day in Canyon, Texas was at a place called Palo Doro State Park. The climate of Canyon, Texas is average. The average high temperature is 73.1°F. The average low temperature for Canyon, Texas is 44.6°F. The yearly average rainfall is 19.92 inches. Also the yearly snow fall is about 10.8 inches. Palo Duro Canyon is a canyon system in the Caprock Escarpment located in the Texas Panhandle near the cities Canyon and Amarillo in Texas. It is the second largest canyon in the United States and is roughly 60 miles long and has an average width of 6 miles but it reaches a width of 20 miles at places. Its depth is around 820 ft but in some places it can increase to up to 997 ft. It has been named "The Grand Canyon of Texas" for its size and for its geological features including the multicolored layers of rock and steep mesa walls similar to those in the Grand Canyon. The canyon was formed by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River which initially winds along the level surface of the Llano Estacado of West Texas then it suddenly runs off the Caprock Escarpment. Water erosion over the years has shaped the canyon's geological formations. Some canyon formations include caves and hoodoos. One of the best known and the major signature feature of the canyon is the Lighthouse Peak it is a six-mile round trip loop trail and is dedicated to the formation. This site is an important place because it is a wonderful natural formation and it is interesting to see and explore on your own. This site makes this region unique because it is very similar to the Grand Canyon of Arizona and reminds people of it in this region even if they haven't gone there and it is one of the few canyons in the state. I learned that the canyon was made by the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River and that the different layers of rock make the different colors in the canyon. My favorite part about visiting this site was walking through the state park exploring everything on my own without anyone taking us on a tour.

Panhandle Plains Historical Museum

My second stop of the day on my wonderful road trip to Canyon, Texas was at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. Panhandle Plains Historical Museum is a history museum on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. The museum's content is owned by the Panhandle Plains Historical Society while West Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M University Board of Regents maintain and provide the facilities for the museum. Panhandle Plains Historical Museum is thought of as the largest history museum in the state of Texas with 70,000 visitors visiting it per year and more than three million artifacts. The museum's permanent exhibits include ones about American Western life, agriculture history artifacts, art, paleontology, geology, Native American art and artifacts, firearms, antique vehicles, decorative arts, furniture, artifacts from the petroleum industry, sports artifacts, and textiles. The museum also features an outdoor Pioneer Town that includes a livery, saloon, schoolhouse, pioneer cabin and other buildings. The Panhandle Plains Historical Society was founded in 1921 by faculty and students of West Texas State Teachers College and area supporters to represent the history of pioneer life and natural history in the West Texas region. The museum opened its permanent and present location on April 14, 1933. This site is important because its a museum based on the history of the Panhandle of Texas and isn't talking about anything else. This site makes this region unique because it is one of the largest museums in the state of Texas with more than three million artifacts. I learned a lot about the Texas Panhandle like how people lived back then and what kind of artifacts they made. My favorite part about visiting this site was seeing the dinosaur skeletons because I thought that they were very interesting and you could kind of picture what the real dinosaur had looked like.

Texas Outdoor Musical

My final stop of the day in Canyon, Texas was at a stage musical called Texas. Texas is a stage musical produced yearly by the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation at the outdoor Pioneer Amphitheater in Palo Duro Canyon in Canyon, Texas. This show is family friendly and is set in an authentic tapestry of history and the shows fictional characters that bring stories to life. It also shows struggles and triumphs of the settlers of the Texas Panhandle in the 1800s. This experience is wonderful. This musical drama is based on events in Texas history. The stories main character is Calvin Armstrong a young homesteader from the East who wants to survive as a farmer in the Texas Panhandle. Uncle Henry is a wealthy rancher who is buying land and fencing it off for his cattle in order to be able to drive the cattle back east. Elsie McClain is Uncle Henry's niece and is Calvin's love interest. Tucker Yelldall is a gold prospector in the Texas Panhandle in search of wealth. The story begins with the rider on the rim a cowboy with the Texas flag in hand is riding across the rim at full speed 5 feet from the edge of the 800 foot cliffside. The show has a great start to it with dancing and singing of old Texas favorites. Uncle Henry introduces the characters and provides a brief historical backdrop to the story. This site is important because it shows what the struggles and triumphs of the settlers in the Texas Panhandle in the 1800s were. This site makes this region unique because it is a stage musical about the region and there aren't many musicals about the history of the region they are in. I learned a lot about the struggles and the triumphs of the settlers in the Texas Panhandle like how they farmed and lots of other things. My favorite part of visiting this site was seeing how they made history fun and entertaining by putting it in the form of a musical.

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The Mountains and Basins Region

Day 7: El Paso

National Border Patrol Museum

My first stop in El Paso was at a place called the National Border Patrol Museum.

El Paso has a hot desert climate with hot summers usually with little humidity, and mild, dry winters. Rainfall averages 9.7 in per year and much of it occurs during the summer from July through September and is caused by the North American Monsoon. The sun shines 302 days per year on average in El Paso 83% of daylight hours because of this the city is nicknamed "The Sun City”. Due to its arid and windy climate El Paso often experiences sand and dust storms during the dry season particularly during the springtime between March and early May. With an average wind speed often exceeding 30 mph and gusts that have been measured at over 75 mph these wind storms can kick up large amounts of sand and dust from the desert causing loss of visibility. The National Border Patrol Museum is located El Paso, Texas. The museum was established by a 1979 vote of the Fraternal Order of Retired Border Patrol Officers. From 1992 to 1994 museum artifacts were in storage waiting for the construction of a new building. The current building is 10,000 square feet space and was opened in 1994, it is also located on 2 acres of land in El Paso. This is the only museum that only honors the Border Patrol and artifacts cover the agency's entire history. Among the exhibits there are ones with weapons and vehicles that have been used including helicopters. There is also a border patrol dog exhibit, an art exhibit, and an exhibit of officer badges. Shown in the exhibits are various methods used by individuals to cross the border between Mexico and the United States. Also membership fees, private and corporation donations, and the purchase of memorial bricks help fund the museum. This sit is important because it honors the border patrol and has artifacts covering the whole agencies history. This site makes this region unique because even if other places in Texas have a border patrol they don't have a whole museum honoring them. I learned about what the border patrol did and got to learn about the weapons and vehicles that they used. My favorite part about visiting this site was getting to see how the vehicles that they used and also the weapons because it was an interesting experience.

Chamizal National Memorial

My second stop of the day was at the Chamizal National Memorial. Chamizal National Memorial, located in El Paso, Texas along the United States and Mexico international border, and is a National Park Service site commemorating the peaceful settlement of the Chamizal boundary dispute. The 54.90-acre memorial park is used as a cultural center and contains art galleries, a theater, and an amphitheater. A museum is also there that details the history of the U.S. and Mexico border. The park honors the peaceful resolution of the Chamizal Dispute more than 100 year old border dispute between the United States and Mexico that was the result from the natural change of course of the Rio Grande River between the cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. This national memorial was made on part of the disputed land that was assigned to the United States according to the Chamizal Convention of 1963 also a public park was created on the Mexican portion of the land. The Chamizal Convention decided in 1889 to maintain the border, and make later treaties to set apart river waters between the two nations, and provide money for flood control and water sanitation. The National Memorial was authorized on June 30, 1966. It was established as a National Park Service unit on February 4, 1974, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places the same day. This site is important because it honors the resolution of the border dispute between Texas and Mexico. This site makes this region unique because even though there are other places on the border between Texas and Mexico they decided to put the memorial here. I learned that there was a dispute between Texas and Mexico because of the change of course of the Rio Grande River between El Paso and the city of Juarez from being at the site. My favorite part about visiting this site was to see the museum that told you about the history of the U.S. and Texas border.

Franklin Mountains State Park

The last place I visited on my day in El Paso was the Franklin Mountains State Park.

Franklin Mountains State Park is a Texas state park in El Paso, Texas. It is at an elevation of 5,426 feet. It is the largest urban park in the nation lying completely within city limits covering about 24,247.56 acres. Franklin Mountains State Park is open for year-round recreation including hiking, mountain biking, picnicking and scenic driving and vistas. Native Americans and other travelers have used the natural resources in the Franklin Mountains when crossing the gap between the Franklin Mountains and the Juarez Mountains that is now Ciudad Juárez across the Rio Grande in Mexico and El Paso. The Franklin Mountains are named for Benjamin Franklin Coons. The park was opened to the public in 1987. The Franklin Mountains are 23 miles long and 3 miles wide and stretch from El Paso into New Mexico. The Franklins were formed due to crustal extension related to the Cenozoic Rio Grande rift. The mountains are the southernmost tip of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. The highest peak is North Franklin Mountain at 7,192 feet. Franklin Mountains State Park is part of the Chihuahuan Desert. The plants and wildlife found in the park despite it being within a city are typical of those found throughout the rest of the desert. Barrel cactus, Yucca, and Mexican and Californian poppies are common plants. Trees like Cottonwood, hackberry, juniper and oak grow along the springs on the mountain slopes. Mammals in the park include Mule deer, Mountain Lions, Black Bear, and a variety of rodents. Birds observed at the park included Golden Eagles, owls, hawks, and a wide variety of smaller birds. This site is important because it gives you a chance to relax and explore the wonderful mountains. This site makes this region unique because not many places in Texas have mountains and this many of them is amazing it is also important because it is the largest urban park in the nation lying completely within its cities limits. I learned that the highest peak in the park is North Franklin Mountain at 7,192 feet and I also learned about all the animals that live there. My favorite part about visiting this site was walking around through the park and seeing the tall mountains because I don't see mountains a lot because I moved here from Kansas this summer.

The Mountains and Basins Region

Day 8: Marfa

Presidio County Courthouse

My first stop in Marfa was at a place called The Presidio County Courthouse. The climate in Marfa is classified as a semiarid climate with hot summers and cool winters. Because of its altitude and aridity the temperature variation is significant to its climate. The average high temperature is 76.5 degrees fahrenheit. The average low temperature in Marfa is 42.8 degrees fahrenheit. The average yearly rainfall in Marfa is about 15.41 inches. Also the average yearly snowfall in Marfa, Texas is about 2.2 inches. The Presidio County Courthouse is located in Marfa, Texas. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and it was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1964. San Antonio architect Alfred Giles beat eighteen other competitors to submit the winning bid on designing the 1886 courthouse at a cost of $60,000. He modeled the second empire style building after the El Paso courthouse he also designed in 1886. When the structure was completed the county held a celebratory grand ball on January 1, 1887.The courthouse can be seen from almost any location in Marfa. It was designed of brick and stone, the exterior is made of pink stucco with Lady Justice sitting on top the central dome. The tower is full of Roman arches. The interior is designed of pecan wood. Domes extend over the roof, with triangular shapes and iron cresting. When it was designed, the district courtroom took up the entire east side of the second floor. The grand jury room was on the third floor. The Presidio County Courthouse was built in 1886. This site is important because it is the place where the important people met to make decisions like all the district courtroom and the grand jury. This site makes this region unique because it is on the National Register of Historic Places and a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark so it is considered a very important place in that region. I learned that this building is really important and they had a bidding just for who would be able to design the building and that the designer of this building also made the second empire style building after this building from being at this site. My favorite part about visiting this site was seeing the wonderful and beautiful architecture outside and inside the building.
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Chinati Foundation

My second stop on my day in Marfa was at the Chinati foundation. The Chinati Foundation is a contemporary art museum located in Marfa, Texas and based upon the ideas of its founder, artist Donald Judd. The intention of Chinati is to preserve and present permanent large-scale installations by a limited number of artists to the public. The main focus is works in which art and the surrounding landscape are linked. The Chinati Foundation is located on 340 acres of land on the site of former Fort D. A. Russell in Marfa, Texas and some buildings in the town's center. The Chinati Foundation opened to the public in 1986 as an independent, non-profit, and publicly funded institution. Chinati was originally made to exhibit the work of Donald Judd, John Chamberlain and Dan Flavin. However the idea of the foundation developed further and its collection was made larger over years, and now the permanent collection has expanded to include Carl Andre, Ingólfur Arnarsson, Roni Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley. Each artist's work is put in a separate building or outdoor area on the museum's grounds. Also added to the permanent collection there are temporary exhibitions that feature modern and contemporary art of diverse media. It was Judd’s goal at the Chinati Foundation to bring art, architecture, and nature together in order to form a whole museum. The Chinati Foundation sponsors art and education programs, that establish close links to the local community and other cultural institutions and universities in the United States and all over the world. This site is important because it is a place that preserves and show cases permanent and large installations by a limited number of artists to the public. This site makes this region unique because it is one of the only museums thats main focus is works in which art and the surrounding landscape are linked. From being at this site I learned that this museum only contains contemporary art and is based upon the ideas of its founder. My favorite part about visiting this site was seeing all the artwork made by different artists because I like art.
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Big Bend National Park

My last and final stop of my wonderful road trip through Texas was at Big Bend National Park. Big Bend National Park is in Marfa, Texas and has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. It contains more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. The national park covers 801,163 acres which is larger than the state of Rhode Island. Few other parks exceed this park's value for the protection and study of geologic and paleontologic resources. A variety of Cretaceous and Cenozoic fossil organisms exist there. Archaeologists have discovered artifacts estimated to be over 9,000 years old. Also historic buildings and landscapes there offer illustration of life along the international border in the 19th century. For more than 1,000 miles the Rio Grande forms the international boundary between Mexico and the United States. The Big Bend National Park is approximately 118 miles along that boundary. The park was named after the area which is surrounded by a large bend in the river and Texas and Mexico border. The Rio Grande serves as an international boundary so the park faces unusual constraints while making and enforcing park rules, regulations, and policies. According to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo the park's territory extends only to the center of the deepest river channel made in 1848. The rest of the land south of that channel and the river lies within Mexican territory. This site is important because it lets people explore the landforms while being between many types of animals and different types of things in nature. This site makes this region unique because it has lots of types of species and few parks go over this park in its value for the protection and study of geologic and paleontologic resources. From being at this site I leaned about the types of animals and plants that live in this type of habitat also about the artifacts and fossils that had been found there. My favorite part about visiting this site was walking through the park on my own and exploring everything that I wanted to. Overall I had a lot of fun on my road trip through Texas and I learned a lot of things I hope I get to go to these places again sometime.
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