My Texas Road Trip

Journal Entry by Hilary Nguyen

Day 1: Houston

Alley Theatre

In Houston, the weather is quite humid and hot so you could say my day start out with hot,blazing heat from the sun (Note to self: Never visit Houston during summer ! I should visit Houston between the month of October and April instead ! It's the best way to avoid the heat !). My first stop today in Houston is visit Alley Theatre, a Tony Award-winning indoor theater in Downtown Houston. The theater's architecture is quite beautiful and elegant ! It have nine towers and open-air terraces which for some reason, make me feel I'm in a castle ! Inside, there's a staircase spiral from the entrance's chamber to the second floor lobby ! It was build back in 1947 by the founder of Alley Theater Nina Vance, it's one of the three oldest resident theatre in the U.S ! How cool is that ?!! I decide to watch the theatre's newest plays "Dracula" after a long decision on what should I watch since the theatre have so many varieties of plays. The seating arrangement is very comfortable and it provide an intimate setting in which to enjoy the show. The theater have two stage. "Hubbard Stage" ( Large Theatre ) with around 800 seats and the "Neuhuas Stage" (Black Box Theatre) with around 300. I am very impressed with their shows. It was a enjoyable experience for me ! The Alley Ushers is very helpful when I trying to find my seat and the lightning, sets, costumes, and the amazing actors impressed me a lot and provide me an amazing, magical theatrical experience !! Now my next stop is Battleship Texas !!!
Alley Theatre Hightlights

Battleship Texas

Even though the idea of going to visit a ship under the hot sun seem like a bad idea but I couldn't resist it !! I'm so excited ! I'm gonna visit Battleship Texas in La Porte !!!!!

Battleship Texas are known as the last of the battleship (also the only ships to survive the wars) to participate World War I and II !! It became the first battleship memorial museum open in U.S in 1948 ! The tour guide said on June 6, 1944 when a fleet of battleship are in position for a large scale, allied invasion in Normandy , France. Among the ships sits the mighty battleship USS Texas firing upon German enemies present along the shore.

In the early 20th century, the U.S replace the 1892 Battleship Texas with a larger all-big- gun "super- dreadnought" version commission on March 12, 1914. Battleship and her sister New York were the most powerful battleship in the world. Their main batteries of ten 40 inch gun were larger than any mounted on an existing battleship !!! The ship's hull was really really big and made of riveted steel !! It have three decks, two half decks, two platform decks, a hold decks, and an inner bottom that extended the ship's entire length and formed a second strong shell on the sides !! The ship was a part of the Battleship Force of Atlantis Fleet when war with Germany was declared in April 1917. The ship became known as one of the best ships of the fleet, excelling in weaponry and engineering efficiency !!! It's one of my most favorite places in Texas !! You can actually spend a night on the ship and experience what is it like to be a sailor !! How cool is that ?!!! I would stay but I only stay here for one night but I would surely visit and stay at the Battleship Texas next time !!!! Now my next stop is Bay City !!!!!!!!!

Lake Houston Wilderness Park

I decide to visit Lake Houston Wilderness Park !! It was really really nice !!! I called to reserve and pay for our site, which was quick and easy and they were all ready for me when I got there so checking in was a breeze as well. I was right by park headquarters and the nature center, which made me feel safer somehow in this HUGE park. I took a pretty walk over a tall wooden foot bridge (right by the toilets/showers) to get to the creek. This "beach" area is great. I really like that area and hang out at that place almost all day ! There's a great deck with picnic tables and grills, and the creek was cool, with a nice little flow. It's not deep enough to "swim" in, but it's good enough for me lay around and cool off, and put my chair in and relax with the water. There're lots of shade trees hanging over the creek as well. There is no parking by the shelters. Actually, no parking by any campsite at all. Every little section has a 15 minute unloading zone. I got lost INSIDE the park for 45 minutes. It's huge. There are no street signs, just the occasional directional sign but it was really fun and exciting because I spot a lot of wildlife while walking !!! It was such a fun times for me and I can't wait to tell my parent about this !! I'm sure they will love it !!! My next stop is at Bay City !!!

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Day 2: Bay City

Matagorda County Birding Nature Center

After sitting on the car for an awfully long time, I finally arrive at Bay City !!! my stop at this city is Matagorda County Birding Nature Center. It was morning so the temperature is not as hot as the temperature in the afternoon. As a little kid, I always have passion for bird so Matagorda County Birding Nature Center is a perfect spot for me to look at unique birds species. The price is very cheap too ! It's only $5 per car load (you can also rent a golf cart as well) and $3 per person too. The Center have a lot of trees and shades, it was really big !!! I decide to walk instead of rent a golf cart because I want to stretch my leg after sitting on the car for such a long time. The center have 7 botanical gardens and 3 major e-co system. There're about 333 species that are seen in the MCBNC including Little Blue Herron, White Tail Kite, and Bald Eagles. From what I learn during the tour, MCBNC is a good birding spot at any season and definitely an excellent one during migration because its location is on Texas' middle coast which it's a central flyway for migratory birds. There're also many acres of agricultural and and costal prairie along with lush prairie grasses from the western section and streams, timbers from the eastern section of the county. The trail/bay of MCBNC covers up more than one of a third of total area of the county !!! The walk was very nice and serene ! I saw a lot of sea birds and turtles. The river was really nice too !!! One of my most memorable moment is when I spot a baby alligators and a cute deers during my walk on the trail !!!!! It was definitely an enjoyable experience for me !! I can't wait to visit here again !! My next stop is Matagorda County Museum
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Matagorda County Museum

The weather is quite hot but all the cool and fun thing that I learn about the county's history at Matagorda County Museum make me forget all about it. The museum is awesome !!! Even though it's not as big as the other museum but it's very homey and cozy which also a reason why I love it !!! The museum is very informative and very entertaining as one view on the first floor. It's housed in the beautiful old post office building established in 1918, serving as a post office until 1989. The first floor housed exhibit the early settlement, industry and social and cultural history of county including Karankawa Indians, Early Western Cowboys, The Gusmans, Civil Servants that played a major role in the county's history. There're also an archive room that houses an extensive collection of photos, family histories, newspaper, and county documents though the public have limited access to these files. One of my most favorite exhibits is the La Salle Exhibits which showcasing numerous of artifacts from the famous La Belle Shipwreck that were found by archaeologist and excavated from the bottom of the ocean in Matagorda Bay 1995. My most favorite artifact from this exhibit is a really cool looking bronze cannon and navigational instrumental. Beside this amazing museum, Matagorda County Museum also offered a fun place for children called Children's Museum, a Walking Tour of "Our Town". This museum is a perfect place for kid !!! You will not find anything that have "high tech" in this museum but instead you will probably find is a awesome and unique experience that take you and your children back in time !! The museum have everything for every kids's imagination including pioneer clothes to play dress up, play cops and robbers with their own bank, stagecoach and jail, and pioneer house !! The most awesome thing about this museum is the replica is made for a child's size and depicts a historic piece of Bay City !!! I really wish I can take my cousins to to this place because it's very awesome and I'm sure they will love it !! I really do have a nice time at this museum !!! What a hidden gem !!! Next stop is the Asian Art Museum !!!

Asian Art Museum

I'm now at one of largest museum in the Western world devoted to the arts and cultures of Asia. I love art !!! I am so glad that I finally have a chance to get visit this awesome museum !!! The collection has approximately 18,000 works of art and artifacts from all major Asian countries and traditions, some of which are as much as 6,000 years old. Major galleries are devoted to the arts of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, China, Korea and Japan. There are 2,500 works on display in the permanent collection !!! The museum owes its origin to a donation to the city of San Francisco by Chicago millionaire Avery Brundage, who was a major collector of Asian art. The Society for Asian Art, incorporated in 1958, was the group that formed specifically to gain Avery Brundage's collection. The museum opened in 1966 as a wing of the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum inGolden Gate Park. Brundage continued to make donations to the museum, including the bequest of all his remaining personal collection of Asian art on his death in 1975. In total, Brundage donated more than 7,700 Asian art objects to San Francisco. he museum shared a space with the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park until 2003 because the museum’s collection grew, the facilities in Golden Gate Park were no longer sufficient to display or even house the collection. During its last year in the park it was closed for the purpose of moving to its new location, and it reopened on March 20, 2003, in the former San Francisco city library building , and it was renovated for the purpose under the direction of Italian architect Gae Aulenti. Lord Cultural Resources, a cultural professional practice, was also commissioned to undertake a three-part sequence of planning studies for the relocation of the Museum. I have such an enjoyable time here at this amazing museum My most favorite part of this museum is the China exhibits !! Can't wait to visit here again !!! All right, my next stop will be at Abilene !!!
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Day 3: Abilene

Abilene Zoological Garden

The weather in Abilene is quite humid so the idea of walking outside seem a little bit scary to me since I'm not the type of person who enjoy the heat but the idea of visiting Abilene Zoo are so tempting that I decide to ignore the weather outside !!! The Abilene Zoological Gardens' development began in 1919 when the original zoo was built in Fair Park now named Oscar Rose Park. The City fathers purchased land there in 1914 for the West Texas Fair and it became Abilene’s first municipal park !!!The Abilene Zoological Garden is quite small with sized of 13-acre (5.3 ha) but don't underestimate its small sized because the zoo have over 1,000 animals representing over 250 species. The zoo is spread out very well and it isn't just empty space !! There're a lot of animals and exhibits to look at including The Giraffe Habitat ( you can feed the giraffes !!), Creepy Crawler Center, Tropical Aviary, and Wetlands Boardwalk !!! Other facilities in from the zoo is the Adventure Center, a 12,000-square-foot (1,115 m2) complex that have gift shop, admission, customer relation, and administration offices and classrooms that can hold up to 150 people !!!!!! My most favorite animals from Abilene Zoological Garden are a cute white Bengal tigers named Havar and a rare awesome albino alligator named Jenny !! The zoo is very nice, clean, and small enough for you to not get lost ( I feel kind of relieve that it's small since I'm the type of person who can get lost easily) and to visit in a short amount of time so I have a very good time !! I can't wait to visit here again !! Now let's go catch a movie at the famous Paramount Theater !!!

The Paramount Theatre

I'm so glad to have the opportunities to visit the famous Paramount Theater !! It's one of my most favorite place to watch good old classic movies even though it's quite old !! The Paramount Theater build by H.O Wooten in 1930 on May 19. The opening night of the theater was on May 18, 1930 with the film "Safety in Numbers " starring Carole Lombard. The interior of the theatre is very impressive ! it was build an Atmospheric Spanish style with 1,403- seat auditorium that resembles a Spanish-Moorish courtyard, high arches and gateways, and a deep blue, star-lit sky on the ceiling. The lobby, foyer areas, and mezzanine are very beautiful and even more dazzling with tile work, hand-blown glass lamps, oil paintings, oil paintings, and ornate bronze statues on the stairs leading to the balcony of the theatre. During WWII, the theatre was visit often by soldier from the nearby Camp Barkley who enjoyed feature films and live stage shows. The Paramount Theatre remained open until the mid-2970's when Abilene's downtown business district begin to decline. It reopened briefly as The Paramount Opry, a country music venue. The theatre was restore and renovate in 1986 and now stand as an icon of a better fresh new changes of the city's downtown district as well as a glimpse into Texas's historic past. I really do had such a awesome time watching the classic movie " It's A Wonderful Life" at this "wonderful" theatre ! I love everything about this theatre !!! From The beautiful decorations, cheap tickets and concession stand, the cool lightning and sound effect, to its dazzling architecture. It's such a unforgettable experience for me !!! I can't wait to visit here again !!!!
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The Grace Museun

Yay !!! I finally get to visit the most amazing museum ever !!! This museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) !! Its facility is a 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) museum complex contained in the historic Hotel Grace, located in downtownAbilene, Texas. The Hotel Grace was built in 1909 by Col. W. L. Beckham of Greenville, Texas and is located at the corner of Cypress Street and North First Street. The Prairie Style building was initially a three-story structure, but a fourth story was added in the late 1920s. It house five art galleries displaying temporary exhibitions and works from its permanent art collection; a children's museum; and a history gallery with rotating exhibitions, a recreated boot shop and period rooms ! Its history collections and children's museum were both founded by the Abilene Fine Arts Museum with assistance from the Junior League of Abilene. During the 1990s, the collective of then-separate museums was housed together in the restored historic building at 102 Cypress Street, known initially as The Grace Cultural Center. The three museums eventually became known as one entity, The Grace Museum and that's how it got its name !!! My most favorite thing about this museum is its permanent art collection !! It have many awesome works by American artists and most artwork focus on Texas and American Regionalism. The collection originated with the Abilene Fine Arts Museum in 1937, and has grown since its inception to include recent acquisitions by James Surls, Andy Warhol, David Bates, Helen Altman, Russell Lee, Bob Stuth-Wade, Vernon Fisher and others. Another of my most favortie exhibits is the History collection !! The history collection was initiated in the 1970s and is populated by artifacts and records covering the history of Abilene and the immediate area. Some of the thing I like about this exhibit is the Texas and Pacific Railway collection, made up of thousands of photographs, artifacts, models and other records ! I have such a fun times looking at arts and learn more about the museum's history !! I will definitely missed this museum !!! My next stop is Brownwood !!
The Grace Museum - Welcome Video

Day 4: Brownwood

Brownwood, Texas

Lake Brownwood State Park

The weather right now is 83 °F outside ! Not as hot as in Dallas !! Brownwood is for having warm humid temperate climate with hot summers and no dry season. I was in the mood for camping so I decide to pick Lake Brownwood State Park as a place for camping !!! The park have miles of shoreline where white-tailed deer, ducks, raccoon, armadillos, squirrels, wildflowers, and a variety of birds can be seen in its natural setting. There're also other activities beside camping as well. Activities including swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking (2.5 miles of hiking trails and a.5-mile nature trail), nature study and bird-watching. My favorite viewpoint from the park is the hiking trail, especially atop Council Bluff, a high ridge overlooking the lake. You can learn more about Lake Brownwood State Park's history in the recreation hall, stone pavilions and cabins,and other structures built by the CCC to be a fascinating, tangible link to the past. And from what I learn, Lake Brownwood State Park made up of 537.5 acres and is located about 16 miles northwest of the city. It's known for its mixed habitat and natural beauty. Its construction began in 1933 and the CWA ( Civil Work Administrations) employed young men who were part of Emergency Conservation Work programs, the forerunner of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). CCC works camps established across the country in the 1930s offered work for unemployed young men and improvements for state land. During WWII, the park were served as a rest-and-recreation sites for soldier stationed at Camp Bowie. By the time the CCC men left, they have completed 17 cabins and nearly 100 other structures that are scattered around the park !! I'm not a big fan of hiking but it was awesome !! They have camp grounds, cabins, swimming areas, pavilions, and several hiking trails that being range from beginner to advance !! I saw two foxes, an amarillo, and several different species of birds !! One of the thing that I enjoyed the most while camping in the park is the stargazing at night and the sunrise over the lake !! It was beautiful !! I definitely have an awesome time here in the park and would definitely come back again in the future !!!
Lake Brownwood State Park, Texas [Official]

Brown County Museum of History

The idea of walking a old jailhouse seem awfully creepy for me but for the sake of exploring, I decide to visit it to test my bravery !!! The museum is located in the old four story Brown County Jail, built in 1902, and located at 212 North Broadway across the street from the Courthouse in downtown Brownwood. It was constructed in 1903, the building housed the Brown County Jail from then until 1981. It's not scary as I thought, it was very fascinating in fact !!! All the floors of the building are accessible for the visitors with the ground floor containing several rooms of cool old artifacts. From I learn about the old jailhouse from a quick history lesson from the the museum manager NIck is that it was constructed in between 1902 and 1903 providing us a good example of the principles which governed jail design in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first Brown County Jail was built in 1876 at the corner of North Fisk and Water Streets. The courthouse and the buildings burned in March 1880, and all of the county records were destroyed. Another jail and courthouse were built in 1881 but by 1901, the jail was labeled insufficient for the county's needs. It was in 1901 that voters elected to issue $30,000 in bonds for a new jail. Work began soon after the contract was signed and on June 20, 1903, the new jail building was accepted by the commissioners's court. In 1963, the building receive a Texas historical marker while still serving as the county's jail. Then a new county jail was built in 1981, the Brown County Historical Commission began to take steps to preserve the building as a site for a museum of local history. In addition, a grant from the Texas Historical Commission was used for renovation and repair. The place also has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places !!!! I really have a fun times at this place and secretly wish that this awesome place is my house !!! It definitely would be awesome !!! The history lessons was very detailed and the manager was really funny and awesome !!! I learn a lot of news things today !!!! Now my next stop is Amarillo.
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Day 5: Amarillo

Cadillac Ranch

I'm here in Armadillo, a city that is know for its true Western heritage and its cleanest air and mild climate. The weather feel really cool which it's no surprise since Amarillo have a cold semi-arid steppe climate. After a long time of deciding where should I go, I picked Cadillac Ranch !!!! It's a public art installation and sculpture created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm ( and no, it's not a Disney television show). It's a very artsy place which exactly what I like because I'm a huge fan of artsy stuff !!!!!!! According to what online sources told me, the silent partner of Ant Farm billionaires Stanley Marsh 3 wanted a public art piece would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh 3 field, then was half-buried, nose down in the down like the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Gaza. They faces west and were putting in order from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville. Cadillac Ranch is currently located at 35°11′14″N 101°59′13.4 ″W and was originally located at 35°11′6.6″N 101°56′58.6″W in a wheat field but in 1997, the installation was being moved by local contractor to a location two miles (three kilometers) to the west, to a cow pasture along Interstate 40 in order to place it farther from the limits of the growing city. People in 1974 would stop along the highway, walk out to view the cars then deface or rip off a piece of them for souvenirs. As time passed, The Cadillacs are stripped to their to their battered frames,splattered in day-glo paint splooge, and are barely recognizable as cars. Despise that, Cadillac Ranch are more popular than ever !!! The most memorable moment for me is the smell of spray cans that hits me from a hundred yards away !! I don't know whether I have a better sense of smell or I'm being paranoid when I smell it !! I also bring spray cans with me to draw and camera with me to to take a picture of my artwork because one of my friend warned me that whatever I create will probably only last for a few hours before it's created over by someone else and it's true !!!!! I have such an awesome times looking at the Cadillacs and drawing on it !! I can't wait to bring my sister here because she is really good at drawing !!! Now my next stop is the famous Palo Duo Canyon !!!

Palo Duo Canyon

My second stop at Amarillo is the Palo Duo Canyon, the second largest canyon in the U.S !!!

The canyon have been named "The Grand Canyon of Texas" both for its size and its dramatic geological features, including the multicolored layers of steep mesa and rocks similar to those in the Grand Canyon. The canyon is roughly 60 mi (97 km) and has an average width of 6 mi (9.7 km) but it reaches a width of 20 mi (32 km) at places, its depth is around 820 ft (250 m), but in some locations it can increase up to 997 ft (304 m) !!!! ts elevation at the rim is 3,500 feet above sea level !! The canyon was formed by water erosion from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. The water deepens the canyon by moving sediment downstream. Wind and water erosion gradually widen the canyon. The Palo Duo Canyon get its name from early Spanish Explorer who believe to discovered this area and called this area "Palo Duo" which literally mean hard wood in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees. One of my most favorite during my visit at the Palo Dup Canyon is the Lighthouse, it's a hoodoos, a thin, irregular columns of sedimentary rock sticking up from the canyon floor, capped with a harder rock which prevents further erosion. I notice that the canyon was full of color range of color due to the recent rains while hiking !!! I also found a diamondback rattlesnake (yikes !!) and tarantula, as well as red foxes on one the trails !!!! I was really amazed by the beauty of the canyon and feel so small compare to the big canyon !! I have such a blast !!! My next stop is the city "Canyon" !!!!! Lol Canyon...

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas [Official]

Texas Pharmacy Museum

After a really long time of deciding where should I go next , I finally decide to visit Texas Pharmacy Museum !! I thought it would be really cool to visit there because I want to be a anesthesiologist in the future and maybe I learn something about medicines !! The collection of the pharmacy have over 12,000 items related to the history of the pharmacy profession !! Its founder was Billy Walker, a retired drug company representative and avid collector of pharmacy antiques and memorabilia, dreamed of creating a museum to house his extensive collection of old time pharmacy bottles, tools, and furnishings. But he couldn't find anyone interested in turning his dream into reality until he met with Dr. Arthur A. Nelson, Jr., Dean of the Texas Tech School of Pharmacy. The two men met in August, 1997, and spent the day discussing museum philosophy and digging through Billy's collection of pharmacy antiques. Billy spent an entire year installing his collection and other donations into 3,000 square feet of exhibit space located in the Texas Tech School of Pharmacy building on the Amarillo campus. Opened to the public in October, 1998, it is the first of its kind in the state of Texas. Before I even enter the museum, I saw a street scene with mural paintings on the hallway walls of old Amarillo buildings. Red awnings over display windows and the front door beckon you into the pharmacy, a ‘Main Street' establishment vital to community life which amaze me a lot !! The first room was a restored pharmacy of the early 20th century. The furniture (open shelves, display cases, soda fountain, sales counter, and pharmacist's work station) was built in England in 1898 for a Baltimore pharmacy. The shelves and cases are stocked with the patent medicines, tobacco products, and general merchandise which customers relied upon to fill their medical and personal needs. When I turn right from the Pharmacy room, I was greeted by the Tool Room. Its exhibits consist of the tools of trade, such as mortars and pestles, suppository molds, pill rollers, balances, bottles, prescription form filing systems, and a Prohibition Era still for making ‘legal' medicinal whiskey. The various pharmacy sidelines are represented as well, including a watch repair workbench, post office cage, Western Union service, veterinary supplies, and of course the soda fountain. A small bedroom recreates the early ‘emergency room,' where a patient stayed with the pharmacist until the frontier doctor returned to town. Left from Pharmacy Room is the Product Room. Case exhibits in here include herbals for teas, nasal delivery systems, injectable products, and a 100-year range of products related to women. The latter may be the largest display of this type in the country ! The fourth final room is Pioneer Hall, where retired or deceased pharmacists who practiced in the state of Texas are honored with plaques giving their name, where he or she practiced, and when. Registered pharmacist certificates and diplomas from Texas and surrounding states hang on another wall.
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Day 6: Canyon

Panhandle Plains Historical Museum

I finally arrive at Canyon !!!!! The climate is here much cooler than in Coppell which makes me feel really happy because I do not enjoy the heat ! I'm so glad that I picked this city to visit because I always wanted to visit Panhandle Plains Historical Museum ! It's quite hard not to know this famous museum as a Texan. It's one of the largest history museum in Texas with 70,000 visitors annually and more than three million artifacts. Found in 1921 by the faculty and students of West Texas State Teachers College and area supporters, this museum was build with a purpose to preserve the history of pioneers and natural history in the West Texas region. It's also the first state museum in Texas.The museum opened its permanent and present location when the first structure was opened to the public on April 14, 1933. By 1986 five additions incorporated in excess of 200,000 square feet of exhibit, conservation, and storage space for 1,500,000 objects. The museum contains a lot of awesome collection like anthropology, geology, paleontology, and natural history. It's also contain extensive materials on the cattle industry, the Plains Indians, firearms, transportation, the fine arts, the decorative arts, textiles, and historical artifacts depicting life in the region. One of my most favorite exhibits from the museum is the "People of the Plains: Experiments in Living" exhibits ! It's compare the difference and similarities of past and present Southern Plains settlers !! I really learn a lot while visiting this museum !! I also such an awesome times looking at cool artifacts as well !!! I can't wait to show my friends what I have learned !! Time to go catch TEXAS Outdoor Musical Play at the Pioneer Amphitheater !!!

PPHM Annual Meeting Video

TEXAS Outdoor Musical

I always love watching musical plays ever since I was little !!! And in my opinion, this musical is the best !!!! The steak that they served at the world-famous Big Texan Steak Ranch on a covered patio was delicious and I really want some more (sorry, I feel a little bit hungry). For years, the theater has entertained and educated thousand of visitors with its fantastic production. The show's setting based on Texas's history ! The story main character is Calvin Armstrong,a young homesteader from the east who wants to make it as a farmer in the Texas Panhandle. Uncle Henry is a wealthy rancher who buy lands and fence it off for his cattle in order to be able to drive them cattle back to the east. Calvin's love interest in the story is Elsie McClain, Uncle Henry's niece. One of my most favorite character in the plays is Tucker Yelldale, a gold prospector in the Texas Panhandle in search of wealth of the wrong color !!! The story "TEXAS" was born in 1960 when Margaret Harper read an article in Reader’s Digest about an author named Paul Green who like to recreated the history of several regions about the nation in tremendous dramas with pageantry and music. Mrs. Harper wrote to Paul Green at his home in North Carolina and began to telling with him about the land, people, and beauty of Palo Duro Canyon. . she decide reached out to friends and colleagues in Canyon,and surprisingly, interest in the prospect of an outdoor theater began to grow, and soon a small group of Canyon families funded the first trip for Paul Green to come to the Panhandle later that year. Paul Green immediately dedicated himself to the project of bringing the history of the High Plains to the stage. The music, dancing/choreography, and direction of the production came from various departments of nearby West Texas State College (now West Texas A&M University). Most of the early performers were students from at the college and its director for many year was Margaret Moore. The amphitheater opened in 1962, performing the western show Fandangle. Texas first came to the theater in 1966, and a version of the show has been performed every year since. The show was breath-taking, it bring life to the struggles and triumphs of the Texas Panhandle's early 1800 settlers through Song and dance abound mixed in with some good ol’ Texas humor, spellbinding lighting, special fire and water effects !! I'm so glad that I have the opportunities to see it !! Come on !! Let's visit to El Paso !!!!
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Day 7: El Paso

The El Paso Holocaust Museum

The weather in El Paso is so hot and dry !!! Man, I really wish that it was cooler but I wasn't really surpise either consider El Paso's nickname is the "Sun City" with an average over 300 days of sunshine ! My first stop at this city is the El Paso Holocaust Museum ! One of my biggest question about the museum is that what on is a museum about an event that happen a world away doing in El Paso ? My answer became clearer as I walk around the museum and learn about its history. It was 1984 when a Holocaust survivor Henry Kellen decide it was time to tell his story and the horror of the Holocaust because of a surge of Holocaust denial in the mainstream media during the 1980s. He borrowed space in a small corner of the Jewish Community Center on El Paso’s West Side. He began to tell his story with a few books and a handful of personal items as words quickly spread about this Holocaust display and school and interested people began to make appointments to hear from Mr.Kellen. Not before long, the community allied behind Mr. Kellen’s desire to teach the Holocaust. The Rosenbaum donated $250,000 so that a full-fledged museum could be built. By 1994, that museum, appropriately named the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center, opened its doors next to the Jewish Community Center. Sadly an electrical fire in October, 2001, destroyed the original Museum. Almost immediately after the fire, the Museum’s Board of Directors vowed to rebuild and work quickly began on a Capital Campaign to raise the money needed for a new Museum. The community came through and $2.5 million were raised for the new museum. Meanwhile a dedicated staff continue to teach the lessons of the Holocaust by visits to schools and organizations and later through a temporary gallery space that was donated to the Museum until the new was completed. 7 years later after the fire, the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center reopened its doors to the public in January, 2008, and is part of El Paso’s Museum District Downtown. The Museum features 4,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space and an additional 1,000 square feet of traveling exhibit space. Overall, I really enjoy my visit to this museum. The museum does a really good jobs helping me learning more about the Holocaust and guided me clear through clear and emotional history of Jewish suffering. My second stop at the El Paso is the El Paso County Historical Society's Burges House. Let's go see a movie at Plaza Theatre !!
The El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center

Plaza Theatre

I'm at the Plaza Theatre right now to catch a theatrical shows by a group called "Blue Man Group" which from what I heard that their show are very “visually stunning,” “wildly inventive,” and “hysterically funny" and I can't wait to watch it !!! But I'm here for not just the show but also to learn more about this amazing historical theatre and its history !!! From I learn while walking around the theater and searching up on Google is that the theater was built in 1929-30, in the midst of the Great Depression. The border cities of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua had grown significantly in the early years of the 20th century. By the late 1920s, El Paso was a booming city of more than 100,000 residents with a thriving downtown commercial district. It's all started when the owner of the principal El Paso theaters, Louis L. Dent, bought a property on Pioneer Plaza with an intention of doing something good for the city he loved. In 1929, construction of the Spanish Colonial Revival style Plaza Theater began, it was design by architect W. Scott Dunne and constructed by C.A. Goetting Construction Company. the theatre was open on September 12, 1930 with the movie "Open Through". It was design as a a modern film house in a Spanish Colonial revival style with the flexibility of presenting stage shows. Although at that time, several theaters have already existed in downtown but the Plaza Theatre's size, elaborate decor, and technical innovations made it stand out from the rest. It was advertise to the largest theater of its kind between Dallas and Los Angeles. It's the first public theater to in the United States to have air conditioning and to use a telephone communications system known as a "telecheck" throughout the auditorium. World premieres at the theater brought major motion picture stars to El Paso including John Wayne, Randolph Scott, and James Stewart. Major films, including 70mm wide screen productions, as well as live entertainment, continued to draw large crowds into the 1960s. The attention to the theater began to decrease as suburban cinemas and multi-screen theaters was being open. In 1976, the last film was shown at the Plaza Theatre. The Plaza Theatre was entered in the National Register of Historic Places as a locally significant site in 1987. During the 1990s the El Paso Community Foundation and the Plaza Theatre Corporation led the move to restore the site. n 2004 the Plaza Theatre was upgraded on National Register of Historic Places to a site of national significance. I have learn a lot today and of course the show at the Plaza Theater was great !! I definitely enjoy it and can't wait to come here again !! My next stop is Peco !!!
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Chamizal National Memorial

I decide to spend my last day here in El Paso at the Chamizal National Memorial !!! It's a National Park Service site commemorating the peaceful settlement of the Chamizal boundary dispute. The park honors the peaceful resolution of the Chamizal Dispute, a more than 100-year border dispute between the United States and Mexico that resulted from the natural change of course of the Rio Grande between the cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. This national memorial was established on part of the disputed land that was assigned to the United States according to the Chamizal Convention of 1963. The Chamizal Convention was negotiated by the International Boundary and Water Commission, which was established in 1889 to maintain the border, and pursuant to later treaties to allocate river waters between the two nations, and provide for flood control and water sanitation. Its size is 54.9-acre park and was open to the public in 1973. A state historical marker was placed at the site in 1968. In 1990 the park logged 205,073 visits ! It was a really walk around the park and I learned a lot about the El Paso history too !! I also get to enjoy a free outdoor concert as well !! It was very enjoyable !!! I can't wait to tell my family about this amazing place !!
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Day 8: Pecos

West of the Pecos Museum

The weather in Pecos are hot just like El Paso but in the morning is not that bad ! My first stop in the morning at Pecos is the West of the Pecos Museum ! It's one of the most popular attraction in Pecos !! I was really curious about its history and how it was build so I decide to visit and take a closer look at it as well as learn more about Pecos's history. The museum have three full floors with over 50 rooms of exhibits that are full of artifacts, history and not to mention the outside exhibits. The museum occupies two classic structures from turn-of-the-century Texas build by R. S. Johnson, a former Texas Ranger. The first is a saloon back in its heyday and a bedroom upstair. Next door is the three-story Orient Hotel that were maded from molded, concrete blocks were build in 1904. A “Wash Room” was on the ground floor and a large complete bathroom on both the second and third floors. Each room had a big rug, an iron bedstead, two chairs, a washstand with a large white bowl and pitcher, and a dresser with a mirror. The Orient Hotel were in use until the mid-fifties. In 1963, a group of community members recognized the urgent need to preserve the important and very colorful history of Pecos and decide to house a museum in the old hotel and its saloon. One of my favorite thing that I notice while walking around is the An animatronic bartender in the saloon. It's relates to a story of a gunfight. I have such a good experience today ! The staff is very friendly and made me feel really welcome. I learn a lot while walking through the museum !! It was well put together and well keep !!!
West of the Pecos Museum in Texas

Day 9: Marfa

The Chinati Foundation

I'm now at Marfa !!! I know I should have stay in Pecos yesterday but I really want to visit this beautiful city !! It's 73°F outside right which is not that bad but still very hot in my term. My stop at this city is The Chinati Foundation !!! I been looking forward to visit this museum ever since I found this museum online !! Its founder Donald Judd build it with an intention to preserve and present to the public permanent large-scale installations by a limited number of artists. The emphasis is on works in which art and the surrounding landscape are inextricably linked. It was Jude's goal to bring bring art, architecture, and nature together in order to form a coherent whole.The site's construction and installation began 1979 with initial assistance from the Dia Art Foundation in New York. The museum official open to the public on 1986 as an independent, non-profit, publicly funded museum. The permanent collection now have 15 outdoor concrete works by Donald Judd, 100 aluminum works by Judd housed in two converted artillery sheds, 25 sculptures by John Chamberlain, an installation by Dan Flavin occupying six former army barracks, and works by Carl Andre, Ingólfur Arnarsson, Roni Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley. In addition to the permanent collection, regular temporary exhibitions feature modern and contemporary art of diverse media. As I walked around the museum, I notice that each artist's work is installed in a separate building on the museum's grounds which it's quite unique. I also learn that The Chinati Foundation sponsors art and education programs and provide artists from around the world an opportunity to develop and exhibit their work in a stimulating environment (Maybe I should tell my cousin about this since she love arts !). I really enjoy my trip to the museum since I'm a big fan of modern art !! The artworks and structure of this museum was really really good !! It's a such a beautiful museum and I will definitely visit here again !!!
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Big Bend National Park

I decide to spend my last day of the road trip at the Big Bend National Park !!! It's most largest protected area of Chihuahuan Deserttopography 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 !!! One of the most coolest thing that I learn about the park is that the national park covers 801,163 acres (324,219 ha), which is larger than the state of Rhode Island ! Archaeologist also discovered artifacts estimated to be 9,000 years old, and historic buildings and landscapes offer graphic illustration of life along the international border in the 19th century !! I decide to take a hike up to the South Rim and stargazing at night because the park was named as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association, which recognized the park as one of only ten places on the planet certified for dark sky stargazing in 2012 so I really want to check it out to see how beautiful it is !! ! As I hike to the South Rim, I was awe by its sweeping mountains, rocky plains, a winding river, exciting wildlife !! I saw herds of aoudad, many jack rabbits and prairie dogs, and even a family of black bears during my hike !!! I also get to saw ancient petroglyphs made by Native American and it was really really cool !!!! Speaking of the Natives Americans, I found out that during the early historic period (pre-1535) several Indian groups were recorded as inhabiting the Big Bend. The Chisos Indians were a loosely organized group of nomadic hunters and gatherers who probably practiced limited agriculture on a seasonal basis. My experiences at this park was very unique and memorable because the park is made up of wilderness and natural beauty and nothing else like mini golf, stop place, et... Just nature !! My most memorable moment at the park was when I finally finish my hike and look down !! It was such an incredible view across Texas to Mexico ! and also when I stargaze at night !! the stars are clear and amazing and I never seen anything like this ever in my life !!! I will definitely come back here again someday !!!! Now, it's take to go home sweet home !!!
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