We are now almost one full week into our big summer road trip. If you missed my first update, you can go back and read it here.

Of all the states we’re planning to visit on this trip, Texas was one of the ones I was most excited about. Obviously my expectations were pretty high when we arrived, and I’m happy to say- we were not disappointed! We just finished three days of Texas-sized fun!

We arrived in Waco in time for bed (in fact, both kids were asleep in the car when we rolled into town.) Originally we were planning to stay in Dallas and just make a day trip down to Waco. However, I read a few blogs  and the overwhelming advice was to get to Magnolia early. In hindsight, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way!

At some point I plan to do a whole post on visiting Magnolia so I’ll just give you the highlights now:

  • Magnolia Table (the new restaurant) is amazing. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is even better. It’s open from 6AM-2PM and the only way to avoid an excessively long wait is to arrive between 6 and 6:30AM. Even Brent, who is not a morning person, admitted it was totally worth setting an alarm.
  • The whole Silos area is adorable and exactly as it looks on TV and in magazines. The staff takes extreme pride in everything being perfect (like dusting the potted flowers!) I think there are multiple ways to experience the area, but personally we enjoyed being there early before things got crazy. It’s truly a giant playground and after several days in the car we all enjoyed just spending time in the fresh air.
  • I was not as impressed with the shopping situation as I thought I would be. But, admittedly, I’m not an avid shopper and home decor is not really my thing. At least half of the stuff looked like ordinary things you could buy at Hobby Lobby or Home Goods. And the other half of the merchandise was labeled with their trademark phrases and completely overpriced.
  • We did not see Chip or Joanna.
  • Even hours later we were stuffed from our amazing breakfast so we almost passed up the bakery. After some debate we decided to buy some treats for later and I’m SO glad we did!

We also spent time touring around Waco including the Dr. Pepper Museum (sponsored post coming soon!), walking the suspension bridge area, and visiting Harp Design Studios.

In all honesty, we were incredibly impressed with Waco.

There are so many beautiful riverfront parks and a lot of cute businesses! Our family could have easily spent several days in the area.

Our last stop before heading to Dallas was at Waco Mammoth National Monument. I initially saw it as just a convenient National Park to grab a stamp for our Passport Book. But, this turned out to be the coolest National Park!

Though I’m not typically a huge fan of fossils, it is really neat to see them uncovering an entire herd. And, the cool thing is that it’s happening live. It’s not something you see in a museum- it’s literally being discovered in front of your eyes! Mary Grace and Miller also loved learning more about the Mammoth (they love the movie Ice Age.)

We stayed at Waco Mammoth National Monument for about 2 hours longer than we planned. And, even then, we had to tear our kiddos away.

Then we were off to Dallas for the weekend for even more Texas-sized fun…

Some of our best friends live in Dallas and after several nights in various hotels, it was SO nice to be at a home. Brent also celebrated the fact that we were spending 3 whole nights in one spot so he didn’t have to drag our luggage in and out every day. I even took the opportunity to do a load of laundry!

Our time in Dallas was a combination of sightseeing and relaxing with friends. We swam in the pool every night, stayed up entirely too late chatting, ate tons of great food, got lots of baby snuggles, and took the older kids to a splash pad.

We also packed in The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, The George W. Bush Presidential Center (sponsored), Dealey Plaza, the downtown area and The Dallas Zoo (sponsored.)

I’ll be writing individual posts about most of those things. But again, here are a couple highlights:

  • No cameras, phones, watches, etc. are allowed inside the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. For someone who takes pictures of everything, this was a tough pill to swallow. The kids thought the whole place was super cool. Brent and I left with more questions and sort of scratching our head about the whole process.
  • My kids loved the George W Bush Center way more than I expected. I didn’t think it would interest them for more than a couple of hours, but in hindsight, I wish we’d had an entire day to spend there! We also purchased a Presidential Library passport book (similar to our National Park one) and now the kids want to fill that one too!
  • I should have watched a documentary on JFK prior to visiting Dealey Plaza. I was expecting more context and informational markers. Instead, since we had no idea what we were looking at, we had to rely on a homeless man to provide all the info (which may or may not have been accurate?) There is a museum (6th Floor Museum) which I’m sure would have answered all my questions- but we were off to the Zoo and my kids were not all that interested in changing our plans.
  • The Dallas Zoo is phenomenal! And well designed. Although it was 101 degrees outside, there are so many great shaded areas that we were able to spent hours there without being miserable!

We’re off to Oklahoma next, but will actually be returning to Texas (Amarillo) to spend the night. Fun trip fact: we will be spending more nights in the state of Texas (5 total) than any other state on this whole trip! Stay tuned…

You might also enjoy reading:

Rental Car Deal = Last Minute Change of Plans

Packing Strategies: What Works Best

How To Do The Freedom Trail With Kids

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