When we began planning our cross-country road trip, Dallas was the first city I spent time thinking about. It was our first stop where we’d spend a significant amount of time; however, I knew I’d have to narrow down our plans due to the overwhelming number of family activities in the area.
Selfishly, The George W Bush Presidential Center was at the top of my list. Not to date myself too much, but he was the first president I could vote for and much of his presidency took place during my 20’s…which were really memorable/impressionable years. My husband was equally interested in visiting.
But I wondered what our kids would think.
Although I love to give them all sorts of experiences when we travel, I also don’t like to set myself up for failure. I’ve learned to be very selective about the places we visit that require extended periods of quiet voices and limited activity. Additionally, since Miller doesn’t read yet- it’s hard for us to visit places where that’s required for understanding/enjoyment.
In the end, we decided to give it a shot. We love teaching our kids about history and they have been particularly interested in presidents lately. Even so, I showed up to the Center with VERY low expectations for how much they’d appreciate our time there.
And, can I just say, the George W Bush Presidential Center exceeded anything I could have hoped for!
We honestly spent more time in the lobby looking at the gifts from around the world than I imagined we might spend touring the entire place!
Without giving too much of the place away, I’ll share 5 little “teaser” things that my kids loved the most about the George W Bush Presidential Center:
- Baseball Collection: As an adult, It’s no real secret that the former President is a huge fan of baseball. But my kids were shocked. Viewing the awesome collection of autographed baseballs made George W Bush much more “human” and normal to the kids. They thought it was so cool that someone could run the country AND enjoy something like baseball! It was hard to tear Miller away from the case to view other parts of the Center.
- 9/11 Memorabilia (Especially From Kids): President Bush hadn’t even been in office for 1 year when the country experienced it’s deadliest attack on US soil. As George W Bush led our nation’s response, thousands of cards poured into his office. In addition to some metal from the attacks, there are hundreds of letters saved from the 9/11 time-frame. My children especially loved seeing the ones from other children and realizing how much of an impact each note carried. *The images from 9/11 are difficult to view and can be very scary for children. We talked to our children about 9/11 prior to our visit, and they had an understanding of the events that took place.
- Decision Points “Game”: Have you ever watched the news and thought to yourself, “why doesn’t the President do…?” Often from afar, the decision seems so easy! In the Decision Points Theater, everyone gets the chance to formulate a response to a problem President Bush encountered during his tenure. And with every option, comes both pros and cons. It’s fascinating to see how many different opposing options go into what seems like a “no brainer” decision.
- Inside Story Video: This little video is tucked away in a corner and it would be very easy to miss. But, make sure you’re looking for it! We loved hearing about the personal, family-man side of President Bush as told by his daughters. My kids could not stop laughing at what they jokingly referred to as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” when George W Bush went out on their property to cut down a bunch of trees!
- Oval Office: What kid (or adult) wouldn’t love to order a pizza from the oval office phone? At the Center, you’ll have your chance! There is a mock Oval Office designed to look exactly like it did when President Bush was in the White House. It’s very cool to sit behind the desk and imagine yourself as Commander In Chief! My kiddos will never forget this experience!
Of course, I’ve just highlighted a small portion of the George W Bush Presidential Center. There are tons of other great things you won’t want to miss- so be sure to plan ample time! To learn more, visit their website and schedule your visit today.
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*This post was sponsored by The George W Bush Presidential Center. All of the opinions in this article are uniquely our own. Additionally, this post may contain affiliate links. By making a purchase after clicking through a link, Mom With A Map will receive compensation.