5 Great Activities You Can Do on a Budget
Fort Worth, TX, is a friendly city with lots to see and do. If you're budget-conscious, the destination offers plenty of free activities. From space rocks to gardens to authentic Western experiences, you and your kids can explore all the family fun in the Fort Worth area without worrying about the cost.
Follow the Herd: The Stockyards National Historic District
Wrangle your family into the Old West at the Stockyards National Historic District (130 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth, TX), where you can watch 16 Texas longhorns traverse the streets in a traditional cattle drive. The cattle are herded every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. along Exchange Avenue. Your kids will love how authentic the experience feels, and everything from the cowhands' saddles to their cowboy hats is historically accurate. You can also get your hands dirty at the free weekly Cow Camps, held every Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day, to learn about saddling, roping and driving cattle. It's a fun way to learn about Texas history and let your kids interact with the state's fascinating cowherding culture.
Cash Grab: The Bureau of Engraving and Printing
You don't need any money to learn how yours is made. Fort Worth is home to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing's Western Currency facility (9000 Blue Mound Road, Fort Worth, TX), one of two facilities in the U.S. that prints money. The bureau offers free 45-minute self-guided tours on weekdays year-round, and you can watch actual dollars being printed. There are also demonstration exhibits and historical artifacts, which include a turn-of-the-century spider press. No reservations are necessary, so tell your kids to grab their wallets for a visit to the "money factory."
Space Cadets: The Monnig Meteorite Gallery
Meteorites aren't so far away at Fort Worth's Monnig Meteorite Gallery (2950 West Bowie St., Fort Worth, TX). The museum, which has free admission daily, offers a chance to explore the mysteries of space rocks with interactive exhibits and activities. Your kids will love the hands-on encounters with different types of meteorites, and they can even create their own terrestrial impact crater (don't worry, you'll learn what that is when you get there). Visit Monday to Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Don't forget your spacesuit!
Let It Bloom: Fort Worth Botanic Garden
Want to spend some time outside? More than 2,500 species of plants grow in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden (3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth, TX), which houses 23 different gardens. Explore the tropics in the Conservatory, or embrace the changing climate in the Four Seasons Garden. You can even learn about growing vegetables, composting and water conservation as you meander through this living museum. Your kids will love the strange plants in the Cactus Garden, and the Botanic Garden shifts its features each month depending on the weather, so there's always something to see. The main gardens are free daily, but you can choose to add the Japanese Garden to your itinerary for a small fee ($7 for adults and $4 for kids 4 to 12). Be sure to stop and smell the roses—there are plenty!
Walk It Out: Trinity Trails
If you're ready to move, hit Fort Worth's Trinity Trails (Northside Drive and Samuels Avenue, Fort Worth, TX). The trails run for 40 miles along the picturesque Trinity River, so you can walk or bicycle through the parks and past the boating launches. Stop for a picnic at one of the 17 trailheads, or bring along some fishing gear to try your luck in the water. The trails are open year-round (although certain activities are weather-permitting), and it's the perfect way to keep your kids active. Just don't forget to slow down occasionally and enjoy the views.