Waco Things to Do Tips by ATXtraveler Top 5 Page for this destination
Waco Things to Do: 59 reviews and 106 photos
Waco's Suspension Bridge
Until late 1869, crossing the Brazos River at Waco could be a risky undertaking. Until then, the only way to cross was by ferry or by fording the river when the water was low. Capt. Shapley Ross had operated a primitive ferry across the river at Waco since 1849. But the Brazos could be treacherous after a rain and sometimes was impassable for days at a time. Commerce, especially the cattle drives coming through the growing town on the Chisholm Trail, needed a more secure crossing.
Construction began with the excavation for the footings of the twin double towers that would anchor the span. The towers, which required 2.7 million locally produced bricks to construct, were topped with crenelated ornamentation resembling a medieval castle. Workmen carried wires across the river to form the massive cables that would support the wooden roadway.
The span was completed in late December 1869, and the first tolls were collected on Jan. 1, 1870. The $141,000 structure -- the first bridge across the Brazos -- was dedicated five days later. The main span was so wide that two stagecoaches could pass each other, and it was 475 feet long.
Not only did the bridge company charge people to cross, but it also collected five cents per head from cattle drovers "for each loose animal of the cattle kind" that used the span. Since the Chisholm Trail went through Waco, a large number of cattle lumbered across, which helped the bridge company to retire its debt. Most drovers, however, still chose the cheaper alternative of swimming their herds across the Brazos.
(History courtesy of Texas almanac).
Alico Building - Waco
1910, Waco Texas
Although Skyscrapers were old news in New York and Chicago, visionaries of Texas were looking to grow into the heart of an economical revolution. Artemas Roberts of Waco was determined to make that heart grow in Waco. Artemas founded the Amicable Life Insurance Company in a 22 story tall building on 5th and Austin in Waco, and had the foresight to build this skyscraper with hurricane grade materials.
This proved to be wonderful insight, as the building suffered through the Waco Tornado of 1953, which destroyed all of downtown.
For many years, the ALICO tower stood as Texas' tallest building.
Still to this day, people use this building as its structure truly has stood the test of time.
Address: 5th and Austin Streets in Waco
McLennan County Courthouse
Inspired by St. Peter's Cathedral, Waco's McLennan County Courthouse really is a must see on a trip through town.
This facility was built in 1901, which throughout all my travels sure was a popular decade to be a courthouse builder!
This actually was the third courthouse built in the span of 50 years in McLennan County as the town expanded.
Address: 501 Washington St
Phone: (254) 757-5049
Texas Sports Hall of Fame
Babe Zaharias, Mary Lou Retton, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Mike Singletary, Payne Stewart, David Robinson...
What do all of these athletes have in common? They are all inductees into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Any athlete, coach or administrator, male or female, living or deceased, is eligible for induction into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Nominees will be selected who have brought lasting fame and honor to Texas sports. The committee has decided that sportswriters will not be eligible for induction.
This is definitely an interesting look into Texas fame... definitely worth a trip!
Address: 1108 S. University Parks Dr
Other Contact: Monday-Saturday 9-5, Sunday 12-5
Jeanes Discovery Center
One of the most exciting new buildings on the Baylor Campus is the new Jeanes Discovery Center. For many years, including the time I was in school here, there were tons of material on Central Texas' Pre-Historic times, as well as other natural history stored in the basement of one of our science buildings. With the donation of the Jeanes' Baylor has been able to add a premier location for children to visit and learn more about history. In addition, Baylor has added several scientific "exploration" stations where children can learn about physical science.
Address: 1300 S. University-Parks
Directions: Open 10-5 daily, 10-8 on Thursday, and 1-5 on Sundays.
Baylor's Ferrell Center
Baylor University has done alot of the past few years to build up its campus centers. One of the nicest facilities on campus is the sports arena and special events center. The Ferrell Center has been home to concerts by Tim McGraw, Comedians like Bill Cosby, Monster Truck Shows, and of course Mens and Womens Basketball games.
Address: 150 Bear Run
Fort Fisher Park
On the ground that used to be called Fort Fisher, the City of Waco has designated the area a city park now. It is also the area that contains the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum as well as the Waco Vistors Center and the First St. Cemetery.
This is a nice area to park your car, and take a stroll around the complex. You can also walk to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame from the other end of the park.
Picnic Facilities are also available. Established in 1970 as a city park.
Address: I-35 and University Parks Dr.
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame
During my first trip to Waco in 1995, my mother and I ventured over to the Texas Ranger Museum, where we were treated to a wonderful trip into the History of Texas, and how the wonderful protectors of Texas known as the Texas Rangers were formed and still today have such control over this state/nation :)
One of the portions of the museum that my mother especially liked was the section dedicated to the women of the Texas Rangers.
Address: 100 Texas Ranger Trail
Directions: Exit 335B, I-35 at University Parks Dr.
Adults $5.00, Children (ages 6-12) $2.50
Phone: (254) 750-8631
Judge Joy, Baylor Mascot eating some Aggie
Most colleges and universities have mascots, and quite a few of the more pleasant mascots actually have the live animal associated with that mascot. Not many however, have to get a official zookeeper's license to keep their animal! That is the case at the Bear Plaza on Baylor University's campus:
The bears may be seen at the Steve Hudson Memorial Bear Plaza located in the center of the Baylor campus. "The Pit" as it is known on campus was built in 1976 and is classified as a Class 'C' Exhibitor Zoo. It is licensed to hold up to three North American Black Bears and is regulated and licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Address: Baylor University Campus on 5th St.
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