Magnolia Market at the Silos and Joanna and Chip Gaines are undoubtedly the biggest tourist attractions in Waco, Texas. The popularity of Joanna and Chip Gaines and their HGTV show, Fixer Upper, have been a boost to tourism in Waco. Before our day trip to Waco, we wondered if there were other points of interest that we should take in during our visit. We found a few not-to-be-missed sites.
Mr. MT Nest knew that Waco was the birthplace of one of his favorite soft drinks, Dr. Pepper. As it turns out, there is a Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. It is actually within walking distance from Magnolia Market. We picked up coupons at Magnolia for $2 off Admission to the Museum. The museum is located in a lovely historic building.
The museum chronicles the history of Dr. Pepper and other soft drinks, including advertising campaigns used at different times.
The building has some beautiful features, marbled bartop,tin ceilings, wood paneling, carved trimwork, old lighting fixtures, leaded glass. It also contains lots of interesting artifacts.
Isn’t this old cash register gorgeous?!
We also found out that one of the newest National Parks is located in Waco. In July 2015 President Obama signed an Executive Order designating the Waco Mammoth National Monument.
This is a paleontological site where the nation’s only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths was made. Columbian mammoths were…mammoth! They were bigger than the more familiar Woolly Mammoths. They stood 14 feet tall at the shoulder. In the picture below, the mark on the light pole is 14 feet. Mr. MT Nest is 6 feet tall. Columbian mammoths weighed 20,000 pounds.
Most of the bones of the nursery herd that were excavated on this site were removed and now are on exhibit at the Mayborn Museum at Baylor University in Waco. We didn’t have enough time in Waco to visit that museum but we did visit the Mammoth Monument. The Park Ranger who lead our tour said that it is believed there are more mammoths still to be discovered in the surrounding area.
The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a dig site enclosed by a building to protect the site. There you can view “in situ” fossils including female mammoths, a bull mammoth, and a camel that lived approximately 67,000 years ago.
There are two murals in the building. One shows the actual size of a Columbian Mammoth (See photo above.) The second mural depicts the disastrous flash flooding that scientists believe was responsible for deaths of the mammoths and other animals whose remains have been found in the area, which is the explanation for the mammoths being found in such a large group.
If you ever visit Waco, I highly recommend that you include this National Park in your itinerary. You only need to allow about 90 minutes to this attraction, and it is well worth the time! How many times will you have a chance to view an excavation of actual mammoth bones?
We learned that the development of the town of Waco was greatly facilitated by construction of a suspension bridge over the Brazos river in 1868.
Prior to construction of the bridge, crossing the river was difficult and often dangerous. Cattle drives used the bridge to cross the river and the town grew. This is now a pedestrian bridge and a tribute to the history of Waco. In the green space on near the entrance to the bridge bigger-than-life-sized bronze cowboys on horseback “drive” cattle toward the bridge.
In the green space on near the entrance to the bridge bigger-than-life-sized bronze cowboys on horseback “drive” cattle toward the bridge.
Our day in Waco was a thoroughly enjoyable exploration. From our shopping trip to Magnolia Market to our mammoth experience, we enjoyed every minute of our time in Waco!
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