Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fort Worth Fun: Brewery Tour & The Stock Yards

After driving half-way across the country and getting settled in our temporary Texas home we had our first visitor. One of Jeff's best friends, Ed, lives in Tyler and drove up for a Saturday of Fort Worth Fun.

We were so excited to explore our new home that as soon as Ed stepped into our apartment we were rushing him back out the door to the Rahr & Sons Brewing Company. Turns out this place is walking distance from our downtown location s0 there was no need to drive - who knew? Anyway, Rahr has Brewery tours and tastings every Wednesday and Saturday and this is a must do for your time in Fort Worth. There is a $7 entrance fee for 3 tastings, which are more like full pints, plus you get to keep your Rahr glass. (You can see our glasses sitting in the conveyor belt in the lower right hand side of the picture) In addition to the tour and tastings there was food for purchase and live music - making it the perfect Saturday afternoon outing. I would recommend walking if you are going to to complete your three "tastings" or make this your whole days activity. With more of Fort Worth to explore, we gave away our remaining tickets and headed to the Stock Yards.

The Fort Worth Stockyards are on the other side of downtown, so three minutes later we were parked and walking down the stockyard streets. While the area has a bit of a touristy feel, it has become one of my favorite places. On this particular Saturday afternoon, we arrived just in time to see the 4pm cattle drive heading our way. Twice a day (11:30am and 4pm) the world's only twice daily cattle drive of city owned longhorn come straight through the stockyards for all to see. After the cattle drive is over you can walk up on an elevated walkway over the cattle pens for a real up close view of the animals.

If your down at the stockyards you might as well head into the Stockyards Museum. (Admission to the museum is by donation - a $2 donation is suggested.) Initially it is hard to tell if you have entered a museum or a store, as the two share the small space. There is a collection of barbed wire, the cursed wedding dress that inspired a book and other strange Texas collections. The highlight of the museum is the "Eternal Light." As the second oldest continuously burning light bulb in the world, it draws the most attention. It was screwed into its socket in 1908 over a stage door in the Fort Worth Opera House , but has since been moved, while encased and still lit, into the Stockyards Museum. Once you stare into the Eternal Light you'll think "they sure don't make 'em like they used to." In case you can't get to Fort Worth in time, because, lets face it, the light will eventually go out, I've included a picture of the Eternal Light from our January visit at the bottom of this post. (I know your dying to know that the world's oldest continuously burning light bulb is in a fire house in San Jose.)

Another worthy stop while you are down at the Stockyards is the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. Admission is $5, but it is free for Active Duty Military. Each Hall of Fame inductee has a little "stall" featuring information and memorabilia. I was amazed at how many of the names I recognized! The more modern inductees have videos you can watch showing them roping or bull riding. The museum also has quite the collection of things that horses pulled - everything from old stagecoaches to more modern farm wagons. This museum appeals to the little cowboy and girl in all of us - the one that used to run around in the backyard on the toy horse. If you have little ones with you there is plenty of room to run around and there some some exhibits aimed at kids.

The stockyards have plenty of other attractions to offer - but we didn't want to do it all in one day. If you are only in town for the weekend you could spend a whole afternoon down here - there are plenty of touristy shops to go into, fake gunfights and even a mini rodeo you can attend. We were pretty tuckered out (probably from the early brewery visit) so we headed back to the apartment for a home cooked meal.

If your just visiting Fort Worth, military lodging is available through the Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base - its only 20 min from the downtown and has a commissary and other services.

Alright... I know this is what you have been waiting for. Please enjoy the really old light bulb!

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