Abilene, Texas is a popular city for Texas history buffs since it was once a frontier settlement. Due to its historical significance, there are a number of great museums found here. However, all types of travelers can enjoy a visit to this Texas town that has a number of top-notch attractions. Enjoy this unique town in the Lone Star State by experiencing these 9 best things to do in Abilene.
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The Abilene Zoo (Prices & Photos)
One of the most popular attractions in Abilene is the Abilene Zoo. Home to over 1,000 animals and 250 different species, this zoo is a great spot for a family outing. Feed a giraffe, ride a train around the park or view exotic critters from around the world. The zoo isn’t just a place to view animals but also a resource to learn more about wildlife, since there are educational classes that cater to a variety of ages offered here.
12th Armored Division Memorial Museum (Prices & Photos)
Home of the Hellcats, the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum is a historical center dedicated to World War II’s 12th Armored tank division. This Abilene museum houses memorabilia from the era, and is also the perfect place to visit to learn more about the history of World War II. Not only take a tour of this privately-owned museum, but also enjoy an educational program hosted here as well. With three floors full of artifacts, photos and exhibits, it’s a great way to spend a rainy afternoon in Abilene.
The Grace Museum (Prices & Photos)
The Old West is alive at The Grace Museum. This abilene cultural center is home to art and historical artifacts in its five art galleries. The building that houses the Grace Museum wasn’t always a museum but a hotel that was built in 1905. Now however this art gallery is home to both permanent and rotating exhibits that are sure to please visitors of all ages. This museum also holds both youth and adult educational programs.
Fort Phantom Hill (Prices & Photos)
Take a self-guided tour through this historic site that was once a popular outpost for travelers in the 1850s. Fort Phantom Hill, which spans 38 acres, is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Remains of the original structures are still found on the site, and visitors are free to roam the grounds. Fort Phantom Hill is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and learn about Texas’ rich history.
Frontier Texas! (Prices & Photos)
Frontier Texas! is a state-of-the-art museum that focuses on the American West. Complete with interactive exhibits and fun displays, this Abilene museum makes learning exciting and captivating. Found in downtown Abilene, Frontier Texas! is also home to the town’s official visitors center, where newcomers can learn about the city and the Texas Forts Trail Region. During your visit, don’t miss out on the surround-sound theater and the gift shop.
Morgan Jones Planetarium (Prices & Photos)
Learn the secrets of the universe at Morgan Jones Planetarium. This family-friendly attraction draws star lovers and planet nerds daily. Enjoy the small exhibit in the foyer, but don’t miss out on the large theater room, where you can enjoy a star show as if you were actually looking up at the dark night sky. Morgan Jones Planetarium also holds a variety of programs, including school field trips and informative lectures.
Pappy Slokum Brewing Co. (Prices & Photos)
Deal with the Texas heat by indulging in a cool craft beer from Pappy Slokum Brewing Co. This Abilene-based brewery is a small craft brewer that produces handcrafted beers. Although the tap room is only open on select days, it’s a popular spot to be for beer lovers in Abilene. From the Caddo Peak Porter to the Uber Weiss Hefeweizen, there is a brew by Pappy Slokum Brewery that is sure to please all types of taste buds.
Historic Paramount Theatre (Prices & Photos)
Enjoy a live show or a great film at the historic Paramount Theatre. This theatre, which was built in 1930, features elegant architecture and decor features, so even if you don’t view a show here, the beautiful interior is still worth a visit. Complete with modern upgrades, the Paramount Theatre regularly hosts live shows from the Abilene Ballet Theatre, Abilene Performing Arts Company and other art companies in the area.
National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (Prices & Photos)
Abilene, Texas is known as the “Official Storybook Capital of Texas.” Browse downtown Abilene to enjoy hints of children’s literature throughout the city, such as the Cat in the Hat statue. However one of the best places to visit for story time is the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. This center is full of illustrations from famous children’s books. And on a weekly basis, this free museum hosts art and learning classes for young ones.