Abilene Community

Lakes

Fort Phantom, Lytle, Kirby and Abilene

When in Abilene, Here's 10 Things You Just Gotta Do!

From an early frontier village to a restored historic theatre-from The Grace Museum to a sampling of western culture-Abilene offers an unexpected array of adventures

1. Frontier Texas!

In the same way that Texas' early frontier forts established a protective gateway at the edge of western civilization, Frontier Texas! establishes itself as a welcoming gateway at the limits of downtown Abilene where visitors can relive the Old West with the help of state-of-the-art technology in a 14,000-square-foot facility on 6.4 acres. Frontier Texas! brings the frontier to life by introducing visitors to people who played out their lives on the Texas frontier. Life-sized holographic spirit guides tell dramatic first-hand stories about the hardships of settling this region. A multimedia circular theatre recreates life on the early frontier--from Indian attacks to buffalo stampedes, saloon shoot-outs and even the wild fury of a prairie thunderstorm. Frontier Texas! serves as a visitor's center for the City of Abilene and the Texas Forts Trail region, a 650-mile heritage tourism loop that starts and ends in Abilene.

625 North First Street
325-437-2800

2. Abilene Zoo

Go really, really wild at the Abilene Zoo! Visitor's can stroll through the wilds and compare animals that utilize grasslands from North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia and cares for more than 800 animals representing more than 200 species. The zoo maintains three species of primates, African, Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras and several aquariums and provides an enriching environment in which plants and animals offer an ever-changing, exciting, educational and recreational experience. Visitors are encouraged to explore the zoo's Discovery Center through a "Habitrek," learning how West Texas is similar to Africa with several exhibits, including the Hyena and Black Bear. The Zoo's education department provides an abundance of programs throughout the year. Don't forget to buy crackers to feed the giraffes!

2070 Zoo Lane in Nelson Park (across from Taylor County Expo Center)
325-673-9453

3. The Grace Museum

The Grace Museum houses three museums in the historic Grace Hotel the Art Museum, the History Museum and the Children's Museum. The four story, 55,000-square-foot, missions-revival style building represents the hopes of the western frontier. The museum enriches the cultural life of Abilene and the West Texas region through its permanent collections, special exhibits, classes, seminars and special events. The elegant marble ballroom, glass loggia, large enclosed brick courtyard, restored lobby and open-air rooftop terrace provide a memorable setting for weddings and special events.

102 Cypress Street
325-673-4587

4. Buffalo Gap Historic Village

In ancient days, great herds of buffalo favored the gap in the Callahan Divide, a few miles south of present-day Abilene, and it soon became a favored camping place for native peoples. The site of the original settlement in Taylor County, Buffalo Gap Historic Village features the first county courthouse, jail and 17 buildings with Western and Indian artifacts and originated as a historical site in 1956. The village today preserves and presents the history and heritage of the Texas frontier. Featured are rotating exhibits on special historic items and events, with living history demonstrations given on weekends.

133 N. William Street
Buffalo Gap, TX
325-572-3365

5. The Center for Contemporary Arts

The mission for the Center for Contemporary Arts is to provide enriching and educational experiences for the region's communities through the promotion and support of artists. It envisions a future where regional communities are enriched by greater exposure to the arts, and is a valuable asset to the Abilene community. The Center preserves and strengthens cultural heritage while showcasing and promoting regional art and artists. Located in Historic Downtown Abilene, the center is home to more than 75 artist members, with four galleries and 10 studios.

220 Cypress
325-677-8389

6. Paramount Theatre

One of Abilene's most interesting features is the historic Paramount Theatre, located in the heart of downtown. Built in 1930, this magnificent movie palace is a monument to a by-gone era in America, when movie-going was prime entertainment. Restored in 1986, it features arched columns, two grand staircases, hand-blown glass chandeliers, Pueblo-Deco artwork ceilings and a 1,200-seat auditorium with twin-domed turrets, and a velvet blue ceiling with drifting clouds and twinkling stars. The Paramount now offers the periodic showing of classic films, concerts, live theatre and touring shows.

352 Cypress St.
325-676-9620

7. 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum

In the short span of five months, the 12th Armored Division became one of the most feared fighting machines of World War II. The memorial museum houses the Division's historical collection, serves as a teaching museum for the study of WWII and its impact on the American people, offers academic access to historical material, and provides educational programs for children.

1289 N. 2nd
325-677-6515

8. National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature

The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) is a non-profit organization committed to children and literacy. Located in a beautifully renovated 1920-style building, the NCCIL provides recognition of the artistic achievements of child illustrators, and designs educational programming that relates to illustrations in children's literature in order to stimulate creativity, promote literacy and increase appreciation for art. A bronze statue, Childhood's Great Adventure, welcomes children to climb aboard the sculpture and sail off on imaginary adventures in their canoe, which rests on a large book.

North First and Cedar St.
325-673-4586

9. Performing Arts

Abilene Ballet Theatre

Founded in 1985, The Abilene Ballet Theatre is the only regional ballet company in Abilene's history. The company holds performances twice yearly, in the historic Paramount Theatre under the artistic direction of Nancy Gore and Mary Milstead.

Broadway in Abilene

Broadway in Abilene has entertained more than 30,000 people with shows and musicals in past seasons that include Stomp, South Pacific, Grease and David Copperfield. Performances are held in the newly remodeled Abilene Civic Center auditorium.

Abilene Opera Association

The Opera Association presents periodic productions in the historic Paramount Theatre.

Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra

For more than 50 years, this professional orchestra has performed classical and pops concerts featuring world renowned guest artists and conductors.

10. Shopping, Western Style

When cowboys want to shop, they head for Abilene!  Western heritage runs strong when it comes to shopping, with a variety of western-themed stores to tempt the unsuspecting. A dying art thrives at James Leddy Boots, where hand-crafted western boots begin with a custom fitting and finish with a perfect fit. Visitors are welcome to stop in and watch this superb craftsman at work. Once fitted for boots, a cowboy needs a saddle. Art Reed has been making custom saddles, chaps and belts for more than 33 years in his small, unique shop. At 5D custom Hats and Leather, owner Damon Albus stocks a wide selection of cowboy accessories and crafts custom hats. It doesn't stop there! A cowboy needs so much more, and Abilene has it all- from fine leather goods to perfect-fitting hats; from custom belts and buckles to a made-to-order pair of spurs. Abilene, Western style!

Annual Events
Accommodations
Abilene Western Inn 774 E. Business 20 915-675-0050
Abilene Whitten Inn, Expo 840 E. Business 20 800-880-7666
Abilene Whitten Inn, Univ. 1625 Hwy. 351 @ I-20 800-588-5050
Alamo Motel 2957 South 1st 915-676-7149
Antilley Inn 6550 U.S. Hwy. 83 800-959-1001
Best Budget Inn 3153 South 1st 915-673-4251
Best Western Inn & Suites 350 I-20 West 866-672-5501
Best Western Mall South 3950 Ridgemont Dr. 800-346-1574
Blue Willow B&B 435 College Dr. 915-677-8420
Budget Host Colonial Inn 3210 Pine St 888-672-5293
Century Lodge 3509 South 1st 915-677-8557
Civic Plaza Hotel 505 Pine St. 800-588-0222
Comfort Inn 1758 E. I-20 800-228-5150
Comfort Suites 3165 S. Danville Dr. 800-517-4000
Courtyard by Marriott 4350 Ridgemont Dr. 800-321-2211
Days Inn 1702 I-20 East 800-375-6433
EconoLodge 1633 W. Stamford 800-55-ECONO
Executive Inn 1650 I-20 East 877-750-6918
Fairfield Inn by Marriott 3902 Turner Plaza 800-228-2800
Hampton Inn 3917 Ridgemont Dr. 800-426-7866
Hashknife Bed & Breakfast 1618 Cedar Crest Dr. 915-675-6867
Holiday Inn Exp. 1802 E. I-20 800-Holiday
Holiday Inn Exp. Mall S. 3112 S. Clack 800-Holiday
Howard Johnson Plaza 5403 S. 1st 915-795-8888
LaQuinta Inn 3501 West Lake Rd.

800-531-5900

MCM Elegante' Suites 4250 Ridgemont Dr. 888-897-9644
Motel 6 4951 W. Stamford 800-466-8356
Ponca Motel 3101 South 1st 915-673-9682
Regency Inn & Suites 3450 South Clack 800-676-7262
Royal Inn 5695 South 1st 800-588-4Fun
Sayles Ranch Guest House 1001 Sayles Blvd. 915-669-6856
Sparhawk's B&B 3695 South 1st 915-338-7949
Super 8 I-20 & Hwy. 351 800-800-8000
Travel Inn 2202 I-20 915-677-2463
Tower Motel 3417 South 1st 915-672-7849
Vintage House B&B 1541 N. 4th 915-677-8386
Western Motel 3201 South 1st 915-672-7858
Restaurants (Click on Visitors, then Dining)
Specialty Shopping
Antique & Almost 141A Clyde St. 915-695-2423
Antique Gallery 2544 Barrow 915-692-2422
Antique Station 703 N. 3rd 915-675-6100
Blue Star Antiques 1041 Lytle at Hwy. 89 915-572-3698
Buffalo Gap Flea Market Hwy. 89 915-572-3327
Butternut Resale 302 Butternut  
By Hand & Nature 911 N. Mockingbird 915-673-4334
Classic Collections 833 Butternut 915-672-0202
Country Flea Market 4051 West Lake Rd. 915-673-4550
Crafter's Gallery 2626 Barrow 915-695-3257
The Crossing 1505 South 14th 915-672-5325
Daze Gone By 834 Walnut 915-673-4635
Elmdale Flea Market 5423 E. Bus 20  
Elmwood Antique Centre 3910 S. 7th @ Leggett 915-670-0400
Fabulous Finds 715 Grape 915-677-5110
Flossie's Discoveries 1601 Butternut 915-668-2801
By Chance? 1601 Butternut 915-672-9664
Frontier Flea Market 781 Walnut 915-672-2119
Graham Street Antiques 408 Graham 915-554-7488
Hazel's House of Fine Junk 1117 Pine 915-672-8563
The Honeycomb Tree 865 Walnut 915-338-8102
Interiors Consignment 4130 N. 1st 915-672-3544
It's About Time 1395 Albany @ S. 14th 915-692-7239
Lookin' Back 1415 S. 1st 915-677-1366
Lydian Market 1706 S. 20th

915-338-1671

Made from Scratch 613 Hickory

915-676-7117

Menagerie of Memories 2425 S. 7th 915-675-6940
Precious Memories 4893 E. Bus. 20 915-668-8060
Purple Buffalo 2701 FM 89 915-572-5185
Record Guys 2429 S. 7th 915-674-9191
Restore 166 N. 2nd 915-673-4748
Shades of Gray 1321 S. Danville 915-437-3254
Sharon's Specialties 721 Hickory 915-672-1793
Terry's Treasures 826 Butternut 915-660-7020
Yesterdaze Mall 2626 E. Bus. 20 915-676-9030

Communities and Related Links

Albany Community
Abilene, Texas Web Site

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