Abilene Community


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

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)

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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
Abilene Western Inn
774 E. Business 20
Abilene Whitten Inn, Expo
840 E. Business 20
Abilene Whitten Inn, Univ.
1625 Hwy. 351 @ I-20
Alamo Motel
2957 South 1st
Antilley Inn
6550 U.S. Hwy. 83
Best Budget Inn
3153 South 1st
Best Western Inn & Suites
350 I-20 West
Best Western Mall South
3950 Ridgemont Dr.
Blue Willow B&B
435 College Dr.
Budget Host Colonial Inn
3210 Pine St
Candlewood Suites Hotel
3050 Catclaw Drive
Century Lodge
3509 South 1st
Civic Plaza Hotel
505 Pine St.
Comfort Inn
1758 E. I-20
Comfort Suites
3165 S. Danville Dr.
Courtyard by Marriott
4350 Ridgemont Dr.
Days Inn
1702 I-20 East
1633 W. Stamford
Executive Inn
1650 I-20 East
Fairfield Inn by Marriott
3902 Turner Plaza
Hampton Inn
3917 Ridgemont Dr.
Hashknife Bed & Breakfast
1618 Cedar Crest Dr.
Holiday Inn Exp.
1802 E. I-20
Holiday Inn Exp. Mall S.
3112 S. Clack
Howard Johnson Plaza
5403 S. 1st
LaQuinta Inn
3501 West Lake Rd.
La Quinta Inns & Suites
Abilene Mall
3018 Catclaw Drive
MCM Elegante' Suites
4250 Ridgemont Dr.
Motel 6
4951 W. Stamford
Ponca Motel
3101 South 1st
Regency Inn & Suites
3450 South Clack
Royal Inn
5695 South 1st
Sayles Ranch Guest House
1001 Sayles Blvd.
Sparhawk's B&B
3695 South 1st
Super 8
I-20 & Hwy. 351
Travel Inn
2202 I-20
Tower Motel
3417 South 1st
Vintage House B&B
1541 N. 4th
Western Motel
3201 South 1st
Restaurants (Click on Visitors, then Dining)
Specialty Shopping
Antique & Almost
141A Clyde St.
Antique Gallery
2544 Barrow
Antique Station
703 N. 3rd
Blue Star Antiques
1041 Lytle at Hwy. 89
Buffalo Gap Flea Market
Hwy. 89
Butternut Resale
302 Butternut
By Hand & Nature
911 N. Mockingbird
Classic Collections
833 Butternut
Country Flea Market
4051 West Lake Rd.
Crafter's Gallery
2626 Barrow
The Crossing
1505 South 14th
Daze Gone By
834 Walnut
Elmdale Flea Market
5423 E. Bus 20
Elmwood Antique Centre
3910 S. 7th @ Leggett
Fabulous Finds
715 Grape
Flossie's Discoveries
1601 Butternut
By Chance?
1601 Butternut
Frontier Flea Market
781 Walnut
Graham Street Antiques
408 Graham
Hazel's House of Fine Junk
1117 Pine
The Honeycomb Tree
865 Walnut
Interiors Consignment
4130 N. 1st
It's About Time
1395 Albany @ S. 14th
Lookin' Back
1415 S. 1st
Lydian Market
1706 S. 20th
Made from Scratch
613 Hickory
Menagerie of Memories
2425 S. 7th
Precious Memories
4893 E. Bus. 20
Purple Buffalo
2701 FM 89
Record Guys
2429 S. 7th
166 N. 2nd
Shades of Gray
1321 S. Danville
Sharon's Specialties
721 Hickory
Terry's Treasures
826 Butternut
Yesterdaze Mall
2626 E. Bus. 20
Communities and Related Links
Albany Community
Abilene, Texas Web Site

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