The Fort Worth Stockyards' big draw is the twice daily cattle drive through the main strip in town. Individuals on horseback, or drovers, drive the cattle through the street while visitors line the sidewalk to watch the event. The whole process lasts not more than a few minutes, but the anticipation that builds and the enormity of these animals and their long horns are well worth it.
We spent a day at the Fort Worth Stockyards this past June when visiting family in Dallas. Apparently when my brother and his family moved there this was high up on people’s list of suggested things to do around town. The cattle drive happens twice a day. We went to the first one at 11:30am and then stuck around for the Legends of Texas Gunfight show, which starts right after the cattle drive.
The cattle drive itself is impressive and almost a little frightening. There is nothing separating you and the massive long horn cattle. You feel pretty darn close standing on the sidewalk watching them walk down the street. We kept the littlest ones up in our arms just in case.
Afterwards, we walked down the strip over to the Legends of Texas Gunfight show. I was surprised that our 3-year-old was not scared by the sounds of gun shots, especially when amplified by a speaker that he happened to be positioned in front of. However, our 1-year-old was not up for all the loud noises, nor the patience to sit still and watch the reenactment. So he and I wondered off so he could stretch his legs, while the others stayed to watch.
Later we went to see the long horn cattle in the pens behind the Livestock Exchange Building which you can access by walking right through the building out the door in the back. We also walked up on the Observation Deck and then proceeded to meander around town for a short while. We decided to pass on sitting down to eat anything in the town as we figured the prices would be fairly high.
If we were to go again, we would likely give Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican restaurant a try, only a couple of blocks away. It had great reviews online and what appeared to have a beautiful courtyard. However, the wait seemed longer than the little ones could handle and we thought it’d be best to get everyone a quick snack and in the car headed home.
While the whole area certainly felt dressed up for tourists, it did give you a feeling for what life in the West was like, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The brick streets, old wagon wheels, weathered fences, market stalls, and Texas flags flying all contributed to a feeling of authenticity and excitement for the day.
What to Do:
- Cattle Drive
- Legends of Texas Gunfight Show
- Pens behind the Livestock Exchange Building
- Observation Deck
Where to Eat:
- Possibly Joe T. Garcia's (we didn't go ourselves, but would try it next time)
- Bring some snacks