What To Do In Waco, Texas
Are you wondering what there is to do in Waco? If you are looking for something interesting or fun to do, there are many opportunities in and around the city. There are museums, lots of park space, bowling alleys, sporting events, tourist attractions, Baylor University, a range of restaurant types and there is lots of water - Lake Waco and the Brazos and Bosque Rivers. With all of these features, this small city has something for everyone.
Below, I give an overview of highlights on what to do and where to go, mentioning each of the features or places above. Knowledgeable Wacoans may note that I have omitted one or more places in or near Waco. Regarding two specific locations that I recommend, there are dedicated articles on the Homestead Heritage Village and the Texas Rangers Museum.
A map is included below to help you find the parks mentioned in the article. You will note that some of the places mentioned are found outside of the city limits of Waco, like in Midway and along Lake Waco, but they are all within a 10-15 minute drive from most points. Addresses are also provided for most locations that aren't on the map.
The Waco Mammoth Site
On Steinbeck Bend Road, between the Brazos and Bosque Rivers, and near the Waco Airport, bones of the Columbian Mammoth were discovered recently. This site is unique, as it represents an area that has flooded several times over the last 50,000 years and there is a type of slippery, expansive clay (bentonite) that led to the animals being trapped at the site during a flood event. This creek bed mud has trapped other types of animals as well.
The exposed remains of several mammoths can be seen, as well as one calf, a saber tooth kitten and a camel. The largest male mammoth is believed to have been twice the size of an Indian Elephant. The site is not fully excavated, and it is believed many more remains will be found entrapped within the clay. Both the City of Waco and Baylor University are involved in the management of the site, and they have erected a building to enclose the dig site to protect the bones from deterioration. The modest entrance fee helps staff and maintain this important historical site.
Waco Area Parks
There are several parks in the Waco Area, some of which are on Lake Waco, and there is William Cameron Park on the Brazos River. Cameron Park is a 416-acre park that has limestone bluffs in its northern portion and an expansive overlook called Lover's Leap. There are bike and hiking trails, disc golf and several picnic areas. Because it is densely forested, it is a great place to go birding. There is also a kayak trail that extends to the Bosque River.
Cameron East park lies along the eastern shore of the Brazos River, and it also has a disc golf course. You can also find a disc golf course in Midway Park, located in the Woodway suburb to the west of Waco. This course is situated on a hill along the south shore of Lake Waco.
If you are interested in camping, Midway Park and Airport Park have spaces for RV and tents. Airport Park is located on the northern shore of Lake Waco, where there is a marina and lots of picnic areas. Hunters can hunt deer, ducks and geese on the land nearby along Lake Waco, as well.
Riverbend Ballpark is a great place to play or watch baseball or softball games. Weekends are the best time to go to the park to see games and tournaments for adults, youth and girl's fast pitch softball. There is also the nearby Hawaiian Falls Water Park on the other side of Lake Shore Drive to entertain the kids.
Location of Parks And The Waco Mammoth Site
The Dr. Pepper Museum
This downtown museum features history and memorabilia from the soft drink that was invented in Waco. This turn-of-the-centrury bottling plant is on the National Register of Historic Places. The front entrance of the building is shown in the photo above, but guests enter on the side where you can see an old delivery truck shown in the photo to the right. While you are enjoying the history and artwork, stop by the soda fountain and have a Dr. Pepper float.
More Things to Do in Waco, Texas
Shopping. Richland Mall is located at the intersection of Highways 6 and 84. This mall has the major department stores Bealls, J. C. Penney, Dillards and Sears, as well as many other specialty stores that have kitchen ware, sports wear, shoes and home decoration items. People also go there for a little walking exercise because of the air conditioning. Another major shopping area is located at the intersection of Highway 6 and Interstate 35. There you will find a Best Buy and a Bed and Beyond. Both of these shopping areas have some excellent restaurants to choose from
Bowling. There are two AMF bowling lanes, one located on Bosque Boulevard and another on Waco Drive. You may have conflicts with league bowling on weekday nights. On Saturday nights, they turn off the lane lights and have black lights on after 10 PM, to challenge and confuse the bowlers.
Golfing. Here are your choices:
- James Connally Golf Course - a 72 par pasture golf course, located at 7900 Concord Rd.
- Twin Rivers Golf Club - designed by a PGA professional, found at 1000 Bear Ridge Dr.
- Cottonwood Creek Golf Course - managed by the City of Waco, this public course is on 5201 Bagby.
- Ridgewood Country Club - this private club has its clubhouse on 7300 Fish Pond Rd.
- Lake Waco Golf and Country Club - located near the airport, this course allows guests with members and has daily fees.
Sporting Events - Besides softball and baseball at the Riverbend Ball Park, you can go to Baylor University to see men's and women's basketball and football. The women's basketball team won the national championship in 2011.
Water Recreation - With the Brazos and Bosque Rivers, and Lake Waco, there are ample boating and fishing opportunities. As mentioned above, a new kayak trail has been implemented in Cameron Park.
What to Do, What to Do
Obviously, there are many recreational, sporting events, museum and shopping opportunities that can keep one occupied in and around Waco. The city is large enough to have most of the modern conveniences and space for recreation for those who want to get outdoors. The abundance of parks, and the rivers and lakes, make for an abundance of opportunities for those with active lifestyles.