Back in February we visited Texas and I gotta tell you….I’m sold.
For the first few days we stayed at the Stockyard Hotel and it was like being the center of the cowboy universe. It was amazing! I can totally see the appeal of living on a giant ranch and having little cowboy boots and hats everywhere and caring for these huge majestic creatures like horses and longhorns. The entire time the boys were super excited to stroll around the streets, take pictures with all of the gorgeous murals and get into the Texas swing of things.
The hotel itself was right in the middle of the downtown area and had so much rustic cowboy charm.
If you follow us on Instagram @bowerpowerblog – then you have already seen some of our fun photos from the trip. This is all that you haven’t seen yet!
The hotel had the best location for us personally and we didn’t need to get our rental car out for the time that we were there because everything was only a couple blocks away.
Besides location, you could tell that the hotel was old – it had retrofitted lights and toilets that flushed with a pull down rope. Will actually came out of the bathroom the first time and I was like “did you flush and wash your hands?” (Um I say this about a million times a day!) and he said “the toilet doesn’t have a flusher because it’s so old”. Once I taught him how to pull the rope, it was THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD.
I loved seeing all the little cowboy themed items in every nook and cranny of the hotel….even the carpet had longhorns 🙂
Right on the road there were all the Fort Worth Herd cowboys….they are the ones that herd the longhorns twice a day, every day and they are awesome with tourists. They let you pet their horses and are very helpful with directions 🙂
We actually got to see the longhorns go by four times. One of the times, there was a big bus of tourists that got off and they were milling around waiting for the cattle drive….well, about five of them weren’t listening to the man giving all the directions (don’t sit down, don’t stand on the street, all small children need to be holding an adults hand, etc.) because they were taking pictures of LJ and Max. It was the strangest thing. They weren’t taking pictures of their own kids…just my two little ones….while breaking the cattle drive rules. I still don’t know why but I think it had something to do with the fact that LJ had red hair and Max had big eyes?
We walked around a bunch and explored pretty much the whole area. The rodeo was in town and apparently it was a championship for Barrel Racing so we got to see the cowgirls warming up their horses.
This is like a Marilyn Monroe moment for LJ and the pole outside of the hotel 🙂
The reality of traveling with kids….
We actually learned a lot on this trip….especially when it came to logistics of toddler & baby travel. Like we realized that we never really took the time to let them all sleep in the same bed….which I believe is definitely a skill to learn. Also we realized that a pack-n-play is pretty much invaluable with little ones…we didn’t have one and this particular hotel didn’t have cribs available…and that you need like 5.2 million pillows for little ones because we were so nervous about them falling off the strange bed.
Also we learned to pack with lots of light layers so that they aren’t too cold or too hot. And that souvenirs are expensive when you multiply them by four!
Will is giving the stink eye…
LJ wanted ALL the hats. He is a hat guy 🙂
Another fun thing was that when we went to get breakfast, they served chips and salsa before your food came out. It was 9 am and the kids were stoked that they were getting chips 🙂
We pretty much visited everywhere that Instagram friends and blog readers recommended. I love social media for that reason! I get the best places to eat from you guys!
Esperanza’s was definitely fun and super close. We also ate right there in the stockyards, in the hotel restaurant and Joe T Garcia’s. I think our favorite was Joe T’s….I’ll share more of that soon!
This was a definite highlight for Will. All the other boys were too scared 🙂
Oh and it should be known that the red hat is LJ’s…but we all took turns with it because it was so cute.
The cattle drive was definitely the main attraction but there was also a petting zoo area that is open on the weekends, an old wooden maze that Will did with his Gramps and Grammy (he loved it!) and plenty of shops to visit and explore.
The streets aren’t busy at all when we were there until about ten minutes before the drive and then it’s like all these people are there taking photos….but it’s actually really hard to get a photo because there are cars parked near the sidewalks and people all over the place.
I do love this one though….it’s like a little boy dreaming of being a big cowboy one day 🙂
I would say that the best kept secret of the place is definitely that you can go see the horses and the longhorns in their stables!
Down the street from the main parking area, there is a little sign that says Fort Worth Herd with their brand and you can go in with your kids! You are not allowed to pet the animals in here but that was okay with us (timid little ones!). And we got to watch a Longhorn getting groomed which was equal parts terrifying and fun! At any moment I was sure the beast would rip free from it’s reins but it ended up just being my vivid imagination.
Long story short – the Stockyards were awesome. We loved it. And it was definitely worth it to pay a little extra for the hotel to be right down town especially with our nap times and little ones constantly needing a sippy cup. Oh and it’s worth mentioning that if you do travel there with little ones, no restaurant (none!) has apple juice and the majority of orange juice is pulpy so if your kids are picky drinkers (like mine) then it’s worth stopping before hand and getting a gallon of it 🙂
Next up – our downtown Fort Worth recap! Ahhh – it was so fun, it makes me wanna go back!