As we make our way back towards Florida for the holidays, we stopped in Abilene, TX. This morning, we headed into downtown and stopped at Frontier! Texas, a 14,000 square foot museum that tells the story of the settling of Texas. We got there early and so were the only ones there. The admission prices were pretty reasonable. For adults, it is $10, seniors are $7, students and teachers are $6, children between the ages of 3-12 are $5 and the under 3 set are free.
You start off in a small theater, where you’re introduced to some of the individuals you’ll meet in the interactive displays they have. It tells a brief history of the area of Texas, starting with the Native Americans before moving to the settlers from the US of many different races. Then, you enter into the exhibits.
This is not a Disney-fied version of history. They show you both the good and the bad. Above is the inside of what one of the Native tribes’ teepees would have looked like, followed by another tribe’s buffalo hide dwelling.
The buffalo were very important to the Native people and their destruction by the buffalo hunters was one of the many sources of ill will during the time of settlement. Hundreds of thousands of buffalo were slaughtered for both financial gain and sport.
This was also the time of the rise of the cowboys. The men who had to move the cattle that were brought in after the buffalo were gone and get them to up the trail to Kansas City so they could be sold.
The cattle drive was a serious and often dangerous trip, between the wild plains and droughts and Native American attacks and cattle rustlers…the list goes on and on.
It would take almost a month just to get across Texas by horse, though a stage coach was known to be a bit faster.
It is from the stagecoach that the term ‘riding shotgun’ came about, because there used to be a guard who sat next to the driver, with a shotgun, to protect them from outlaws or Indian attacks.
The museum is beautifully laid out and has something for every age to interact with. Even the final 360 degree movie is well planned out, with twisting seats so you can follow the action. With a gift shop that has just about anything Texas you could want, Frontier! Texas was a great place to visit.