A Museum and a Bite to Eat

Perfect Partners. 

Dallas and Fort Worth have fabulous museums to explore. Here are two that stand out for their unique exhibits. After an afternoon of exploring, grab a bite to eat at their excellent restaurant.

Perot Museum and Cafe

Designed by Thom Mayne, a Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, the Perot Museum is one of Dallas’s boldest pieces of modern architecture. The custom-designed structural supports make the building look like it’s floating, and the escalator in a 150-foot glass-enclosed, tube-like structure only goes up. The rainwater collection system fills two 25,000-gallon cisterns forming the drip irrigation system for the surrounding Texas landscape.

I like to take the escalator to the fourth-floor mezzanine, then work my way down each floor using the stairs. My two favorite exhibits are T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall and the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall.

In the Then and Now Hall, wander through colossal fossil skeletons of the Alamosaurus and T. Rex. These living beasts could eat you in one bite; the perspective of size is impressive. See the Perot dinosaur, discovered in Alaska, and the Tylosaurus skeleton that once ruled the tropical seas right here in Dallas 66 million years ago. In the Gems and Minerals Hall, see the giant purple amethyst geode, the first exhibit installed with the gallery built around it. Giant 50- and 60-pound gold chunks glisten under special lighting, along with display cases of sparkling gems and minerals that will take your breath away.

The five floors incorporate eleven permanent exhibits with plenty of hands-on activities for children, interactive stations, educational games, science lessons, and the sports hall. Learn about weather, earthquakes, outer space, engineering, and innovation. See the website to order tickets and for discounts, including Dallas CityPass.

The Café at the Museum, operated by Wolfgang Puck serves plenty of tasty American fare. Call to order box lunches for a group.

John Wayne Museum and the 97 West Kitchen and Bar

Everything you ever wanted to know about John Wayne is here at John Wayne: An American Experience in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

You can’t help but feel proud of John Wayne and the life he led as an iconic movie star. You’ll learn about his early childhood and movie career in the extensive gallery called the “Life on Screen,” displaying iconic film props, photographs, and costumes. Discover more in the “America, Why I Love Her” gallery, with pictures and Grammy-nominated original poems performed by John Wayne. Explore the intimate family portraits, letters, and correspondence gathered by the Wayne children revealing his love of family.

Then find holiday gifts in the John Wayne Gift Shop, stocked with western accessories, leather goods, fine art western photography, books, apparel, drinkware, and gifts.

Savor dinner at 97 West Kitchen and Bar at the Drover. There, Chef Grant Morgan serves eloquent ranch standards and southwest cuisine. Start with shishito pepper crab dip or Texas tenderloin tartare. For the main dish, indulge in a 34-ounce Tomahawk or 12-ounce Akaushi New York Strip. Add family-style fixings like grilled cauliflower steak or three-cheese mac and cheese. Save room for pecan pie with bourbon glaze or tres leches cake with mixed berries.

Make a weekend of it and stay at the Hotel Drover in the Stockyards off East Exchange Avenue. Park your car for the weekend: Everything is within walking distance. There, you’ll find all the Western wear, leather goods, and Wrangler jeans your heart desires.

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