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The wispy clouds set high in the sky. It had been a long journey to Amarillo, especially with known obstacles like needing to stop to change and nurse Baby Girl. We also encountered other obstacles like road work that reduced us down to one lane and an oversized load who couldn’t decide whether or not to do the speed limit.
It was my first time driving in Texas. The speed limits are higher (needed, otherwise, it would take you all day to get across the state), but it’s important to note that they have some narrow roads in places. It’s kind of odd the amount of “road work ended” signs they have, mainly because they don’t have all that many “road work begins” signs.
We came for a few reasons. First, so Ry could get pictures of the rail yards. Second, so we could see downtown. Third, so we could visit the Cadillac Ranch. Our fourth and final reason was so we could take Boo and Baby Girl the Amarillo Zoo.
When we arrived, after 3:00 pm, we drove towards downtown. Ry captured some pictures of the rail yard via the highway bridge that rises above it. After a quick driving tour, we drove to get something to eat. We hadn’t eaten since before leaving town that morning, besides the snacks we had packed. Boo, who had just woken up from his nap, was starving. We went to three different places, one of which was Wienerschnitzel. It was great! If you’re ever in Texas, you must try it. They serve hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice cream.
After this, we went to book our hotel. Our cards refused to work on Expedia, so I went into the La Quinta Midtown and booked it myself. It ended up costing the same price as online. (We later learned that our bank has a new policy of needing us to call before we book using Expedia.) We rested for a bit. Baby Girl laughed for the first time, which was music to our tired ears.
An hour later we headed downtown again. We went to check out the new development that had just been built. Unfortunately, it was too new. There weren’t any stores in it yet! We ended up parking elsewhere to try to walk down the streets. We didn’t get very far – the wind was way too cold and strong. We ended up going back to Wienerschnitzel then to the hotel.
We didn’t sleep well that night. We both had some strange dreams. Ry had a dream someone tried to break into our hotel room because the door hadn’t latched properly. Imagine his horror when he woke up and tried it and it didn’t latch properly. It took pushing and shoving against the door to get it to latch.
The next morning, we searched for breakfast after checking out. We decided on a burrito place called the Burrito Stop. It’s another excellent place you should try if you’re ever in Amarillo! They not only serve breakfast but lunch as well. They serve delicious breakfast burritos which you can customize.
The next stop was the Cadillac Ranch. On our way there, Ry told me that the millionaire who planted the Cadillac Ranch did so because he thought rich people should do eccentric things. The millionaire’s offices were in the Chase Tower. Speaking of eccentric things, he also liked to throw water balloons down on unsuspecting passersby. He collaborated with the group, The Ant Farm, to plant the Cadillacs, plus he funded many different art projects.
At the Cadillac Ranch, the wind blew fiercely against us. Boo ran against it, but ended up at the same pace we were walking at. We snapped some pictures and by that time, Boo was cold and ready to go back to the car.
Once we buckled everyone in, we went on a fun hunt for a store called Hobby Time. The GPS took us to the airport. The Tradewinds Airport would be an interesting place to explore, but not where we were seeking to go. After a call to the store for directions, we were on our way to the right address.
Their store was nice. Besides Hobby Lobby, it’s the biggest hobby store we’ve found in the region. Plus, it was better for model railroaders. They had N through O scale model railroading locomotives, rolling stock, and supplies. They also had model car supplies, jewelry making supplies, model making supplies, and much more.
Ry found an N scale MicroTrains Burlington Northern Two Car Weathered Graffiti Two-pack. It consists of a beautiful three-bay covered hopper and a boxcar. At this time, it’s not an easy two-pack to find.
After this, we went to the zoo. On the way there, Boo took a short nap. And Siri got us lost AGAIN. Ry ended up getting me there by reading the map.
The Amarillo Zoo is a small zoo with great prices. $4 for adults and kids 2 and under are free (kids 3-12 cost only $2).
The whole zoo was ours. Besides the employees, there was no one else there. Boo loved it. Baby Girl slept in my baby wrap almost until the end. We saw monkeys, lions, tigers, bears, and so much more!
Sadly, after the zoo, it was time to go back home. We drove back across the train yard to get more pictures, then headed to Wienerschnitzel one last time. We bid Amarillo goodbye.
Here are some tips in case you are thinking about driving to Amarillo with your kids:
- Allow plenty of time for the journey. Especially if your kids are in diapers. You’ll need time to check out historical markers and areas, use the bathroom and change diapers, get gas, stretch your legs, play at playgrounds, and grab something to eat.
- Take an extra outfit for everyone (and two for the baby!). You never know when someone may get carsick, when the baby may have a blowout, or when mustard may get on your shirt.
- Pack LOTS of snacks. And maybe some meals.
- Be flexible. You never know when you might find something else you want to do.
Ry and I will be back. Next time, we will be sure to see Palo Duro Canyon, the American Quarter Horse Association Museum, and explore downtown in depth. And, of course, to go back to Hobby Time!
Have you been to Amarillo? What are your favorite things to do there? Let us know in the comments!