My favorite part of writing for Texas Family Travel is exploring the state and discovering little-known family treasures.  This is exactly what happened when my family spent the weekend in Waco. 

I've zipped through Waco hundreds of times while traveling I-35, but I never realized what a fun destination Waco is in itself.  Home to two of Texas Family Travel's highest rated attractions, Cameron Park Zoo and the Mayborn Museum, Waco is sure to be a fun-filled destination for families with young children.


Cameron Park Zoo

Cameron Park Zoo is our favorite zoo in Texas.  While it is far from being the largest or most extensive zoo, we think it is the perfect size for young children to explore.  All of the most popular animals are there, and they are close enough to be easily viewed by children.  The zoo is well-maintained, clean, and usually not too crowded.  The otter exhibit, where children can play alongside the otters, is always a favorite with my kids.  Children can go down a clear slide that goes right through the playful otters' habitat while the otters swim and play all around.  Our trips to Cameron Park zoo have always been very low stress and enjoyable for all.


Mayborn Museum

The Mayborn Museum, one of our top-rated children's museums in Texas, is wonderful.  We spent five hours playing, discovering, and exploring the world around us through the interactive exhibits and we still didn't experience everything the museum offers.  Unlike some children's museums, the Mayborn feels clean, spacious, and low-stress.  We all enjoyed our day of hands-on learning.  Some of our favorite exhibits included a water table and bubble room and a news room complete with a "green screen" where children can give a weather report in front of a camera.  Occasionally, special programs are offered at the museum; we enjoyed storytime and a puppet show while we were there.  Our family is already looking forward to our next trip to the Mayborn Museum.


Texas Ranger Museum

A tribute to the legendary Texas Rangers, the Texas Ranger Museum presents a fascinating walk through Texas history.  Our boys, who dream of "battling the bad guys", were thrilled to be introduced to these real Texas heroes.  The poured over each display and, of course, pretended to be the Texas Rangers the rest of the day.  Our daughter, on the other hand, was not interested in learning about the different weapons and equipment used by the Rangers over the years.  So, depending on the age and gender of your children, this museum could be a huge hit or could be one that could be skipped.




Where to Stay

Hampton Inn and Suites Waco/South (there are 2 Hamptons in Waco) is a fantastic hotel for families.  The over-sized rooms are fresh, modern, and comfortable even for a family of five (or six).  The complimentary breakfast is nice and is always a plus when travelling with children.  The best part of our stay was swimming in the indoor pool; what a fun treat in the middle of winter!  With its family-friendly ammenities, helpful staff, and reasonable prices, the Hampton Inn Waco South receives our highest recommendation for families staying in Waco.



Where to Eat

Off Highway 6 (near the Hampton Inn South), the newly-opened Chuy's is the best place to eat in town.  Yes, we love Chuy's in any town!  Make sure to ask for the Creamy Jalepeno sauce.


Centrally located and with quality attractions, Waco is an easy and entertaining weekend get-away that your family will love.