Located in Potter County in the northern section of Texas, Amarillo is the 14th most populous city in the state and the largest in the Texas Panhandle region. Once nicknamed the 'Helium Capital of the World', Amarillo has a unique history and is a key industrial hub for the state of Texas. The city covers an area of 90.3 square miles and has a population of approximately 200,000 people, with around 280,000 in the full Amarillo metropolitan area. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Amarillo, TX

Amarillo, TX
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Located in the Staked Planes region of the United States, Amarillo was originally founded under the name Oneida. Good railroad links helped the city grow and establish itself, with cattle farming being a key part of the local economy. The town was renamed to Amarillo, which is the Spanish word for 'yellow', most likely due to the yellow flowers and soil which can be spotted along the banks of the Amarillo Creek and Amarillo Lake nearby. By the turn of the 20th century, Amarillo was one of the biggest cattle-shipping locations in the United States and its economy gradually began to expand to include new forms of business.

The Amarillo Helium plant became very successful, and the city also became home to Pantex, the only nuclear weapons construction facility in the nation. With an array of unique and diverse businesses operating in Amarillo, the city has a fast growth rate and is a key commercial location, but also attracts decent numbers of tourists with attractions like Big Texan Steak Ranch and Cadillac Ranch showing off the traditional elements of Texan culture and the nearby Palo Duro Canyon State Park being the second biggest canyon in the country.

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2.Elevation of Amarillo, TX

Elevation of Amarillo, TX
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The elevation of a town or city is an indicator of how high or low it is in relation to sea level and is an important geographical statistic, used for architecture, weather forecasts, and more. The elevation of Amarillo, TX is 3,605 feet (1,099 m), which is relatively high when compared to many other towns and cities in both Texas and nearby states. Many major metropolitan areas around the United States are located in coastal regions, resulting in low elevations under 500 feet (152 m), with New York City and Los Angeles having elevations of 33 feet (10 m) and 285 feet (87 m), respectively.

When compared to the mean elevation of the state of Texas, Amarillo is a lot higher. The state’s average elevation is 1,700 feet (520 m), which means that Texas isn’t among the highest or lowest states of America. The city of Fort Davis, found in Western Texas, has the highest elevation of any incorporated municipality in the state at 4,900 feet (1,494 m). Other key locations in Texas include Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest point of the state and has an impressive elevation of 8,751 feet (2,667 m). The lowest point of Texas is the Gulf of Mexico, which has an elevation that is simply at sea level.

Most of Texas’ major cities are situated at relatively low elevations. Some examples include the state capital, Austin, which has an elevation of just 489 feet (149 m), San Antonio, which has an elevation of 650 feet (198 m), Dallas, which has an elevation of 430 feet (131 m), and Houston, which has an elevation of only 80 feet (32 m). When compared to all of these major Texan cities, the elevation of Amarillo is much higher.

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3.Climate and Things to Do in Amarillo, TX

Climate and Things to Do in Amarillo, TX
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Due to Amarillo's location in the Texas Panhandle, its weather and climate are dissimilar to most other parts of the state. Amarillo has a cold semi-arid climate with warm summers and mild winters that involve major temperature drops in the evenings. The coldest month of the year is January, with average temperatures of 37°F (3°C), while the warmest month of the year is July, which has average daily temperatures of 78°F (26°C). Temperatures frequently drop below freezing point from late November through to April, and snow can fall during this part of the year.

Like many Texan cities, part of the reason people visit Amarillo is for a taste of the state's unique culture. Tex-Mex cuisine and traditional live music and entertainment can be enjoyed around the city, with the Cadillac Ranch and Big Texan Steak Ranch being two of the city's most-visited spots. The Wonderland Amusement Park is another popular place for families, while the nearby Palo Duro Canyon State Park offers incredible views and all sorts of recreational activities.

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Amarillo, TX Elevation



Attraction Spotlight: Wildcat Bluff Nature Center

Wildlife Bluff Nature Center is located in Amarillo, Texas. Visitors will enjoy the outdoor recreational activities offered by the center. Wildcat Bluff encompasses six hundred and forty acres of the Texas Panhandle. The center was originally a part of the Frying Pan Ranch, a historical property.

History

The Nature center has five miles of trails, five acres of accessible, pave paths, and a dig pit that serves as a learning tool for students about the prehistory of the Texas Panhandle. Wildcat Bluff is also home to the Gilvin Science Education Building, and a portion of the Gregg-Marcy Santa Fe Trail.

The Wildcat Bluff Nature Center’s mission is to cultivate an understanding, appreciation, and awareness of nature on the Texas Panhandle, and to boost education in natural sciences from both a historical and current viewpoint. The goals of the Center include educating and encouraging the public, teachers, and students about the environments and habitats of the natural world. This can be accomplished through hands-on activities and direct discovery. The Center also seeks to inspire a sense of responsibility in people to take care of the environment. The Wildcat Bluff Nature Center manages its acreage as an outdoor classroom and living museum.

Things to Do

The Wildcat Bluff Nature Center offers five miles of trails, five acres of paved paths, a pit for digging and learning about the prehistory of the Panhandle, the Gilvin Science Education Building, and a part of the Gregg-Marcy Santa Fe Trail.

Hiking- The Center offers five miles of trails for hiking and exploring the wildlife of the Texas Panhandle. Trails include the Windmill Trail, Upper Bluff Trail, the Lower Bluff Trail and Libb Trail. While hiking these trails, hikers can explore the old windmill which still works, The Bluff Overlook which looks down on the portion of the Gregg-Marcy Santa Fe Trail that is encompassed in the center, and the Wildlife Rehab area of the Nature center.

Veranda- The veranda offers visitors a place to stay in the shade on hot days and view the birds of the Panhandle as they come to the feeders. During the cooler months of the year, mule deer can be seen drinking water and foraging for food. The veranda also offers a Free-Exchange Library for visitors who like enjoy the peace of sitting outside and reading.

Gilvin Nature Science Building- This building is used for classes and meetings that are hosted inside by the Center. Other organizations that visitors can be involved in that have free meetings at the building include Friends of Wildcat Bluff, Amarillo Area Photography Club, and Panhandle Archaeological Society.

Visitor’s Center- All visitors to the Center who wish to take advantage of the hiking trails are required to stop in a register on the Visitor’s Log. The Visitor’s Center also offers brochures full of information and displays about the Nature Center. These amenities allow visitors to learn about the wildlife and how to observe them.

Tours- The Wildcat Bluff Nature Center offers several kinds of guided tours.

· Custom Tours- The center offers specialized tours for visitors interested in a subject such as insect hunting, birding, plants, deer watching, and photo opportunities and historic sites. These tours can be organized for groups and individuals.

· Scheduled Tours- Scheduled tours are led by naturalists on certain dates and times.

· Self-Guided Tours- There are several types of self-guided tours visitors can embark on.

o Visitor’s Center and Nature Walks- This tour is for visitors who want to explore the sidewalks around the Centers and the Libbs Trail which offers a tiny representation of the wildlife within five acres of the center.

o Published Self-Guided Tours- These tours are in development and can be planned before visitors get to the center. The tour information includes a map and labeled locations with some of the plants, geology, plants, and history. Each location labeled on the map has a number that corresponds to a marker, a description, GPS coordinates, and a QR code along with a URL for more details.

Educational Opportunities

The Wildcat Bluff Nature Center offers several educational opportunities for visitors of all ages. These opportunities include:

· Guided Hikes for all ages

· Self-Guided Hikes for all ages

· Animals of the High Plains for ages kindergarten through sixth grade

· Amphibians and Reptiles for ages kindergarten through sixth grade

· Texas Insects and Their Relatives for ages kindergarten through sixth grade

· Geology Rocks! For ages third grade to eighth grade.

· Talking Bones and Rocks for ages third grade through eighth grade

· Walking in Their Footsteps for ages third grade through seventh grade.

The Center also offers an outreach program that involves school field trips. If students are unable to make it to the center, the Center sends educators out to the schools to offer educational activities.

2301 N. Soncy, Amarillo, TX 79124, Phone: 806-352-6007

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Attraction Spotlight: Amarillo Zoo

The Amarillo Zoo, in beautiful Amarillo, Texas, is a fun and educational opportunity for the whole family. With over 150 different animals from nearly 90 different species, visitors should plan on spending the entire day with the animals located on the grounds.

History

The zoo was founded in 1955, with just a duck pond. A few years later, in 1957, the storybook themed barnyard exhibits were added and the zoo as it is now known was born! Originally 2.5 acres, it eventually has expanded and now occupies over 14 acres and welcomes more than 200,000 guests ever year through its gates. The Amarillo Zoo plans to continue its expansion, adding a Children’s Zoo in the next few years as well.

Permanent Attractions and Habitats

Primarily, the main attractions at the Amarillo Zoo are the many different types of animals that are located there. In fact, the zoo boasts an impressive list of more than 150 different animals that come from 88 separate species from all over the world!

· Mammals- The mammals are the biggest draw of the animals at the zoo, mainly because they are so much fun to watch! Guests enjoy the big cats (African lions and Bengal Tigers), the small but feisty animals (Black-footed ferrets, grey foxes, and domestic rabbits), the monkey/apes (Black Handed Spider Monkeys and Ring-tailed lemurs), and other favorites (like the Bison, goats, and Texas Longhorns).

· Reptiles- The creepy crawly critters in the reptile category are another guest favorite. Check out the tortoises, turtles, and snakes (ball pythons, boas, and bull snakes) as well as other rarer reptiles like the crested gecko and the Uromastyx. The best part, for guests who may be squeamish about this type of animal, is that they are all safely enclosed.

· Birds- From the colorful to the talkative, the Amarillo Zoo offers a variety of beautiful and interesting birds for guests to see during their visit, like the African Grey Parrot, a collection of Macaws (Blue, Gold, and Green Winged) and more!

· Amphibians- Although not always the most excited animals at the zoo, the amphibians are not to be missed. See the toads and salamanders in all their glory!

· Invertebrates- The most controversial of the animals at the zoo are often the invertebrates, which guests seem to either love or hate. View the deadly black widow spider (safely behind glass), the emperor scorpion, and the tarantula all at no risk to guest safety. It may be a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Guests should make sure to check out the tips located on the Amarillo Zoo’s interactive website prior to their visit. Some of the helpful tips including bringing binoculars with during a visit, which lets children go on a fun “safari” while also making it much easier to see some of the animals that live in the larger habitats (like the Bison).

There also are suggested scavenger hunts for visitors to take part in and checking out the Zoofari Cart (located all over the zoo) which offer visitors a chance to get more interactive with their learning while at the zoo.

Special Events

The Amarillo Zoo hosts a variety of special events on their premises. One of the family favorites is the annual egg hunt, called Easter Egg-citement, which is hosted around Easter every year. This event lets families enjoy the fun along with all the animals who call the zoo home.

There are enrichment activities including eggs for the animals, games, and crafts for the kids, and over 17,000 beautifully colored Easter eggs for the whole family to find! The event is included with general zoo admission and it is recommended for children to bring their own baskets to keep things “green”!

Also, although not a special “event,” the zoo is offering half price admission on Mondays. This allows guests on a budget to be able to see the zoo, while also helping provide revenue that helps the zoo expand.

Check the website to see if there are any other events offered during the days the visit is planned as they are always adding more exciting and different options!

Dining and Shopping

The Amarillo Zoo offers concessions for guests who get hungry during their visit. Grab some nachos, a slice of pizza, a hot dog, or even some ice cream to tame even the biggest appetite. They also offer a school lunch program for students to have a school lunch during their field trip. For visitors who want to bring home a souvenir, there is the wittily named Zoovenir stand with toys, books, stuffed animals, and artwork.

700 Comanchero Trail, Amarillo, TX, 79107, Phone: 806-381-7911

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Attraction Spotlight: Texas Air and Space Museum

The Texas Air and Space Museum is located in Amarillo, TX. Visitors to the museum will enjoy learning the history of air and space travel and the pioneers that helped it to happen. The museum was originally established in 1989 by a group of aviation aficionados in Amarillo, Texas.

History

It was located at the Tradewind Airport in the southeast portion of the city. It was known as the English Field Air and Space Museum. The upkeep and maintenance costs of the museum soon became too much for both the city and museum to handle. As a result, the museum sold thirteen out of fourteen aircrafts that it owned to different museums and stored it artifacts. The museum closed in 2007.

In February of 2010 the museum was able to obtain indoor and outdoor space for exhibits at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport and reopened. Its name had been changed to Texas Air & Space Museum. On its grand reopening day, the museum was in possession of three aircrafts and numerous space and air historical displays in their indoor exhibit space.

The museum has acquired many more aircraft and displays since it’s opening.

Exhibits

The Texas Air and Space Museum has a wide variety of exhibits that cover the history of aviation and space travel for visitors to explore.

Indoor Exhibits- Several indoor exhibits are available for viewing.

· The People: Later Years- This exhibit covers important people in the history of aviation and space travel.

o Shelby Krtitser

o Bobby Speed, Ag Pilot, Reno Racer- Robert E Speed known as Bobby Speed, was one of the greatest pilots if Texas. He was born in 1924 in Adrian, Texas. Speed owned and piloted several aircrafts for both leisure and business. He built an airplane named the “Bearcat” and raced the “Reno Racer” for two years in the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada. The Bearcat was given to the museum in July of 2011 along with Bobby Speed’s helmet that rests on the instrument panel.

o Captain Cecil B.Hawkins, Jr, United States Navy (Retired)- Captain Hawkins flew a variety of military aircrafts, flying out of carrier and land-based runways all over the world. His Naval Flight History is quite impressive, and information can be found on it in this exhibit.

o Col. Rick Husband- Astronaut- Rick Douglas Husband was born in July of 1957 and died in February of 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia along with its crew were killed during reentry. He spent a total of twenty-four days, fifty-one hours, and thirty-three minutes in space as a pilot on STS-96 Discovery and crew commander on STS-107 Columbia.

· The Airports: Later Years- This exhibit covers the history and operation of several Texas airports through photographs.

o Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport- Braniff Airlines- 1980

o Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport- Frontier Airlines- 1980

o Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport- Texas International Airlines- 1980

o Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport- Trans World Airlines- 1980

· The Wars- This exhibit showcases aircraft models from the various wars throughout history.

o World War I­- Aircraft models from World War I include: Sopwith Camel, Spad XIII, Nieuport 28, and Fokker DR. 1.

o World War II- The World War II exhibit consists of an actual North American P-51D Mustang, model aircrafts that include: B-24 Liberator, North American B-25 Mitchell, Martin B-26 Marauder, and a North American P-51 Mustang. Displays include a wartime identification chart, WWII aircraft photographs, a map of Pearl Harbor, War Bond Drive bonds and posters, Navy and Army enlistment posters, and World War II Pilot Training courses given by Amarillo College and West Texas State College.

o Korean War

o Cold War

o Vietnam War- This part of the exhibit includes and the aircraft C-7 Caribou, two aircraft models: A-1 Skyraider, and F-100 Super Sabre, and a display that includes photographs of Cold War aircrafts and Cecil Hawkins.

o Desert Storm

· War History- This exhibit includes displays on war history.

· Time Capsule Photos- This exhibit includes photographs from aviation and space travel history.

· Ag Pilots- This exhibit explores the history of crop duster aircrafts.

· The People- The Early Years- This exhibit includes the English Field Collection and information on early pioneers in aviation history, the history of the earliest airports, and interesting facts. The exhibit also includes photographs.

Outdoor Exhibit Space- The Outdoor exhibit space includes full size aircrafts. Models by Jack Rude and models by Kits and Diecast. See the website for a list of displays.

Educational Opportunities

The Texas Air and Space Museum offers volunteer opportunities that allow those who are interested to learn more. These volunteer opportunities include docents, office workers, aircraft restorers, and grounds maintenance. For more information on these opportunities, visit the website.

10001 American Dr., Amarillo, TX 79111, Phone: 806-335-9159

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