Once a small Texas frontier settlement, Abilene is a modern, thriving city where the past is celebrated and remembered in unique museums such as Frontier Texas! and the Grace Museum. Abilene Zoo has more than 1,000 animals, including giraffes, white tigers, and snakes.
The 19th century Fort Phantom Hill is part of the Texas Forts Trail, connecting various West Texas frontier landmarks.
1. 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, Abilene, TX
© 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum
The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum is located in Abilene, Texas, near former Camp Barkeley, where the division came for training before travelling to Europe to join the European Theater of Operations. This three-story military museum has artifacts belonging to the 12th Armored Division, extensive World War II archives, various memorabilia, oral histories, and diverse equipment and materials. The goal of the museum is to preserve the contribution of the 12th Armored Division for future generations and to be used as a teaching resource for World War II study. The museum provides innovative educational activities for children and academics. Known as the "Hellcat Division," the 12th Armored Division was crucial in capturing over 72,000 German soldiers and taking part in liberating prisoners from Nazi death camps.
1289 North 2nd, Abilene, TX 79601, Phone: 325-677-6515
2. Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden
© Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden
Kids and imaginative adults will love walking through the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden. Aptly named, the garden is home to sculptures of several iconic characters from children’s books such as Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and Good Night Dinosaur. The garden is located in the southwest lawn of the Abilene Convention Center, and has been welcoming the public free of charge since 2017. New sculptures of beloved characters have continuously been added through the years by the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, and more to are expected to be installed in the near future. The garden and its sculptures are well illuminated, allowing families to tour the garden day or night. Even fury family members are welcome on leash.
1008-1098 N 6th Street, Abilene, Texas 79601; Phone: 325-677-1161
3. Abilene Zoo, Abilene, Texas
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For a small zoo covering only 16 acres, Abilene Zoological Gardens has a large, diverse animal population. With more than 1,000 animals from over 250 species, Abilene Zoo offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with animals from all over the world. You can feed giraffes at the giraffe safari or visit a number of other animals such as lions, a rare white tiger, camels, and a black rhino. The reptile house is home to a king cobra and more than 70 other kinds of reptiles, while Caribbean Cove introduces species that live in warm tropical jungles of the Caribbean and Elm Creek Backyard is home to many native Texas animals. The Watering Hole is the place to replenish energy with some snacks and soft drinks or pick up a souvenir. You can also take a tour of the zoo on the fun Safari Express train or hop onboard the Wildlife Carousel.
2070 Zoo Lane, Abilene, TX 79602, Phone: 325-676-6085
4. Buffalo Gap Historic Village, Abilene, Texas
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Located in the town of Buffalo Gap, Texas, the Taylor County History Center, previously known as the Buffalo Gap Historic Village, is a living museum that tells the nostalgic story of the last half century of the West Texas wild frontier. The museum includes interactive exhibits, historic interpretation, and educational programming, bringing to life the times when the Wild West became civilized settlements. The original structures of the village, such as the original Taylor County Courthouse, show the lifestyle on the slowly changing frontier. Besides the courthouse, the history center has 15 other historical structures, some from Buffalo Gap and some brought from other places in the region. There are also more than 10,000 historical artifacts that represent the culture of West Texas.
133 N. William Street, Buffalo Gap, TX 79508, Phone: 325-572-3365
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5. Things to Do Near Me: Fort Phantom Hill, Abilene, TX
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Located in what is today Jones County, Fort Phantom Hill was built in the early 1850s as one of the forts that were to protect the frontier settlements of Texas. It is one of the best preserved historic sites in the State of Texas and is part of the Texas Forts Trail, a 650-mile-long tour of Texas historic forts. The fort was originally called the “Post on the Clear Fork of the Brazos,” and from 1851 until 1854 was occupied by the U.S. Army. After the army abandoned the fort, most of the thatched roofs and log walls were destroyed in a fire. Fortunately, there is still a big part of the old fort left for visitors to explore, including a stone powder magazine, an almost undamaged commissary, and a stone guardhouse. A dozen stone chimneys as well as the original fort’s stone foundations are also still standing.
10818 FM600, Abilene, TX 79601, USA, Phone: 325-677-1309
6. Things to Do Near Me: Frontier Texas, Abilene
© Frontier Texas
You can learn about the history of Texas without having to stroll through a dusty museum. Located in downtown Abilene, the hugely popular Frontier Texas! is an entertaining and educational heritage center that helps visitors imagine life in the Old West using the latest technology. The 90-minute-long interactive Old West adventure movie called Blood & Treasure on the Frontier brings to life the frontier and the Wild West days and introduces people who lived their lives in the area during those exciting times. The video allows visitors to relive a Bee Hive Saloon shootout, buffalo stampedes, a wolf attack, and other typical happenings of the times. The heritage center is also Abilene’s official visitors center and the information center for the Texas Forts Trail Region. The General Store offers Texas souvenirs, books, jewelry, and items created by local artisans.
625 N. 1st Street, Abilene, TX 79601, Phone: 325-437-2800
7. Morgan Jones Planetarium, Abilene, Texas
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Located about half an hour from Abilene State Park, the Morgan Jones Planetarium is one of the very few planetariums in Texas and an absolute delight to visit. School kids go on field trips to enjoy a range of programs and shows, but the planetarium is open to everyone and there is no shame in admitting that you enjoy looking at the stars, comets, and constellations, just as you did when you were a kid. The fun starts at the planetarium’s foyer, where there is a small exhibition on all things astronomical, such as moon rocks, a real space suit, and a range of telescopes. The auditorium is a large, round room with comfortable lounge chairs, and when the light is off you feel like you are under the real dark night sky full of stars. The planetarium has a regular series of shows and lectures that are as informative and educational as they are fun.
700 N Mockingbird Ln, Abilene, TX 79605-3057, Phone: 325-671-4637
8. National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, TX
© National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature
Illustrations in children’s books have a huge impact on young readers and play an important role in their future love for reading. The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature is an unusual museum that focuses on illustrations in literature for children and exhibits artwork created by renowned illustrators of children’s books. The museum was established in 2000 and, besides featuring original artwork, offers educational programs that aim to promote appreciation of the arts, stimulate creativity, and promote literacy. There are regular weekly art activities for kids and their families. The museum works with award-winning artists to create exhibitions of their artwork. Each exhibition then travels to various other museums, galleries, and public libraries all over the country.
102 Cedar Street, Abilene, TX 79601
9. The Grace Museum, Abilene, TX
© The Grace Museum
The Grace Museum was founded in 1937 under the name the Abilene Fine Arts Museum. It was established by the Art League of the Abilene Woman’s Club and changed its location several times until it settled in today’s location in a historic former hotel built in 1909. The museum is home to five art galleries that offer rotating art exhibitions as well as artwork from its permanent collection. It also houses a history gallery featuring artifacts from Abilene, Taylor County, and West Texas. An art library, an interactive gallery for children and families, and an education center are also part of the Grace Museum.
102 Cypress St, Abilene, TX 79601, Phone: 325-673-4587
10. Paramount Theatre, Abilene, TX
© Paramount Theatre
Built in 1930 by H. O. Wooten next to his Hotel Wooten, the Paramount Theatre opened its door with the movie Safety in Numbers with Carole Lombard. The beautiful 1,199-seat theater features an intricate domed ceiling with glitter and moving clouds and exotic Spanish-Moorish interior décor. It has been brought back to its original glory with a meticulous renovation in 1986. The upgraded technical equipment allows the Paramount to today accommodate live theater, concerts, musicals, film, opera, and dance performances. It also hosts business meetings, parties, dinners, seminars, receptions, weddings, and worship services. The theatre is a regular home for the performances of the Abilene Ballet Theatre, Celebration Singers, Abilene Opera Association, Abilene Community Theatre, Chameleon Performing Arts Company, Abilene Community Band, Abilene Performing Arts Company, Abilene Repertory Theatre, and many other performance art groups from Abilene.
352 Cypress St, Abilene, TX 79601, Phone: 325-676-9620
11. Things to Do Near Me: The Mill, Abilene, Texas
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The Mill Wine Bar & Event Center is a popular Abilene spot for wine lovers, located next to the historical mill tower that once worked under the Texas Mill & Elevator Company, and is surrounded by flourishing grapevines. The Mill offers an excellent wine selection, rotating craft beers as well as delicious appetizers and desserts. The food comes from their own food truck. The Mill is also a popular venue for parties and events, both for its fantastic location as well as its great selection of drinks. There is an outdoor space with a firepit for those who enjoy sitting under the stars, and a regular live music concerts by local musicians.
239 Locust Street, Abilene, TX 79602, Phone: 325-788-0360
12. Winery at Willow Creek, Abilene, Texas
© Winery at Willow Creek
With a lovely outdoor space located next to a burbling creek, the Winery at Willow Creek is a popular Abilene winery that opened its doors in 2012. They make their wine from the grapes grown by local and regional growers and produce about 1,900 cases per year. Their bestsellers are Pomegranate Zinfandel, Raspberry Dragon Fruit White Shiraz, and Peach Chardonnay. Whether you are sampling their wines in the indoor tap room or in the outdoor garden, you can also get some delicious snacks to go with the wine, such as a cheese and salami platter, bagel chips and hummus, or cream cheese with raspberry chipotle on crackers. If you want to try one of their cigars, you will have to sit outside. There are regular fun events such as live music, a catfish boil, or a grape stomp.
4353 S Treadaway Blvd, Abilene, TX 79602, Phone: 325-690-9463
13. Monks Coffee Shop, Abilene, Texas
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It all started with a very good coffee and a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Then the word got out that Monks Coffee Shop in downtown Abilene is a cool spot to relax with friends with your favorite java, check your email, or just unwind after a hard work day. Today it is one of the most popular coffee shops in town, spacious and cozy, with comfy sofas, small scattered tables, mismatched chairs, and a great selection of cold and hot drinks. There are also live music concerts, poetry evenings, and other events, so check their weekly programs.
233 Cypress Street, Abilene, TX 79601, Phone: 325-437-2984
More things to Do in Abilene: The Discovery Center, located at 810 Butternut St, features three exhibits: The Classic Creation, The Titanic Remembered and The Miracle of Israel. Phone: 325-673-5050
14. Things to Do Near Me: Play Faire Park
© Play Faire Park
Located just a short walk from downtown Abilene, Play Faire Park offers visitors loads of fun activities and games. Play a round on miniature golf on one of their two 18-hole courses, which happen to be the longest-running miniature golf courses in the state, or stop by the play museum to learn classic outdoor games such as tetherball, hopscotch, and beanbag toss. And for those looking to sit back, the park often hosts live musical concerts. Whether going for an afternoon of bonding with the family, a hangout with friends, or even a date, Play Fair Park is a great stop for a simple and enjoyable time. In fact, the park has been voted as one of the best date spots in the city.
2300 N 2nd Street, Abiline Texas 79601; Phone: 325-672-2977
15. Things to Do in Abilene, Texas: The Mill Winery
© The Mill Winery
Family-owned and operated, The Mill Winery is heavily shaped by their core values of faith, celebration, and unique experience. They try to share these values with every visitor through their comforting, laid back environment and great selection of food and drinks. The family-friendly winery serves up a variety of wines including mill wine on tap and several kinds of sparkling, white, red, and rosé wines. They also have a rotating selection of domestically and locally-brewed craft beers as well as other drinks such as Irish hot chocolate, hot spiked cider, hard seltzers, and many other non-alcoholic beverages. For food, The Mill Winery has a menu featuring dishes such as white bean hummus, bruschetta, sliders, charcuterie boards, and more.
239 Locust Street, Abilene, Texas 79602; Phone: 325-788-0360
16. Things to Do in Abilene, Texas: Center for Contemporary Arts
© Center for Contemporary Arts
Founded in 1989, the Center for Contemporary Arts hosts an impressive collection of exhibits aiming to enrich, encourage, and inspire the neighboring community and every guest that steps through its doors. The center believes in the transformative power of art, which makes them passionate about supporting artists as well as educating all ages and backgrounds about the world of art. Visitors will find over 20 exhibits in the center featuring regional art, award-winning short films, international photography, and more. Every year, the center welcomes thousands of visitors to view their exhibits—admission free. In addition to exhibits, the center is also home to ten art studios available for rent.
220 Cypress Street, Abilene, Texas 79601; Phone: 325-677-8389
17. Things to Do Near Me: Abilene Splash Pads
Kids will have a blast as they play around in Abilene’s splash pads. Located next door to other big attractions like Abilene Zoo and Fort Imagination playground, the Grover Nelson Park Splash Pad offers a small, colorful water park filled with imaginative water sprays and fountains. Four other splash pads can be found throughout Abilene in Redbud Park, Arthur Sears Park, Scarborough Park, and Stevenson Park. The splash pads are all home to over a dozen water features—some of which include water slides and giant dumping buckets for twice the fun. All splash pads are also equipped with drinking fountains and restroom facilities, and most offer shaded seating and picnic areas.
E.S. 11th & Loop 322, Abilene, Texas 79602; Phone: 325-676-6217
18. Things to Do in Abilene, Texas: Prime Time Family Entertainment Center
Endless fun awaits at Prime Time Family Entertainment Center, and with such a wide selection of activities available, every member of the family will easily find something they’ll enjoy. One of the center’s attractions includes multiple escape rooms where players will have to solve puzzles as they try to break out in under 60 minutes. Visitors can also enjoy a game of miniature golf or go bowling on one of the 24 bowling lanes. For something a little more exciting, visitors may want to take a ride in a go-kart or bumper car, play adrenaline-pumping virtual reality games, or even test their skills in axe throwing. Other activities include a 4D theater, modern and retro arcade games, batting cages, and an imaginative playground for young kids.
4541 Loop 322, Abilene, Texas 79602; Phone: 325-690-5555
19. Abilene KOA Journey
No matter where you're headed on your next camping trip or RV tour of the United States, you can always trust Kampgrounds of America (KOA). With countless locations all around the country, KOA stands out for offering the best service and the most amenities at each of its locations, with the Abilene KOA Journey RV park and campground being a prime example. Located just on the outskirts of the city, with easy access to all the big restaurants, stores, and landmarks of Abilene, this RV park is a great option for both short and long term stays in the area.
Abilene KOA Journey is an all year RV park and campground that has received a very impressive 4.5 out of 5 average star rating from hundreds of past guests. With RV sites capable of catering to motorhomes up to 90 feet in length, this RV park can welcome everyone and make you feel right at home. On-site amenities include 50-amp service, high speed Wi-Fi hotspots all around the park, lots of cable TV channels to keep guests entertained, propane and firewood sales, a seasonal pool, and a snack bar selling plenty of treats and drinks to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
4851 W Stamford St, Abilene, TX 79603, Phone: 325-672-3681
20. Whistle Stop RV Resort
Another excellent RV park just on the northeastern outskirts of the city, Whistle Stop RV Resort is a great place to stay on your next trip to Abilene, TX. You can be in the city in a matter of minutes, enjoying all of the main amenities, landmarks, and restaurants, able to retreat back to the quiet comfort and picturesque setting of the RV park, which enjoys beautiful tree-lined views in every direction. The RV sites at Whistle Stop RV Resort are very spacious, with paved roads and grassy areas separating each one and offering a nice little patch of land for games or picnics.
This is actually one of the most recent additions to the RV scene in Abilene, TX, but it has already established itself as one of the city's top RV destinations, with plenty of useful and enjoyable amenities like a convenience store selling essential supplies, a covered pavilion, a swimming pool, a huge clubhouse for fun and games of all kinds, and a communal kitchen area. If you need a safe, family-friendly place to stay in Abilene, this is the one for you.
695 E Stamford St, Abilene, TX 79601, Phone: 325-704-5252
21. Abilene RV Park
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Out on the eastern side of the city, easily accessed right off Highway 80, Abilene RV Park is another excellent place to spend a few days or weeks in this Texas city. Offering a very friendly welcome to all guests, this authentic Texas RV park really stands out for its superior levels of service. If you want to be treated with a lot of care and special attention, made to feel truly welcome, and looked after for every single step of your stay, this is definitely one of the best RV parks to choose in all of Abilene.
Fitted out with 30/50 amp, full hook-up sites, this RV park offers free wireless internet to all guests, along with private lights and picnic tables at most sites. You'll also find a spacious club house at Abilene RV Park to hang out with other travelers or members of your group, and the park is also fitted with laundry machines, spotless restrooms, great quality showers, a huge swimming pool, a gazebo, and more.
6195 E Hwy 80, Abilene, TX 79601, Phone: 325-672-2212
The 20 Must-See Attractions in Abilene, Texas & Fun things to do near me today:
- 1. 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, Abilene, TX
- 2. Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden
- 3. Abilene Zoo, Abilene, Texas
- 4. Buffalo Gap Historic Village, Abilene, Texas
- 5. Things to Do Near Me: Fort Phantom Hill, Abilene, TX
- 6. Things to Do Near Me: Frontier Texas, Abilene
- 7. Morgan Jones Planetarium, Abilene, Texas
- 8. National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, TX
- 9. The Grace Museum, Abilene, TX
- 10. Paramount Theatre, Abilene, TX
- 11. Things to Do Near Me: The Mill, Abilene, Texas
- 12. Winery at Willow Creek, Abilene, Texas
- 13. Monks Coffee Shop, Abilene, Texas
- 14. Things to Do Near Me: Play Faire Park
- 15. Things to Do in Abilene, Texas: The Mill Winery
- 16. Things to Do in Abilene, Texas: Center for Contemporary Arts
- 17. Things to Do Near Me: Abilene Splash Pads
- 18. Things to Do in Abilene, Texas: Prime Time Family Entertainment Center
- 19. Abilene KOA Journey
- 20. Whistle Stop RV Resort
- 21. Abilene RV Park
Abilene State Park
About 16 miles from Abilene, on the banks of Elm Creek and surrounded by huge old elms, Abilene State Park is a popular local green space that offers a lot of fun for everyone regardless of age. There is a lake, a fishing pond, a famous swimming pool, lots of trails, great camping grounds, a horseshoe pit, sand volleyball and basketball courts, and a large open area for picnics. A 1-mile-long trail is great for a leisurely stroll and birdwatching. There is a historical swimming pool, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s. Lake Abilene and Buffalo Wallow Pond are popular fishing spots and kids love splashing in the pond.
150 Park Road 32, Tuscola, TX 79562, Phone: 325-572-3204