By Christine Tandy Perkins

A couple of weeks ago we rediscovered the DFW area, a.k.a. the metroplex, a.k.a. the metro mess. I grew up in Weatherford and my travel partner, Mr. Parker, lived in Dallas for years, so it was like going home for both of us.

After his business appointment, we had time to kill so we thought about the Ft. Worth Zoo and while I highly recommend it, it wasn’t for us that day. However, we were interested in the train by the zoo- the Forest Park Train.

In the late 1950s, carnival owner Bill Hames set forth to open a miniature train at Forest Park. The miniature train was the latest addition to the park which already had several amusement rides and a train with a smaller track layout. When the new train opened, it was the longest miniature railway in the world. On opening day, over 1,500 people rode the train, 70 to 100 passengers at a time. At the time, a ride on the train cost 35 cents per rider.

Great history, but it was closed on Thursday, so we stopped at the Log Cabin Village across the street! I hadn’t visited in 40 some odd years and Eddy had never been and wow—the changes.

Log Cabin Village is a living history museum owned and operated by the City of Fort Worth. The Village is dedicated to the preservation of 19th century folk architecture and frontier lifeways. The purpose of Log Cabin Village is to educate the public through the collection, preservation and interpretation of artifacts, representative structures, and other items of social and cultural significance to Texas’ pioneer era (1840-1890.)

We wrapped up the day strolling around Sundance Square. We saw a movie at the AMC Palace 9. It opened May 24, 1996, in Fort Worth, Texas is a nine screen theater with digital sound and stadium seating.

After a good night sleep in the hotel (I adore hotels,) we had one more business stop, and Mr. Parker decides to give blood as we are close to the Carter BloodCare. Not wanting to be left out I opted to try with him. The things you do for love.

The history of Carter BloodCare goes back to 1951 when J.K. and Susie L. Wadley chartered the Wadley Research Institute and Blood Bank. They changed the name of the nonprofit organization in 1993 to BloodCare of Dallas. Fort Worth was being served by Carter Blood Center, founded in 1957 with grant support from the Amon G. Carter Foundation. At Carter BloodCare, their primary purpose is to provide life-saving resources to local hospitals in our regional communities.

A few minutes into our appointment and he comes to my door to inform me he is not eligible since he gave less than two months ago. But guess who was still eligible?! So, I gave blood. Not my favorite activity on our little city excursion, but needed and important.

Our next big adventure was the Stockyards! Visiting the Stockyards was nothing new to either of us, but we were both excited to see the new John Wayne exhibit.

Established at the fork of the Trinity River in 1849 by Major Ripley Arnold, the Fort Worth Stockyards represented the last “civilized” outpost for cowboys driving cattle to market along the famous Chisholm Trail. By the mid-1870’s, Fort Worth had become a major center for the buying and shipping of livestock, thanks to the Texas & Pacific Railroad.

We had not seen Mule Alley and the Hotel Drover! But the real reason for our visit was John Wayne: An American Experience.

It was expensive (we discovered later once we were in the exhibit and checked out the receipt) but worth every penny! It was a massive exhibit with a plethora of the John Wayne memorabilia, interesting stories and larger than life photos and lessons.

Sprawling over 10,000 square feet, the John Wayne: An American Experience exhibit is structured to give you an intimate tour of the life of John Wayne. Starting with his early childhood and career, each room highlights an aspect of The Duke’s legacy. For the film aficionados, an extensive gallery called the “Life on Screen” highlights the most iconic film props and costumes. In the “America, Why I Love Her” gallery, guests can immerse themselves in patriotism through Grammy-nominated original poems, recited by John Wayne. We had exclusive access to never-before-seen family photos and correspondences which have been thoughtfully curated by the Wayne family in order to give guests a holistic view of the icon, whose values translate both on the silver screen and off.

After a rest because we are old, we headed to the new Globe Life Park to see the Texas Rangers win against the Oakland Athletics. It is an amazing stadium, but I would rather be sweating and sitting in the sun in the beautiful, historic-looking old stadium. But, the game was great!

We finished out the trip at brunch with Mr. Parker’s son and a stop in Weatherford to see my parents and raid the garden! Best part of the trip? Family!

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