If all you know about Dallas, Texas is what you got from watching the money-hungry bad-tempered Ewings on TV then you are in for a real treat once you get there. Instead of seeing J.R. walking the streets downtown you’ll be pleasantly surprised to view some of the nation’s most famous tourist attractions.
But, before I touch on those treasures, I suppose I should inform you that there is a place just outside of the city (about 20 miles north of Dallas) that pays homage to the TV villain and his oil rich family members. Southfork, the sprawling ranch house where the hit 1980s TV series’ filming was based, is now a major tourist attraction (it’s also used as an event and conference center). It recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation and now hosts more than a million visitors a year. The site is home to a museum, a gift shop and a deli. Daily tours take place every half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $7.95 for adults, $6.95 for seniors, $5.95 for kids 4-12 and free for kids under 4.
Most people who travel to Dallas are less interested in shopping at Southfork and more intent on getting an up close and personal view of where history took place. The Sixth Floor Museum of the old Texas School Book Depository is a must see attraction in Dallas. Even if you were not alive to remember what took place there on November 22, 1963, the site will still move you. The official timeline of events that led up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is displayed there along with other interesting facts about how historians say Lee Harvey Oswald was able to fire the fatal shot from a sixth-floor corner window of the building. The museum also includes exhibits detailing Kennedy’s life, along with mementos of his visit to Dallas that deadly day. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and children 6 to 18, and free for kids under 6.
When you are done touring the museum I would suggest taking the two-block walk east to the 50-foot-square, open-roofed “empty tomb” designed by Phillip Johnson that commemorates the JFK assassination. The memorial is open 24 hours a day and is lit from underneath at night.
Those of you who don’t buy the government’s line about how President Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald should visit the Conspiracy Museum located on Market Street in Dallas. That’s where alternative theories about Kennedy’s death are presented, along with allegations of conspiracies and cover-ups in high-profile cases such as the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. The museum is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students and $3 for children 12 and under.