The Log Cabin Village in Fort Worth offers visitors a chance to view 7 authentic Texas frontier cabins, built around the middle of the nineteenth century (1840-1870), that have been preserved and brought to Fort Worth. Decorated with period furnishings and implements, it’s a great place to take the kids for an authentic history lesson. My 6 year old and I visited one summer morning, and naturally, I wouldn’t be writing about it if he didn’t give it 2 thumbs up for fun, too! During the summer months, plan to come early while it’s still cool, since everything is outside.
- Print out the Junior Pioneer Program for your kids to complete at the village. Find common items, interview an interpreter and more fun activities, then turn it in completed for a certificate in the gift shop. Click HERE to visit the Log Cabin Village website.
- Parking is FREE, and most of them are shaded. Who could ask for more in summer?
- Although I was told more permanent restrooms facilities are being planned, right now they only offer port-a-potties, so make a potty stop before you get there.
Once you enter the Log Cabin Village, it really does feel as if you have stepped back in time, so prepare your children what to expect. The authentic cabins are old, built in the mid 1800’s, and historical interpreters, dressed in period clothing, demonstrate many of the pioneer’s skills necessary for survival in early Texas. Some are only demonstrations, some are interactive and there is also chance for free play and exploration.
Although animals played a crucial role in the early Texas settler’s life, the Log Cabin Village doesn’t have any farm animals, except for 3 wandering cats, because the buildings are really the stars of this show (just don’t tell Taffy, here). Point out some of the architectural differences in the cabins, such as 1 or 2 stories, just to get them to start noticing that they are not all built alike. Some are held together with grooves, like Lincoln Logs. It’s a great lead in to getting the Lincoln Logs out at home, or even bring them to play with in the park afterwards. Don’t have Lincoln Logs? Let the kids make their own using cut sections of branches from trees. There is not a preferred route to take in visiting the cabins. You can avoid the crowds and even skip a cabin on your tour, and circle back around. The Interpreters take breaks during the day, so ask about the daily demonstrations when you pay your admission fee. The Seela Cabin is furnished for kids to be able to play and touch EVERYTHING! There are dishes and cookware, and play food, so they can make a pioneer dinner in the fireplace. In the yard, kids can collect “eggs”, grind coffee, draw water from a working well, and even garden!
- There are also toys typical of what a child would have played with in the mid 19th century in Texas. One thing I noticed was how fragile these toys were, and how rough my 6 year old was with them. After several attempts of telling him to be more careful, I began regretting all the “indestrucible” blocks and toys I have bought him over the years, realizing that we may have missed an important life lesson.
The Seela Cabin only allows 15 visitors at a time, and it’s the hardest one to get the kids to leave. In the Howard Cabin, visitors can learn about the woodworking tools the settlers would have used to make furniture, household items such as spoons and even toys for the children. My little boy was able to assist in using a handheld drill to make holes in a cut tree branch, which would eventually hold legs for a toy animal. He also used a saw to cut the legs from smaller branches. The interpreter was very friendly, understanding his little 6 year old attention span is not very long and kept his hands busy so that he was able to listen to her.
- Log Cabin Village is a terrific place to take a group of kids for playdates, etc., but you will get a MUCH better learning experience with just a few kids. Since we went by ourselves, my six year old was able to do EVERY interactive experience, while in the larger groups, only one or two were able to, before the rest of the group got… antsy! (Antsy seemed like a good, old fashioned word to use in this post, although I admit to having never used it before and had to look up the spelling!)
- While you can visit the gift shop on your way out and buy the little toy whistles, animals and puppets made in the woodworking shop, you can also go home and make your own menagerie. The interpreter was happy to show us step by step how to make them.
The Marine Creek schoolhouse is still used by children today, as part of the Pioneer School. Public and private schools, as well as home-school groups, can reserve the school house and give students a hands on real life on the frontier experience. A teacher is not provided, but they do have a sample curriculum.
Be sure and take time to explore one of the “Sensory Gardens” planted around the village. We took turns blowing on the lemongrass, labeled sound, between our fingers to hear the trill it makes. We crushed a mint leaf to smell it’s sweet scent, tasted the Lemon Thyme and rubbed the soft Lamb’s Ear for touch.
- Lamb’s Ear was a common sight in a settler’s garden, and one of the first things they planted. It’s soft leaves were commonly used for toilet paper, in a world without toilet paper. Unlike cotton rags, which were also used, the Lamb’s Ear could be thrown away, instead of washed like the rags. I can only imagine no one wanted that job, which was usually a responsibility of one of the kids. Just imagine adding that your child’s chore list!
The Shaw Cabin houses the grain mill, and they demonstrate how corn and wheat are ground into flour. The interpreter even gave us a few wheat grains so the kids could have a real idea of what it looked like before it was ground. Of course, many of the younger children present (like mine) had no idea what the finished products, flour and especially corn meal, were.
- To avoid having your child be one of the less informed, why not let them help you in the kitchen before your visit, making cookies, pancakes, johnny cakes or even an 1830 Indian Cornmeal Cake. Click HERE for the recipe from Texas Cooking, along with a few other frontier recipes. Please let me know if you cook up the squirrel. (Please read these last couple of sentences with as much sarcasm as you like).
Two of the favorite demonstrations for kids are the blacksmith and candle dipping. During the hottest summer days, the blacksmith only make a fire in the early morning, so if possible make it one of your first stops.
- Be sure and check the EVENTS page on the Log Cabin Village’s website for upcoming activities, like visits from Buttermilk Junction Old Time String Band, Fall Fest, Candle Dipping Days (when you can dip your own candles to take home), Photos with St. Nick and a Firepit Cooking Class, just to name a few. Bonus Tip: Go to these events, but it’s busy, so first let the kids explore the village on a less busy day.
For more information on Log Cabin Village, click HERE to visit their website.
We spent about 2 hours in the village, but I would estimate a little longer with more than 1 child. The time frame doesn’t include the HOUR we spent on the front porch of the Foster Cabin playing checkers! Afterwards we walked to one of the picnic tables in the Bobo Woods located just outside the village for a picnic lunch.
Things To Do in Fort Worth
The Forest Park Miniature Railroad takes you on a 45 minute ride across the Trinity River and through nearby Trinity Park. They do not accept credit cards, so be sure to take cash. Click HERE to read more.
Cool off at nearby Forest Park Swimming Pool. Click HERE to visit their website for times, prices, etc.
Log Cabin Village
2100 Log Cabin Village Ln., Fort Worth
Click HERE to visit their website.
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