We first visited Waco’s Mayborn Museum in 2004, the year it opened. We have been going back every year since, and it still holds the same fascination for my children now as it did 10 years ago! Part of Baylor University, we often arrive early or stay late and walk around the beautiful campus, with the Brazos River as a backdrop.
Before your visit, check out My Mommy Tips and review for enhancing your visit.
Know Before You Go
Baylor Students and Active Military are granted FREE admission.
Click HERE for more information on discounts and FREE days.
A Pogo Pass allows you one FREE visit to the Mayborn Museum, along with other great venues! Click HERE to read more!
2. Discovery Rooms
All 3 of my kids, ages 14, 12 and 6, LOVE the Discovery Rooms, filled with hands-on, interactive exhibits! There are 17 rooms spread out over 2 stories, and each rooms has a theme, such as Optics, Vertebrates, Transportation and much more! Mrs. Moen’s Neighborhood is a fun-filled room for younger children, and there even a room for infants. Take your time to explore each of these rooms, as they all contain fun and engaging activities.
3. The Weather Room
One of my children’s favorite, they can “perform” before a real green screen, and give weather predictions, as well as sit at a news desk and watch themselves on a monitor! For even more fun, wear a green shirt and become invisible!
4. Health Room
Walk thru and explore the chambers of a larger than life heart in, and out, of the Health Room.
5. Sound Room
Playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano isn’t as easy as you might think, when you have to jump from key to key on this larger than life keyboard!
6. People of the World
Try on clothes of children from around the world while learning about their different cultures.
7. The Governor Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village
Since it’s outside, it’s best to plan your schedule around the time of year of your visit. During the summer, arrive early and head straight out to explore this historic village while it’s still cool. Let the kids run and play under the huge pecan trees as they visit the 9 wood frame buildings, which include a church, school, commissary, dog-trot style home and a log cabin, set on 13 acres.
- The village closes daily at 4 pm, an hour before the rest of the museum.
- During inclement weather, the village is closed, for the protection of the buildings.
8. Pack Your Lunch
There are outside tables available for a picnic lunch, but food and drinks are not sold in the museum.
9. Governor Bill Daniel?
I scratched my head the first time we visited the Mayborn, because I didn’t recall a Texas Governor by the name of Bill Daniel. Daniel was a lawyer in Liberty, served in the Texas House of Representatives, and in 1961 was appointed by John F. Kennedy as the Governor of the US territory of Guam. His brother was Price Daniels, the 38th Governor of Texas.
10. About Plantation Ranch
Bill and Vara Daniel lived in Liberty on historic Plantation Ranch, where he collected old buildings from around the area, and created a frontier village on his ranch, along with thousands of artifacts of Texas pioneer life. In 1985, the Daniel’s donated the entire village to Baylor University, which they had both attended. It took over 100 trucks to move the village from Liberty to Waco, almost 200 miles.
- Plantation Ranch in Liberty is still in the Daniel family, and a working cattle ranch. It’s located across from The Resort at Artesian Lakes, which was formerly Chain-O-Lakes. I can remember swimming in the little lake and visiting the Frontier Town as a very young child.
11. The Waco Mammoth Site Exhibit
The Waco Mammoth Exhibit is one of 3 walk-in dioramas in the Texas at the Crossroads of Texas exhibit. Stand on a glass floor above a cast sample of the findings at the Waco Mammoth Site, where over 25 mammoth fossils have been discovered. The fossils tell the heartbreaking story of a nursery herd of mammoths which were killed 68,000 years ago when a flash flood on the Bosque River trapped the herd.
- The Waco Mammoth Site is open to the public, Click HERE to visit their website.
- After the museum, drive out to Cameron Park to view the Bosque River from high above on the limestone cliffs at Lover’s Leap! Local legend tells of a tragic love affair of a Waco Indian girl, Wah-Wah-Tee and a young Apache brave.
12. Limestone Cave Diorama
Beneath Central Texas lies endless miles of caverns, and the Limestone Cave Diorama depicts what it’s like to walk through one of the caves. If you’ve never been on a cave tour, it’s a great introduction to the amazing world under the Texas surface. Want to explore the real thing?
- Inner Space Caverns is located 75 miles south of Waco in Georgetown, and is open to the public. Click HERE to visit their website.
- Longhorn Caverns State Park is 113 miles southwest of Waco in Burnet. They offer regular tours, as well as wild cave tour, photographic tours and even paranormal tours! Click HERE to visit their website.
- Colorado Bend State Park is also 115 miles southwest of Waco in Bend offers cave crawling tours. Click HERE to visit their calendar of events.
13. Texas Lifeways
Waco was named after the Waco (Hueco) Indians, a native American Caddoan culture that lived in long standing grass houses. The Waco Indians were farmers, growing vegetables and even peach orchards, unlike the nomadic Plains Indians which also lived in Texas. Texas Lifeways exhibit has both a grass house and tipi on view, and it’s a terrific way to point out the vastly different way of life of Texas’ diverse Native American cultures.
- Located just 30 miles from Waco in Moody is Christners Ranch, a pay to dig site where you can hunt for arrowheads. There are places to bring a trowel and dig, and you can surface hunt on the ground and in the creeks. The Christners are very friendly and it’s one of our favorite sites. Call 254-366-6503 to make reservations, and for more information.
14. Special Events and Traveling Exhibits
The Mayborn host several traveling exhibits throughout the year. Check their calendar of events for special presentations and performances during the year. Click HERE to visit the calendar.
Things to do in Waco
The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a 45 minute tour of the dig site of 23 mammoths and other “ice age” animals that appear to have been caught in a sudden flash flood. Click HERE for more information.
BSR Cable Park is more than just a wakepark, with a long lazy river and 3 waterslides, including the Royal Flush! There are also cabins on the ground overlooking the cable lake and lemur island! Click HERE to read more.
Cameron Park is a wonderful park along the Brazos River in Waco. Hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, splash pads, disc golf and much more, plus scenic overlooks at Lovers Leap. Click HERE for more information.
Mayborn Museum Complex
1300 South University Parks, Waco
Click HERE to visit their website.
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