From the terracotta looking paths you can see some unusual little bridges in the main lagoon where you can see the odd turtle or two sunning themselves. A regular pathway under shady trees connects both ends of the lagoon.
The lagoon sits behind the Science Place, Imax Theatre and Museum of Natural History and fronts the Aquarium and Band Shell and was named after philanthropist Dorothea Leonhardt.
The lagoon operates Swan Paddle Boat rides from 10.00am to 6.00pm. at $5.00 per person or $10.00 per boat although it is a stretch to fit more than 2 adults unless it is a small child.
The Tower Building is a focal point of the Centennial Exposition of Fair Park. It was formally called the Federal Building and was designed in 1936 by Dahl. In 1999 this 40,000sqft exhibition hall underwent restoration. The interior rotunda has 4 murals in each corner which represent the four compass regions of America. The ceiling is decorated with stenciling and floor is patterned. All the original furniture still remains in the room.
The bas relief on the front of the building were designed by Julian Garnsey and tells the story of the history of Texas.
The Sydney Smith Memorial Fountain sits outside the Music Hall in Fair Park. Sydney Smith was a long-time Secretary of the State Fair Association. Captain Smith was a Confederate veteran who fought during the Civil War and served 4 years in Company D. He died in 1912 at the age of 73 and is buried at Greenwoods Cemetery. The memorial was unveiled on October 14 in 1916 by his granddaughter. The statue is sculptured by a Dallas artist Clyde Gitner Chandler. It consists of 4 female figures which symbolise the characteristics of Texas - 'Mountain' is seated, 'Prairie' at her knee, 'Gulf' reclines and the winged 'Gulf Clouds'. At the time of this photo, the fountain was not operating.
The Band Shell is right behind the Science Place. In 2000 it was refurbished back to its original 1936 look. All the lead paint was removed and new lighting was added. The shell has 3,800 permanent seats but can hold 4,500.
Cotton Bowl Stadium was built in 1930 and is the home of the Texas-Oklahoma University game in October of each year. The Dallas Cowboys games were played in the Cotton Bowl until 1971 and SMU's home games were played there too for years but they are now played at Owenby Stadium.
The stadium is Dallas' largest outdoor facility and can seat 100,000 fans. The Cotton Bowl is also the site of the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Classic played on New Year's day.
The Firefighters Museum has been set up in the 1907 No.5 Hook and Ladder Company Station right opposite Fair Park. They have a great collection of old fire equipment, clothing and fire trucks which includes 'Old Tige', a 1884 horse-drawn steam pumper and a 1936 ladder truck. All the displays record the history of fire fighting which span about 100 years. There is also more modern day equipment on display.
The museum is staffed by retired firefighters Wednesday through Saturday from 9-4. There is also a gift shop.
September 26 - October 19, 2003 • Fair Park in Dallas
Considering I live within a few miles of the Dallas Fair Park, it's only natural that I skip on over for the huge state fair at some point each year. My catalyst is usually a musical act I want to catch. The last show I was excited to see there was Lucinda Williams. The concerts are free with state fair admission, no extra ticket is required which is great. But keep in mind they don't feel the need to give you the show they normally would. They tend to keep it shorter. But considering you have the fun of the fair, that's usually fine.
Fair favorites would be the musical acts, the fair foods, the great photo booths that sprout up around the place, the ones that take those fun black and white photo strips. One year they had a big I Love Lucy exhibit with loads of cool stuff including a set. It did have a separate entrance fee.
Just strolling around people-watching and drinking cold beer can be worth the trip.
Beware of the day of the Texas versus Oklahoma University football game. The fair is usually absolutely packed with rowdy fans. It's the major rivalry in this area and the game is held at a stadium at Fair Park.
• General Admission: $12
• Kids under 48" tall: $8
• Seniors 60 and over: $8
• Children 2 and under: Free
• Seniors 60 and over: Free every Thursday
There is also a Dr. Pepper Two Dollar Tuesday where if you bring a can, you can get in for 2 dollars.
PARKING: $7 in lots operated by the State Fair of Texas. Look for "Official State Fair Parking" signs. Valet Parking – available at Grand Avenue Gate or the Parry/Haskell entrance – is $20.
You can also buy advance tickets by following the weblink.
The Womens Museum is the nation's first comprehensive women's museum and it opened in conjunction with the State Fair 2000. It features a 30 foot electronic quilt (multi-media wall), mentor phones, morphing imagery, myth maze (glass labyrinth), listening wall, futuristic theatre and exhibits on loan from the Smithsonian Institution.
This building was originally built in 1910 as Dallas' first coliseum - cattle auctions were held by day and at night Operas were performed.
More in my Travelogue.
Fair Park is home to the State Fair of Texas, which is runs for about 3 weeks in Autumn and attracts more than 3.6 million visitors annually. When the fair is not on, the 277 acre area serves as a popular city park. The grounds also house 8 museums and the largest collection of cultural facilities in Dallas and the largest collection of 1930’s art deco style architecture in the United States.
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