What is left of the old cattle pens are just behind the Stockyards Exchange Building with just a small amount of Longhorns now using them. The first pens were built in 1876 when the Texas and Pacific Railway arrived into the stockyards. The floors of the pens were paved with bricks. It took more than 10 million bricks to pave the 2,600 pens that were full to capacity when the stockyards were in full operation holding around 24,500 animals. Then pens extended for nearly a mile back then but were reduced from 80 acres to only 7 acres in later years. There is an elevated walkway which crosses over the cattle pens and from where you can get a all round view of the Stockyards however this is only available to those on tours from the Visitors Centre.
Over the years, this three story orange brick building has been the home for many tenants. It features a pressed metal cornice and elaborate brick work including some nice corbelled banding above the first floor and on the parapet. Over the course of time, a ground floor canopy has been removed and the windows altered on the lower floor. The building has housed a hotel, boarding house, furniture company, and a dry goods store. In 1935, the building was purchased by the Masons and the Stock Yards Lodge No. 1224 relocated to the upper level from their previous home on Main Street. In 1956, the Masons moved to a new home in the area. Now it is a place for dinner, dancing and laughter.
The Cantina Cadillac
Hours: 5pm to 2am (Th), 4pm to 2am (Fri-Sun)
This is a bit touristy, but worth a visit...
This is a cattle exchange area. You get to sit on a bull, buy Texas souvenirs and see other tourists. However, what's remarkable is that this place does not lose its atmosphere of a cattletown.
Our perfect Friday Nov 23 2007 in the Stockyards (after doing free line dancing lesson at Billy Bob’s 7-8 every Thurs night, $1 cover)
Book online ahead of time: lunch res at Lonesome Dove Bistro for 1:30 ~$15 per lunch at http://www.lonesomedovebistro.com/, 3:30-4:30 Trinity River Run train $10@ at http://www.grapevinesteamrailroad.com, and 8 pm Rodeo $20@ box seats at http://www.cowtowncoliseum.com/
Park in lot on E. Exchange for $5 around 10:45 am, walk to the Visitor's Center and pay $6-7@ for the noon walking tour and find out about horseback rides in the afternoon. Stand on the curb in front of the Livestock Exchange and around 11 a guy will tie a longhorn steer to the rail and let you mount to take pic for a tip. See herd come down street at 11:30 from the Stockyards Station end. Walk over to the Station and in the center track they will do a fake gunfight at 11:45. Go to Visitor Ctr for informative walking tour explaining the whole area 12:00-1:25. Walk back up to N. Main and turn left and eat a WONDERFUL lunch at Lonesome Dove Bistro at your 1:30 res. Walk back to the Station and spend 20 min shopping and pick up your train tix. Around 3 the train pulls in. Can board at 3:15. Recommend sitting in regular passenger car with cushioned seats & reversible backs since you can bring the food back from the food cars that only have wooden slat seats. Relaxing trip out and back 3:30-4:30. Views of downtown Ft Worth skyscrapers, two rivers, park areas, etc. 4:30-7 you could maybe do a horseback trip from the Livery (closed when we were there) or visit the museums, wood slat maze, mechanical bull, shop. Pick up rodeo tickets. At 7pm try Riscky's Trailboss Burgers in the Station for $8 buffalo burgers with fries. Walk to Coliseum to your res box seats and enjoy a 8pm fun rodeo with bullriding, roping, barrel racing, and two kids' activities (coach your kids ages 2-12 to run and grab the ribbon on the tail of the calf or the sheep no matter how the clowns try to distract them). Full, fun, day.
My daughter wanted to ride, and this gentleman has his longhorn steer saddled up for tourists to ride (or sit on to have their picture taken). So she did that.
There is a whole business called Lonesome Longhorn Productions which will bring their cattle to your house for your guests to ride or will have a party at their ranch. Who knew?
Cowtown Coliseum sits right in the heart of the Stockyards and has a rich history steeped in Rodeo and the West. In 1986 the Coliseum was totally refurbished and brought up to modern day standards with heating and air conditioning as well as production lighting and sound.
There was nothing happening when we were there, still the interior had that decidedly 'cow-y' smell about it. There is a great little gift shop on the front of the Coliseum.
This Bull Ring -has a wooden picnic table on the sidewalk. It is a Restored old Saloon next door to White Elephant Saloon has one of the most extensive collections of early 1900s Texas art on the walls. Open on Mon. when other Museums are closed this Bull Ring is also a Starbucks so get your special Latte there.
This building when as a Saloon in the 1950s was the place of one of the last murders in the modern Stockyards when a couple men go into a fignt in the basement over a shffle board game.
If you love good Strawberry Ice Cream, they have a special brand available only at hotels and restaurants which is the "Best Strawberry Ice cream in Texas".
Be Sure to Check this place out-it is one of the best kept secrets in the Stockyards!
Fort Worth Stockyards is in the National Historical District. The livestock industry began to develop here in the 1880s and there were sheep, cattle, hog pens and horse and mule barns. The original barns were burned in 1911 and were replaced with concrete and steel buildings.
You can really feel the old west recaptured all along Exchange Avenue. In 1976 the area was renovated with western-style stores and restaurants and is now one of the most famous and fun historical sites in Texas. There are many activities within this area of 'cowtown'.
The rich history of the Stockyards will be honored with the Cowboys who made Cowtown what it is today at the Celebration on July 29, Sun. front lawn of the Exchange Building, when the million Cowboys "riding their Brand" will be honored with colorful cowboy music, gunfighters shoot out, Cowgirl from 1930s telling of starting at age 5 Trick Riding in Rodeos, John Buttrum from Pat Buttrum, Gene Autry comic side kick fame as announcer to let JOHN WAYNE, aka Jack Edmondson, speak about being a Cowboy, and Monty Moncrief Teel, noted poet of many different Cowboy Poetry gatherins giving his story of Cowboys.
The Longhorn Cattle Drive will follow this show with the example of why cattle drives were not as easy as some might think when you see these horn spans of 8-10 ft. Awesome animals to have coming your way without a horse to carry you out of harms way.
Winners of the Cowboy Poetry contest will be announced and paid CASH prizes. This will be the 1st year of this exciting event which will be a day program next year to give honor to those who became the 1st American Heroes. This is a FREE -No Admission event.
At 11.30am and 4.00pm daily, the stockyard cowboys drive the Longhorns through the Stockyards from the corral. The fenced pens are behind Billy Bobs at the north end of the Coliseum. There is a lot of whip cracking and hollering and its really quite a sight.
This apparently is the world's only daily cattle drive. During Summer the crowds are heavy and of course its hot standing around waiting. But get a good place ext to the curb.. forget about standing on the road, you will be shoo'd back onto the pavement.
If you get there by 11.00am you will also see the Tarrantula pull into the stockyard station.
On the weekends you can try your hand at hanging on riding a mechanical bull. The speed and rotation is adjusted depending on age/preference etc and there is plenty of padding on the ground should you be defeated and fall off. A minimal fee is charged.
For just a couple of dollars during the weekend hours you can hoist yourself upon the back of one of these lovely creatures and have your photo taken by your own camera. The cowboys are there to give you a boost and get you down safely. The longhorns are a pretty broad creature so forget the mini skirt.
The first time we were at the stockyards, there was a parade not with longhorns but with cowboys escorting a sport car. There was someofficial presentation and speech being held outside the Visitors Centre.
This is certainly one of Fort Worth's most popular tourist areas. Here, one can find a combination of historic buildings, shops, restaurants, clubs, cattle pens, and a train depot. This place is essentially for all ages. Children will enjoy the animals, riding a mechanical bull (the difficulty level can be adjusted), practicing with a lasso, and going into the toy and candy stores. Adults will enjoy the many restaurants as well as some shopping. This is also a historic place as it was a center for the famous cattle drives that went through this region. Today, some cattle pens remain to give the visitor a glimpse of what it was like in its heyday.
Weddings are often held in the chapel or one of the halls available for rental at the Stockyards Station. Other events often take place here too. This place should be a "must see" for those who want to explore a little bit of Fort Worth.