An excellent way to acquaint yourself with historic Ft. Worth is to take the Stockyard Walking Tour, which begins at the visitors center on Exchange Avenue.
A knowledgeable guide escorts the tour to many of the Stockyards highlights and you'll learn the ins and outs of cattle herding.
Our route included the Ft. Worth Stock Market (where livestock is sold); Stockyard Station, where shops have replaced former animal quarters and the Coliseum (where weekly rodeos are held) then finally to Billy Bob's Texas--an entertainment venue.
We were also shown where the cowboys formerly camped along Marine Creek and gained an understanding of the cowboy's life in general.
UPDATE: (Feb. 2009) on the website mentioned below, adults are now listed as $6 for the walking tour; $4 for children 6-12; seniors $5. A $1 discount coupon can be found by going to www.stockyardsstations.com.
Tours depart Monday-Saturday at 10am, 12noon, 2pm and 4pm; Sundays the tour departs at 12noon, 2pm and 4pm.
The price of the hour and 20 minute tour was $7 for adults, $5 for children and $6 for Seniors. We highly recommend the walking tour--it was very informative!
The Visitor Centre is opposite the Live Stock Exchange. Along with loads of information and literature on Fort Worth and surrounding areas there are also some souvenirs and of course restrooms. Inside the building is a mural of the Fort Worth Stockyards.
At the centre you can also book escorted hour long tours through the historic stockyards. The center offers information on area-wide attractions as well as on the Stockyards. Also you can sign up here for escorted hour long historic tours of the Stockyards.
The staff at the tourist office are really friendly and are full of information. It is a good starting point before you explore the stockyards as they have lots of leaflets and maps for information. There is a great guided tour that runs frequently during the day. It was only $7 when I did it, so very cheap. Our guide was very informative and gave us lots of interesting facts that we would not have known by just walking around on our own. Points on the tour included the river that runs under the street, cattlemans catwalk that takes you above the cattle pens, inside the cowtown opry, billy bobs texas, the livestock exchange building and more.
Don't mind the smell; it's not that bad. This is what Texas is all about: cattle. Before oil, tourism, high-tech, or NASA, Texas had the cattle industry. Here is where you can learn all about it.