For this summer, it’s all about enhancing the visitors’ experience, with attractions around Amarillo adding new touches and major additions that increase their value.
The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM) rolls out three new programs to help the visitor navigate the state’s largest history museum. These new programs start May 26.
Play PPHM Bingo at 10:30 am every weekday as family members compete with each other in this game of speed and discovery.
Chat with a Curator happens at 3:30 pm every weekday. Visitors will meet different curators each day and learn about their job and the artifacts under their care.
Staff Favorites can be seen throughout the museum as PPHM staff describes their personal connection to an artifact on “Staff Favorite” labels. Visitors who find Director Guy C. Vanderpool’s favorite item receive a free gift in the museum store.
And don’t forget to call 806-318-9056 for a cell phone tour of the featured exhibit, “It’s Been Good to Know Yuh; Woody Guthrie in Pampa, 1929-36.” There is no additional charge for the cell phone tours.
PPHM is in Canyon, TX. Call 806-651-2244 or visit www.panhandleplains.org.
The Amarillo Zoo adds a brand new exhibit and several new programs in 2009. Combined with free admission, it is fast becoming a must-see stop for visitors.
The Herpetarium is scheduled to open this summer with more than 60 animals representing approximately 30 species of native and exotic reptiles and amphibians.
Visitors can unlock the zoo’s education value with collectable ZooKeys. Each key operates all the audio-interpretive stations throughout the zoo, a great addition for just $2.50.
ZooFari Carts will be driven through the zoo, letting guests see and touch things like furs, skulls, feathers and maybe even a live snake.
Keeper Chats have been added throughout the day so visitors can enjoy an informal program from a zookeeper in front of various zoo exhibits. Check the daily schedule at the zoo entrance for these and other presentations every day this summer.
Call 806-381-7911 or visit www.amarillozoo.org.
Wonderland Amusement Park opens three new rides this summer, including the 200-foot tall Drop of Fear. Also opening in June are The Hornet, a small, speedy roller coaster with a sting, and the Fiesta Swing. The three new rides are located in the new West End of the park.
Wonderland Amusement Park is a great value at only $15.95 for a hand stamp ($12.95 for kids under 42” tall); weekends slightly higher. Call 800-383-4712 or 806- 383-3344 or visit www.wonderlandpark.com.
The Amarillo Zoo and Wonderland Amusement Park are located next to each other in Thompson Park, off U.S. 287 north of downtown Amarillo.
Amarillo Museum of Art offers special art camps for children and adults at www.amarilloart.org/Content.aspx?cid=68. Admission to the AMoA is always free. The museum is located on the Washington St. campus of Amarillo College. Call 806- 371- 5050 or visit www.amarilloart.org.
The Don Harrington Discovery Center will be open on Mondays throughout the summer, starting on May 25 through September 7. It’s an extra day to enjoy the renovated exhibit space and visit the 100-seat Digital Space Theater. The Discovery Center is at 1200 Streit Dr. in Amarillo. Call 806-355-9547 or visit www.dhdc.org.
The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum has expanded summer hours, from 9-5, Monday through Saturday. That’s extra time to catch the new exhibit, "The Quarter Horse Journal, A Celebration of 60 Years,” chronicling the publication that helped shape the Quarter Horse industry.
Find the Hall of Fame & Museum at2601 I-40 East at Quarter Horse Dr. Or visit www.aqha.com/foundation/halloffame/index.html or call 806-376-5181.
The Galleries at Sunset Center present a new sculpture garden. It has over 25,000 square feet of gardens with benches and water features and 23 original sculptures. It is open during daylight hours and is free.
After strolling the gardens, drop into The Galleries at Sunset Center to see more than 50 local artists under one roof. It’s cool inside. Don’t forget the First Friday Art Walk at The Galleries each month. It’s all along Plains Blvd., just east of Western St. in Amarillo. Visit www.amarilloartists.com for a complete list of galleries.
The Kwahadi Indian Dancers begin their “Song of the Eagle” series of summer performances the first weekend in June. New this year will be a series of dances and costumes inspired by Zapotec Indians of Mexico. The performances are at the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian on I-40 East at the Airport Blvd. exit. For complete details call 806-335-3175 go to www.kwahadi.com.
Returning after a one-year absence is a major ranch rodeo- the Coors Cowboy Club Ranch Rodeo. Rodeo performances start at 7:30 on June 5-6 in the Amarillo National Center. Also check out music by Jody Nix and the Texas Cowboy Band on June 5. And don’t miss the World Championship Washer Pitchin’ contest, Ribfest, a Women’s Ranch Rodeo, Cowboy Trade Show and more. All activities will be at the Tri-State Fairgrounds in Amarillo. For more information call 806-376-7767 or visit www.coorscowboyclub.com.
The Palo Duro Canyon State Park celebrates its 75th anniversary during the July 4th weekend (the park opened on July 4, 1934). The park’s admission fees will be waived on Saturday, July 4th and Sunday, July 5th.
A special presentation of “TEXAS” will be held on July 4th with tickets available at www.texas-show.com.
A special concert featuring Boz Scaggs will be held at the Pioneer Amphitheatre on July 5th. Tickets are available also at www.texas-show.com.
Park staff will provide special programs and hikes during the weekend to allow all of our guests a chance to get reacquainted with Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
The state park is 25 miles southeast of Amarillo at the end of state highway 217. Call 806-488-2227 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/palo_duro/ (Texas Parks and Wildlife website) or www.palodurocanyon.com (Partners of Palo Duro Canyon Foundation web site).
The Amarillo CVC is the premier marketer of Amarillo. Our mission is to increase hotel and attraction visitors by promoting the Amarillo area as a unique destination.
Visit the Amarillo CVC website at www.visitamarillotx.com