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Abilene, Texas

Abilene was established by cattlemen as stock shipping point on Texas and Pacific Railroad in 1881, named for Abilene, Kansas. The city later became major cattle producing area with diversified farming. In recent years, oil has added great impetus to city’s economy. When the city celebrated its centennial in 1981, the city set up a demonstration oil-drilling rig on the county fairgrounds just to illustrate the techniques of “making hole.” By pure accident, it struck oil, not much, but enough for modest, profitable production. Cultural aspects influenced by Abilene Christian Univ., Hardin-Simmons Univ., and McMurry Univ., branches of Cisco Junior College and Texas State Technical College; community theater and a philharmonic association and fine arts museum. Abilene is home to the Forts Trail Regional Office at 1025 N 10th, and the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature at North 1st and Cedar sts. This one of a kind children’s museum offers the best works of today’s premier children’s authors and illustrators, and it is home to the permanent collection of works by William Joyce.

The West Texas Fair, 10 days in mid-Sept., features exhibits and amusements reflecting early days of Abilene, plus modern attractions of West Texas.

The Western Heritage Classic in early May features ranch rodeo, campfire cook-off, sheep dog trials, farrier competition, Cowboy Poet’s Society, Western art show, and many other activities recalling early Western heritage.

The second weekend in April features Celebrate Abilene, an outdoor festival held in the historic downtown area bringing the arts, history, railroad, and family entertainment into one fun-filled festival for the entire community.

Abilene lies on U.S. 84, a segment of the Ports to Plains Highway connecting the state’s heartland to coastal ports, as well as on U.S. 83, 277 and I-20.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Abilene Zoo

One of five largest in state; animals displayed in modern areas simulating natural habitat. Discovery Center is a "zoo within a zoo," housing comparative habitat displays of invertebrates, fish, reptiles, birds, and small mammals from the Southwestern U.S. and Africa.

Abilene, TX Zoos

Frontier Texas!

Friendly travel counselors and travel information kiosks are ready to assist in your discovery of Abilene, the TexasForts Trail, and the 63-county "TexasFrontier" region. In addition, see the big picture of the frontier of Texas between 1780 and 1880

Abilene, TX Learning Centers

Grace Museum

Comprised of the Fine Arts Museum, Abilene Historical Museum, and the Children's Museum, all are in the historic Grace Hotel, known as the Grace Cultural Center. Built in 1909, the Grace is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and portions are restored to its 1929

Abilene, TX Museums

Annual Armored Division Memorial Museum

Museum dedicated to honoring the Annual Armored Division, which trained in Camp Barkeley, near Abilene, and served during World War II. The "Hellcats"

Abilene, TX Museums

Dyess Air Force Base

Home of Air Combat Command's historic 7th Wing. Currently flies B-1B Lancers and C-130H Hercules. The base's Linear Air Park contains 30 aircraft from World War II to the present. Aircraft are displayed along Arnold Blvd., a main base thoroughfare.

Abilene, TX Military Bases

Things to do near Abilene, TX

Yoakum County Park

A party house and RV campsites are available for a small rental fee. The park also features an 18-hole golf course. Six miles...

Felty Outdoor Oil Museum

Early oil field equipment from height of oil boom includes spudders used for drilling and cleaning out wells, a steel beam pu...

Archer City Country Club

Course Access: Semi-PrivateHoles: 9Reserve Advance Tee Times: 2 days...

Scenic Drive

Texas 256 west traverses rolling country often cut by tributaries of Prairie Dog Town Fork of Red River. It threads among the...