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Going soon and just starting to research!

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Northeast Ohio
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Going soon and just starting to research!

We have just booked our tickets to DFW in two weeks and JUST starting to research the area! Our 12 yo son wanted to go to Crater of Diamonds Park in Arkansas, so we are flying into DFW on Saturday night, driving out to Arkansas the next day for 2 nights and then back to DFW area for 4 days. We are not necessarily city people, but do enjoy exploring some cities and appreciate history, so are thinking that Ft. Worth would be better for us than Dallas.

I am looking for any and all suggestions for activities, hotels, restaurants, etc. Would love to stay in a centrally located area if possible and will we be able to find enough to keep us busy for those 4 days?

Also, we will be renting a car for the trip to Arkansas, should we keep it for the rest of the trip or return it for the Ft. Worth portion of the trip and get a taxi back to the airport?

Thanks in advance for all your help, we are looking forward to our first visit to Texas!

Grapevine, Texas
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1. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

Sounds like you might enjoy going to Dinosaur State Park in Glen Rose, TX - about an hour's drive SW of Fort Worth. http://www.glenrosetexas.net/

Fort Worth has a city bus system (The-T) and Dallas has DART (rail and bus, but rail is somewhat limited). The Trinity Rail Express travels the 30 miles between Dallas and FW, but as a commuter rail, it has a limited schedule with no late night and NO Sunday at all. I would keep the car for convenience.

Fort Worth has the Stockyards with Fri/Sat night rodeos and both cities have world class museums. Arlington is between the 2 citites and is home to the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys - both stadiums offer tours.

Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

I know you're posting this on the Texas forum, but here's a hint on Crater of Diamonds:

A lot of people start spending a lot of time sifting starting with their first shovels of dirt. This means you'll be sifting the stuff that the people that were there before you have already been through. The park also regularly goes through and plows the soil to stir it up for people, which helps a little. You're more likely to find something interesting, even if it's not a diamond, if you dig quickly through your first shovel-fuls and then start sifting. Also, while you're in that area, you might want to check out Historic Washington State Park, which is a restored antebellum town with a lot of history. They have costumed park interpreters and some interesting exhibits in some of the buildings. http://www.historicwashingtonstatepark.com/

I second the idea of going to Glen Rose, if you don't mind making a second day-trip to the south after your visit to Arkansas. Even if you don't, I'd hang on to the car. Even though there is some public transportation, things are pretty spread out here.

Georgetown, Texas
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3. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

If you are going to keep a car, I suggest the Marriott Towneplace Suites. Good location and free parking. Also hotel shuttle M-F within 5 mile radius and free breakfast. Molly the Trolley makes an extended loop to the hotel 6-10PM.

marriott.com/hotels/…

http://www.mollythetrolley.com/

Sundance Square is close by for restaurants and some shopping as well as a movie theatre.

http://www.sundancesquare.com/

Northeast Ohio
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4. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

Thanks so much for the help! Based on this, a couple other posts I found, and my son's input, we are extending the Arkansas trip by one night so that we can do some fishing and have more time to dig for diamonds without having to rush and put in a ton of time in one day. Wolfie, thanks for the tip on digging, we will definitely move quickly through the first shovelfuls. Also hoping to hit Historic Washington State Park for some nice history, thanks for that info also!

From there we are going to drive straight to Glen Rose for the next two nights and hit Valley of the Dinosaur and Fossil Rim, as our son is hugely into fossils and it looks like they offer a fossil dig.

So now, my questions are more specific:

- Any suggestions on lodging around the airport for our first night? We don't get in until 9:00pm and will just need somewhere close, preferably towards Arkansas, with some food and alcohol options on site. :)

- If there isn't availability at Fossil Rim Lodge, any suggestions on lodging in the area? Son isn't into the safari tent option, as much as I tried to convince him!

- Our last day, we are heading back into Ft. Worth before we have to be at the airport for our 7:30pm flight. Was thinking of exploring Stockyards and possibly Sundance Square area. Would have liked to see the rodeo but we get in too late on Saturday night and leave Friday. Any specific suggestions for that day other than the rodeo or should we just explore?

- I am really looking forward to some good barbecue. Any suggestions that will be on our route or should we just stop at any of the roadside places?

Thanks again for all your help, we can't wait!

Texas
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5. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

For a place close to the airport with food and alcohol options, check the Embassy Suites in Grapevine.

Glad to hear you are adding another day to Arkansas. There is a lot to do in that area. My daughter enjoyed Historic Washington State Park, but only to a certain point. She can only enjoy so much history, lol.

I'd highly recommend an overnight stay at DeGray Lake Resort, about an hour from the Crater of Diamonds. They have a ton of activities going on during Spring Break times. Check out the calendar of events on their website. degray.com/thingstodo/events_programs.aspx

Weatherford, Texas
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6. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

For great authentic BBQ try Railhead Smokehouse BBQ on Montgomery St. In Ft. Worth.

If your son is into sports, then maybe a tour of Cowboys Stafium or The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

If not, the Fort Worrh Science and History Museum is also great.

Have fun!!!

Dallas, Texas
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7. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

At Dinosaur Valley State Park, the dinosaur tracks are under water much of the time, but you can see them. When you're at the viewing areas take time to look around for them. Once you've seen your first or second one, it becomes a lot easier to spot the others. There is one area where you can see some very good ones that are often above ground if you wade across the river. It's shallow near that area and there are rocks to help you get across. You might want to pack shoes that are good for walking in water, though I've done it barefoot just fine. My best visit was two summers ago at the height of the drought. The river was almost completely dry and we walked a really long way on the dry riverbed following the tracks. I leaned then that there are far more than I realized. Just look for them. I don't know what the water level is like right now, but I'm sure it's not that low.

If you want to compare Texas BBQ with Arkansas BBQ since you'll be in both states, I'd recommend Big Jake's in Hope, just south of Washington for your Arkansas sampling. They serve good BBQ, large portions, and a good selection of sides. They are also known for their fried pies.

tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g31675-d17…

One of the main differences is that Texas BBQ focuses on beef, and Arkansas and some other states focus on pork. Also, I've noticed that you're more likely to get a sweeter, thicker sauce in Arkansas, though I've come across some place in Texas that have it.

If you're interested in knowing about the historic buildings in Sundance Square, this is a good guide, though I guess spending too long looking at them might bore your son.

www.fortwortharchitecture.com/walktour.htm

What he and you might find interesting there in addition to the restaurants and other businesses is what's called the "Biggest Comic Strip in Texas." There's some construction going on at Sundance Square and rather than just have ugly fencing around it, they put a huge comic strip along the fence. It features locations in Sundance Square in the story.

Grapevine, Texas
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8. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g55902-d10…

Arlington, TX
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for Fort Worth
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9. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

Cleburne and Granbury are both fairly close to Glen Rose and both have some chain hotels. i was thinking Glen Rose has a chain hotel now too but cant remember what it is-holiday inn maybe? we've had bbq at the Loco Coyote in Glen Rose n it was really good, its a bit outside of town down a country road, its been a few yrs ago but it was a hit with us.

When in Ft Worth, there's a renovated holiday inn just on the south edge of downtown that often has good rates n our family thought it was good for the price. there's also a Marriot Springhill Suite and Hilton Garden Inn just SW of downtown that could be affordable options. for food, I recommend Freds Texas Cafe, great burgers, brisket tacos, often have smoked pork tacos, good steaks n love local music(no cover) and its a restaurant so minors r fine but theres a bar for thr grownups :) Id also recommend Uncle Julios for fantastic fire roasted salsa, house made flour tortillas amd fajitas. Benitos for more authentic Mexican food, Central Market cafe for best bbq in Ft Worth as well as amazing beer/wine selection and fresh made to order sandwiches on artisan breads and other prepares foods and a great patio and weekend live music (free).

Have fun!

Grapevine, Texas
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10. Re: Going soon and just starting to research!

I can't recommend any specific lodging in Glen Rose, but relative to other area hotels, Fossil Rim Lodge doesn't fare as well in TA reviews.....

tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g55902-Glen_Rose_Texa…