A December 2004 trip
to Dallas by jwdorris
Quote: When my son's high school band was invited to march in the Cotton Bowl Parade of Bands and perform in the pregame and halftime shows for the 2005 Cotton Bowl, my wife, daughter, and her fiancé decided head to Dallas. It ended up being a great weekend getaway.
Fair Park, home of the Cotton Bowl, also is home to several other area attractions. The Dallas Aquarium is worth a visit. If you have a Friend’s of the Zoo membership from your local zoo, don’t forget to show it at the ticket booth for a significant discount. The aquarium is home to numerous species of fish and exotic underwater creatures and is a great place to have fun and learn more about aquatic life. Each October, Fair Park comes alive with the sights and sounds of the Texas State Fair, complete with carnival rides, exhibits, and a midway. There is also a Natural History Museum in the park, and downtown Dallas is home to an excellent art museum.
The Ball Park at Arlington is home to the major league baseball Texas Rangers. The modern stadium is designed with the look and feel of an old-time baseball park and is a great place to watch a game. Dallas is also home to the Dallas Cowboys professional football team and professional basketball and hockey teams.
For the amusement park enthusiasts, Six Flags Over Texas is a great place to enjoy some rides and shows while nearby Hurricane Harbor Water Park is a great place to cool off and beat the Texas heat.
For history buffs, Dealey Plaza, the site where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1962, and the Sixth Floor Museum that houses memorabilia from that tragic day are worth the time and money to see. Nearby shops are fun to visit, and if you shop carefully, bargains are available.
Those who enjoy shopping won’t be left out in Dallas. The Galleria Mall, with hundreds of stores and restaurants, even has an indoor ice-skating rink to entertain the kids while the adults shop. Numerous other malls and shopping centers are available to make Dallas a shopper’s paradise.
The Chamber of Commerce website and downtown information center are also excellent sources of information, brochures, and coupons.
On prior visits we have found the discount coupon magazines available at highway rest areas to be an excellent source of discount coupons for restaurants, attractions, and hotels. On our last visit to Dallas, we were able to get a suite with two queen-size beds, a sofa bed, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a partial room divider for less than per night by using a coupon from one of these magazines. The normal rate for the room was nearly per night. The hotel was a Comfort Suites hotel located near LBJ Freeway and Central Expressway, which allowed easy auto access to the city’s attractions.
On our recent visit, we drove to Dallas and used a combination of methods to get around once we were there. We drove to Fair Park for the parade and drove to Dealey Plaza and the other downtown sites. We rode the DART system to and from the Cotton Bowl Game. While the train and bus were crowded and required some waiting, they were nothing like the clogged interstates that we saw out the window of the train as we left the game.
The restaurant is designed both inside and out to look like ranch house. The building is of log construction with exposed log walls inside and out. Decor is rustic, with animal head mounts, horse tack, and ranching implements on the walls. Seats at the bar were made of Western riding saddles. At the entrance, there is an area where customers can watch while fresh tortillas are made.
I had steak fajitas, which were excellent, but the portion of meat was a little small. They were however delicious and I was full when I left. Other members of our party got burritos, and tacos, and one got a steak, all of which looked and smelled delicious. My niece ordered chicken strips off the children’s menu, and she enjoyed them.
The service was excellent, and our waitress was attentive and visited our table frequently to check for any needs. There was no rush to hurry us out the door once we finished our meal, they allowed us to sit at the table and visit until we were ready to leave without any subtle hints that we needed to make room for other customers. We visited at approximately 8pm, and there was only a 5- to 10-minute wait to be seated.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 7, 2005
La Hacienda Ranch
4110 North Preston Road
Attraction | "SBC Cotton Bowl Parade of Bands"
The parade was expected to draw approximately 85,000 spectators, but while the crowd was large, I don’t think that many people lined the parade route when the parade commenced at 3pm on New Years Eve. The weather was perfect, with sunny skies and a temperature of 72 degrees. Although there was a large crowd, parking was not a problem, and traffic moved into and out of the area efficiently.
Bands ranged in size from small bands like my son’s, with approximately 65 members, to the Texas A&M Aggie Band, with several hundred members, but all the bands performed well and were a tribute to their respective schools. The Wright City, MO, band won the marching band competition.
At the end of the parade, the bands from the two colleges participating in the SBC Cotton Bowl held pep rallies in separate areas of Fair Park. There were large numbers of fans at both rallies, but the Texas A&M Rally drew a massive crowd, since they were the local favorites over the Tennessee Vols.
In addition to the parade, SBC, the sponsor of the 2005 Cotton Bowl, had a trailer promoting their products and services. People could call anywhere in the country for free, check their email, or have their picture taken in front of various backgrounds and emailed home for free. They also gave away prizes ranging from T-shirts and hats to USB jump-drive memory sticks to those who visited the tent. A few vendors provided snacks on the grounds as well.
Although my son’s band, the Fair Grove High School Marching Eagles, didn’t win the competition, it was a thrill for them to participate in an event of this caliber, and it was a thrill as a parent to have the opportunity to be there.
The combination of beautiful weather and a great afternoon of marching bands made the 2005 SBC Parade of Bands a great afternoon of fun and entertainment.
3750 Midway Plaza
Dallas, Texas 75210
+1 214 939 2222
Attraction | "2005 SBC Cotton Bowl Game"
While we had been to several of our hometown college football games, my family and I had never been to a game between major Division I teams. We went because our son’s high school band had been selected to perform in the halftime show, along with 19 other high school bands. We took the DART rail system train to City Place Station, then boarded a shuttle bus to the game in order to avoid the traffic. The rail station was crowded, and it took at least half an hour to get on a shuttle bus, but it still beat driving in the heavy traffic around the stadium.
Although the game was very lopsided and essentially over in the first quarter, it was a lot of fun to experience a major college bowl game in person. The Tennessee Vols dominated the game, allowing only one Texas A&M touchdown, with 5 minutes left in the game. Tennessee won the game 38 to 7.
Attendance was reported as 75,404—a very large and noisy crowd. The cheers of the fans were so loud that I’m sure they could be heard quite a distance from the stadium. The weather was overcast but warm, making for an enjoyable outdoor experience. There were vendors selling souvenirs, food, and drink, but all these items were expensive, as is typical at sporting events. T-shirts were $30, hot dogs $3.50, and beer was $6 per 16-ounce bottle.
The halftime show was very good. First, the Tennessee band took the field and performed a couple of songs and demonstrated their marching ability. Next, Texas A&M’s band performed a couple of songs and displayed their very impressive marching formations. Their formations were quite detailed and complicated, but they performed them flawlessly. Finally, the 20 high school bands took the field and performed one song as a group. It was impressive that 20 bands could learn to perform together with only 2 days of practice and sound so good. The halftime show was the main reason we went to the game, but we ended up really enjoying the whole experience. We are planning to go back next year or attend a different bowl game.
As the president’s motorcade entered Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, three shots rang out, leaving the president dead and Texas Governor Connelly seriously wounded. The presidential motorcade rushed to nearby Parkland Hospital, where an unsuccessful attempt was made to resuscitate the president. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested a few hours later and charged with assassinating the president, but nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot him to death in the basement of the Dallas Police Station before he ever went to trial.
The Warren Commission, charged by Congress with determining the facts surrounding the death of President Kennedy, determined that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the three shots from a sixth-floor window of the Texas Book Depository where he worked, and that he acted alone. However, many claim that there was another gunman located on the grassy knoll adjacent to Dealey Plaza, and based on eyewitness evidence, much speculation, and apparent inconsistencies seen in an amateur video taken of the assassination as it happened, conspiracy theories abound, making the Kennedy assassination one of the most discussed events in recent history. The truth of what actually happened will probably never be known.
The Texas Book Depository has been turned into a museum dedicated to chronicling the assassination and the historical events surrounding it. Dealey Plaza has been named a national historic landmark. I have been fascinated with the Kennedy assassination for years, so on our recent trip to Dallas, we visited Dealey Plaza. Unfortunately, it was nearly closing time for the museum, so we opted not to pay the $10 per person admission fee for a 30-minute visit.
We were able to walk around Dealey Plaza and spend time in the area. A memorial structure has been built on the famed grassy knoll, and it contains interesting displays and information about the assassination. A historical marker has been placed along the highway marking the spot where the president’s limousine was when he was struck by the fatal shot.
Unfortunately, the site has been overrun by individuals attempting to sell magazines and books touting one conspiracy theory or another to the tourists and history buffs who visit. These salesmen are rather aggressive and can become annoying as they hound guests at every street corner or at the major areas visited at the site. Getting rid of these salesmen requires a firm "no" and occasionally even a rude attitude.
In spite of the high-pressure salesmen that hound visitors at the site, it is well worth the visit, especially for history buffs or anyone interested in the assassination. This was my second visit to Dealey Plaza, and I am yet to get to tour the museum. I would really have liked to do so on this visit, but simply walking the site and seeing the window from which the fatal shots were allegedly fired made the historical knowledge learned in the past more interesting and understandable. As you walk the sidewalks and stand on the grassy knoll, it isn’t hard to imagine the chaos that must have erupted in this small area on that fateful November day.
Fair Grove, Missouri