Real cowboys know what makes the strongest reins. Do you?
"Is that a real gun?" That's a question you'll most likely hear being asked by little cowpokes visiting the Witte's exhibition: A Wild and Vivid Land: Stories of South Texas. At the Witte's newly opened South Texas Heritage Center, local 'interactor' Dru Barcus engages the curious about what life was like for cowboys some 150 years ago.
Visitors sit along the banks of the San Antonio River as costumed performers reenact the challenges and charms of life in the 1800s at the outdoor amphitheater. In character, like Dru, they invite you to ask them about the times and the trials of everyday life.
Getting to know a cowboy
Inside you'll uncover fascinating tidbits about vaqueros, cowboys outlaws, ranchers, merchants, trail drivers, farmers, Spanish settlers, Tejano freighters and Texas Indians. You'll get to know some of the extraordinary personalities who tamed the wilderness and see some of the tools they used in the process. Look for the San Jacinto Battlefield Bowie knife, Samuel Maverick's Cherokee coat, Davy Crockett's fiddle, saddles, spurs and a handy Colt 45 revolver covered with 275 ranch brands etched into every surface.
Find out about chuck box cuisine, the why's of a bandanna, and the importance of chaps. What is a carreta? Who were the chili queens? What's a fandango - No, we're not talking about the movie ticket site! Yearning for an even more intimate South Texas experience?
At the themed "Time Travel Saturdays" held on the third Saturday of each month through August, you'll get a chance to be a cowboy, go shopping in an 1800s market or take in a tall tale.
A sure deal
It's great fun for families who sometimes pack a lunch to share out on the patio or back lawn between "Wild and Vivid Land" and the Witte's Darwin exhibit. And while we are on the subject of "Darwin" - you'll want to keep in mind that the Witte is offering a special summer-long $2 discount off the regular $5 surcharge to explore "Darwin: How One Man's Theory Turned the World on its Head."
In this must-see, 'internationally-acclaimed' exhibit you'll pore over fossils, specimens and documents of Darwin's eye-opening 5-year voyage to Patagonia, the Galapagos, Chile, Australia and beyond. How did he come up with his theory of evolution?
It's all right here, folks.
Find the Witte Museum at 3801 Broadway. There is parking in the front, but don't forget about the covered parking available just a few steps away on Avenue B. Though the South Texas Heritage Center is in a separate building from the Witte Museum, to enter you must go through the Witte's main entrance.