People worldwide are always enthralled during an American election year. For some, however, the history of the Presidents is a fascination that doesn’t go away, and the opportunity to learn more, up close and personal is irresistible.
One of the most interesting things to do in Dallas is to explore the lives and Presidencies of George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy, each from different parties, one who survived his tenure and one who didn’t.
Here are some ways you can count on Dallas attractions to feed your appetite for facts, conspiracies and emotional insights.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is definitely one of the things to do in Dallas if you’re following your own campaign trail to get to know and understand American Presidents and what happened to them.
Consider it a walk through history; the assassination of the beloved John F. Kennedy was one of the most significant events to occur in living memory, on par with the moon landing. The museum is situated in the very same building from which JFK was fatally shot
It offers a very emotional and moving experience complete with expertly curated exhibits covering the story of how John F. Kennedy became President, events that occurred during his administration, and of course, a detailed account of the day he was assassinated. Examine the conspiracy theories and make up your own mind as to their veracity.
One of the most poignant elements of the museum is the two X’s that are marked on the street, showing exactly where JFK was when he was hit by the two bullets. Inside the building, you can go to the sixth floor from where the bullets were shot from the corner window of what was then the Texas Book Depository.
The best way to plan your visit is to purchase tickets in advance as there are frequently long lines at the onsite ticket box.
Some may consider it a little ghoulish, but the JFK Limo Tour is actually quite popular as far as things to do in Dallas if you’re an American politics buff. Visitors flock to relive the Presidential motorcade which takes you along the precise route on which JFK met his tragic fate.
You’ll ride in a replica 1961 Lincoln Continental four dour convertible - over an hour and a half, you’ll travel the motorcade route while your guide narrates the journey. It takes you to the location of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Rooming House, the backyard of his apartment in Oak Cliff and the memorial for Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit who was also also fatally shot by Oswald around 45 minutes after the President.
The tour itself is an incredibly in-depth insight into that fateful day. Not only is it jam-packed with information and emotion but the chance to ride in the fully restored replica limo makes it all the more realistic – especially when you are advised you are at ‘the spot’.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is at the top of the attractions in Dallas for those who like a little political flavour to their sightseeing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, a Democrat or not of any political persuasion; you will still find the museum and library completely fascinating.
Located on the SMU Boulevard, it is the second-largest presidential library. (The title of the largest goes to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.) Built on a site that, generations ago, was a Texas prairie, the Bush Centre was constructed to be environmentally conscious.
The parkland surrounding it is a native habitat for butterflies, birds and other local wildlife. Visitors can take a self-guided Native Texas Park Tour over 15 acres, any day from sunrise to sunset. You’ll find native Texas environments such as Cross Timbers Forest, Blackland Prairie and Post Oak Savannah.
If the Presidency itself piques your interest, then you can immerse yourself in modern history within the Centre:
- Sit at the Resolute Desk in an exact Oval Office replica. Fancy yourself in the role of the most powerful leader of the modern world and try out the chair for size.
- Browse through the gifts given to President George W. Bush and the First Lady while in office.
- Visit the Decision Points Theatre and see how it feels to make real-time decisions of global significance.
- Visit the September 11 exhibit where you are encouraged to touch one of the beams from the World Trade Centre and where you can read the letters and condolence messages from all over the world.
- Enjoy the interactive exhibits that show you through what the President would have experienced during his time in the White House, including the situation room.
Lunch is available in Café 43, the onsite full-service restaurant and you can purchase souvenirs and books in the museum store.
Various events and exhibitions are run throughout the year so check the Bush Centre website to see what’s currently on offer before you go.
According to Area Vibes, Dallas’s overall crime rate is 44 per cent higher than the national average and you have a 1 in 24 chance of becoming a victim of a crime. Staying near tourist spots and taking the advice of knowledgeable locals will help you steer clear of undesirable locations.
Never take unnecessary risks anywhere on your travels and be sure to purchase adequate travel insurance* before you go so that if you are injured, mugged, robbed or your visit is in any other way spoiled, you can count on your insurer to make things somewhat better for you.