Blogger, Writer, Urban Adventurer
Bluebonnets, Blue Bell and barbecue are just three of the B’s that make Brenham, Texas worth a visit. Located 90 minutes outside of Houston, a day trip to this small Texas town is sure to give you a taste of history and Hill Country. From petting alpacas to eating ice cream, here are 12 things you need to do the next time you’re in Brenham with your kids.
1. If Texas had an official state ice cream, it would Blue Bell Creamery! Lucky for us ice cream fans, they’re headquartered right here in Brenham. Head to the Visitors Center to see displays of memorabilia items and learn the history of the Blue Bell factory before stopping by the Ice Cream Parlor to choose from 15 different flavors (and your scoop will only cost $1!). You can also make your way to the Observation Deck to see how the delicious ice cream is actually made. End your visit with a photo in front of the “Cow and the Girl” logo statue located near the entrance!
2. Take in some history at Washington on the Brazos, which is the historic site of the signing of Texas’ Declaration of Independence. On the grounds of the park, you will find walking trails as well as two museums and a living history farm. At Independence Hall you can take a 45-minute guided tour to learn the story of Texas’ independence of Mexico; at the Star of the Republic Museum, you can explore the 10,000-square-foot space complete with 46 exhibits on the history of Texas; and at the Barring Living History Farm you can see the home of Anson Jones, the last president of the ‘Republic of Texas.’ Maybe the most exciting part for kids: the farm itself has actors portraying historical figures who can answer questions about the livestock and living practices of the mid-1800s!
3. It’s a Texas rite of passage to take pictures in fields of bluebonnets, and Brenham is an amazing place to capture our state flower in full bloom. Click here to see when it’s the best time to snap photos, but typically March/April is your best bets to spot large patches.
4. Grab a bite to eat at Southern Flyer Diner, a 50s style diner (complete with waitresses in poodle skirts!) that is located right next to the Brenham Airport. Make a stop here for lunch, order some fried pickles or a milkshake, and watch the small planes come and go.
5. From March to November, the Chappell Hill Lavender Farm is open to the public on the weekends, giving visitors the chance to take a stroll through the fields and enjoy a picnic. Don’t miss the gift shop on-site where you can purchase products made from the farm’s lavender!
6. Stop by the Brenham Heritage Museum in downtown to celebrate the history and culture of Washington County. This building, which was once the U.S. Post Office and Federal Building in Brenham, is currently undergoing renovations, but a collection of their artifacts are still open to the public at the Art Deco Bus Depot. Check their website before visiting as there are limited hours.
7. The Antique Rose Emporium has been inspiring home gardeners for more than 35 years. Located just down the road in Independence, the emporium boasts eight acres of award-winning display gardens. Take a stroll through their grounds and stop by the shop to get something to spruce up your yard at home.
8. If antiques and quaint local shops are your thing, then Downtown Brenham’s Historic District is for you. The area is lined with various shops, restaurants and museums worth visiting. Be sure to stop by Glissman’s Gift Gallery to peruse their unique gifts in their two-story 1860 building.
9. Trust us when we say your kids will love Peeka Ranch! Located about 15 miles from downtown Brenham, the ranch features 60 acres of meadows and oak trees, and is home to 100 alpacas—yes 100! On your visit, you can pet the alpacas, feed them and purchase alpaca wool products at their on-site shop. All they ask is that you call ahead of time to let them know you are on your way.
10. At the Texas Cotton Gin Museum, you’ll get to see the Burton Farmers Gin, which is the oldest operating cotton gin in America. It’s located on its original site where it was built more than 100 years ago—pretty cool! Not only can you explore the gin, but at the museum, you’ll learn the history of cotton picking in the south. If you happen to be in town on the third Saturday of April, you can even join in with the annual Cotton Gin Festival.
11. Pay a visit to one of the family-friendly wineries in town. Pleasant Hilly Winery and Windy Winery typically have awesome events in late July and early August that are kid-friendly and definitely worth visiting. Of course, if you are there in the off-season, you can always stop by for a sip and enjoy letting the kids walk through the vineyards.
12. Indulge in smoked meats and homemade cakes at Truth BBQ, which is a staple barbecue joint in Brenham. Choose from options like brisket, beef ribs and pulled pork along with a menu packed with sides—think mac and cheese, collard greens, potato salad and more!