The museum bearing his name is the perfect spot for Austinites and those visiting Austin to connect with Texas history. There’s enough entertainment here to spend the better part of a day, and you’ll only scratch the surface of all the permanent and temporary exhibits featured within the museum’s walls.
You probably don’t need convincing to visit the Bullock Museum, but in case you need to persuade some friends or make a downtown Austin date itinerary, here are 10 reasons to make the trip to Congress Avenue at Martin Luther King Boulevard.
10.) Take your picture in front of the giant star
Before you even set foot inside the Bullock Museum, you’re greeted outside by a 35-foot bronze star dominating the plaza in front. Take a moment to have your group’s photograph taken with the star and the museum as your backdrop. You’ll look tiny as you’re dwarfed by the star standing six times taller than you. But hey, everything’s bigger in Texas, right?
9.) Pick up some Texas-themed souvenirs
If taking your picture in front of the giant star is the front bookend to your Bullock Museum trip, visiting the museum store is the back bookend. You’ll want to spend 15 minutes or so walking through the aisles to get a good look at all the Texas-themed souvenirs begging to go home with you like a Capitol Christmas ornament or something bearing a Davy Crockett quote.
8.) You can go back again and again with reasonably priced memberships
With individual memberships starting at $50 and family memberships as low as $80, you can visit the Bullock Museum throughout the year as their collection evolves. Plus, you’ll be supporting the continued preservation of Texas history.
7.) Learn about Texas history
As Texans, we do our best to remember the Alamo. But there is so much more to Texas history. The Bullock Museum provides a unique window into the past through artifacts highlighting important events. Some objects even date back into prehistory.
6.) You’re just a few blocks from the Capitol
Once you’ve seen all you want to see at the Bullock Museum, you can leave your car parked right where it is and mosey over to the Capitol. Just three blocks south, you’ll step onto the Capitol grounds. As you walk toward the Capitol, you’ll walk right over the Capitol Extension where many members of the Texas Legislature maintain their Austin offices and where many committee hearings are held.
5.) Thrill more than just your eyes and ears at Texas Spirit Theater
If you’ve ever experienced one, the first time you sat in a multi-sensory theater was probably at a theme park. This immersive experience with simulated weather and rumbling seats adds new dimensions to films. The Bullock Museum has daily opportunities for you to experience films that delight more than your eyes and ears.
4.) The first Sundays of the month are free, thanks to H-E-B
Thanks to the generosity of grocery store chain H-E-B, you can get into the Bullock Museum for free on the first Sunday of every month. The museum has reduced hours on Sundays, but there is plenty of time from noon to 5 p.m. to experience a great deal of what the Bullock Museum offers. All other days of the week, the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
3.) See recent artifacts from modern Texas history
If you think all you’re going to see at the Bullock Museum is arrowheads and Texas Revolution artifacts, you’re way off base. Some of the most interesting items aren’t even that old when you compare them to some of the oldest pieces in the museum’s collection. Items from oil booms and space exploration make you realize that objects you hold today could one day in the not so distant future wind up as museum pieces. Oh, and Earl Campbell’s Heisman Trophy is pretty cool, too.
2.) Catch the latest superhero movie at the IMAX
Some movies are meant for the big screen. Streaming them on your laptop just won’t do. Fortunately, the Bullock Museum has an IMAX theater ready to present to you the latest blockbuster superhero movie. Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman … whoever it is and whatever superpower he or she wields, you’ll want to see them fight the bad guys in here.
1.) Reignite your Texas pride
At some point along your walk through the Bullock Museum’s halls, you’ll find yourself once again proud to be a Texan. You’ll probably never lose that Texas pride, but it never hurts to get a booster shot of it by meandering through Texas history exhibits. You’ll feel as tall as the seven-foot Bob Bullock statue on the second floor.
Featured photo by Flickr user Jordan Hatcher, Creative Commons licensed