Big Bend at the Bullock Texas State History Museum

An AIR CONDITIONED way to enjoy nature in the middle of Texas heat?! Sign me up. As much as I am a proponent of getting outdoors, I am not a proponent of being miserable outside. Sometimes that means postponing outdoor moments to when the weather is fairer. Hence why Brandon and I headed to the shade of the Bullock Texas State History Museum last Sunday afternoon to see the new exhibit, Journey into Big Bend, from the comfort of air conditioning.

And it was a great, sweat-free way to appreciate our state, and its great outdoors.

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If you’ve ever been to Big Bend, you know it is extremely remote, rugged, and picturesque. You may know the Rio Grande is one of the top twenty longest rivers in the world, and the region’s Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park, protected Santa Elena Canyon and Maderas Canyon areas together make up one of the largest protected biospheres on Earth.  As they say, EVERYTHING’S BIGGER IN TEXAS, y’all.

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High above the museum rotunda on the third floor, the exhibit is as quiet and peaceful as a the park itself.

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The bulk of the exhibit is a collection of stunning images of West Texas from various photographers. Each one gives a glimpse of the park at its best. Kind of like watching a sport on TV instead of in a stadium, this exhibit gives you a better view!

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In one gallery, a continual looping video of the park plays, not narrated or cluttered with words, but just the natural sounds of the park, from the Rio Grande flowing through Santa Elena Canyon, the wind whipping around rocks and across the prairie, and birds chirping and rustling in the brush. Whether they intended to or not, the creators of this exhibit have given us the same serene experience as visitors to the remote park are given.

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Other than photographs and video footage, the main component of this exhibit is stories of the people that make up the park–from rangers to photographers. And Whit’s Wilderness was totally pleased to see many of them be women.

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(Whit’s Wilderness approved.)

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Lastly, a highlight of the exhibit is an enormous ancient dinosaur crocodile fossil found in the region. Kids loved this. Even big kids.

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So if you are looking to stay cool but not miss out on the great outdoors this summer, check out this great exhibit. It runs until September 18th so be sure to grab a friend and make a date at the museum before the summer’s over. Warning: you may get a hankering to visit Big Bend National Park!

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