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Midland Attractions

History, Entertainment & West Texas Culture

BIG SKY Drive-in Movie Theatre
6200 W. Highway 80

A favored destination for West Texans since 2005, this ultimate drive-in is open seven days a week, 364 days a year, closing only on Christmas Eve. Hosting double features on three giant screens, the family complex brings to life current movie titles and big seasonal events. Four vibrant playgrounds and games with prizes give the kids plentiful pre-movie pastimes.

Blakemore Planetarium
1705 West Missouri
432-683-2882 •

Marian Blakemore Planetarium, located on the Museum of the Southwest campus, provides an awesome environment for discovering astronomy. Visitors may peruse the permanent space-science exhibit, which features an excursion through the solar system with dramatic backlit graphics, neat interactive activities and stunning images from the Hubble Telescope. The planetarium projects high-definition video productions on a 40-foot dome. Exceptional lectures with regional astronomers and educators regularly accompany shows.

Brown-Dorsey Medallion Home
231 N. Weatherford Street

The 1899 Victorian is the oldest home in Midland and has been preserved by the local historical society. It is appointed with period pieces and showcases a spectacular Gothic art-glass window in its entrance. Tours are available by appointment.

Cinergy Cinemas
1917 Liberty Drive
432-689-8180 •

Just when you may have thought Texas couldn’t get any bigger, Midland’s latest entertainment venue offers quantity and quality in a multimillion-dollar, multi-screen complex that includes Cinergy’s Experience Perfection In Cinema, or EPIC, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling screen. A casual dining menu offers appetizers and pizzas, Angus burgers and sandwiches. Entertaining diversions include a stunning arcade, a laser maze and the “Sky Walker” elevated ropes course.

George W. Bush Driving Tour
109 N. Main Street

Visit the Midland Convention & Visitors Bureau at the Chamber of Commerce for information about Midland’s self-guided driving tour of the president’s former homes.

The I-20 Wildlife Preserve & Jenna Welch Nature Study Center
2201 S. Midland Drive
432-853-9453 or 866-977-5292

I-20 Wildlife Preserve & Jenna Welch Nature Study Center is an eco-tourism attraction boasting 3.4 miles of hiking and biking trails amidst conservation wetlands, with areas for bird watching and wildlife observation. “Playa wetlands” and “playa lakes” are shallow, circular depressions filled by rainwater during wet cycles. They serve a number of functions such as recharging groundwater, habitat for native and migratory wildlife, and refuge for native plants. The state-of-the-art Nature Center, currently under development, will offer quality environmental education to college students and the public, both in the preserve and in orientation-demonstration areas at the center. Ongoing improvements include additional observation decks, viewing platforms, and bird blinds.

Midland County Historical Museum
301 W. Missouri

Plunge into Midland’s roots with wide-ranging artifacts on county history from prehistoric times to the 20th century. Midland’s ranching heritage unfolds in displays of saddles, hats and tack donated by local cowboys. A photo depicts a locally made 1911 “aeroplane” now on display at the Midland airport. A unique artifact is the heavy wooden door of the early 1900s Pliska Blacksmith shop, on which branding tools were tested. Open from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Midland Downtown Lions Club Fire Museum
1500 W. Wall

This free museum offers an intimate look at the city’s first fire trucks, now fully restored: a 1916 unit with a 40-gallon tank and a 1928 American La France T-91 engine. Other exhibits include early firefighting equipment, photographs and a collection of early fire markers. Located on the east end of the Central Fire Station building; open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Museum of the Southwest
1705 W. Missouri
432-683-2882 •

Museum of the Southwest, founded in 1965 and open since 1966, is housed in the Turner Mansion — listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum serves the Midland and West Texas region with exhibitions, programs and events focused on art, astronomy, archaeology, science, history and culture. Boasting Southwest artwork from ancient times to the present, the collection includes more than 12,000 works, including paintings, prints, sculpture, drawings, textiles, ceramics and basketry. The Archaeology Collection hosts more than 45,000 artifacts, the largest surface collection in Texas.

The museum hosts exhibitions throughout the year of works from national, international and local artists. Annual events include Summer Sunday lawn concerts, SeptemberFest, a juried arts and crafts festival, Christmas at the Mansion, and an auction. Also on the museum campus, the Fredda Turner Durham Children’s Museum provides educational opportunities to stimulate discovery, learning and understanding. Year-round craft camps extend an opportunity for children to enjoy artistic projects utilizing countless mediums and techniques.

Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library and J. Evetts Haley History Center
1805 W. Indiana Avenue
432-682-5785 •

Haley Library and History Center, founded in 1976 for preservation of the history, traditions and ideas of early Texas and the Southwest, holds nearly 30,000 books, personal manuscripts, photos and printed material chronicling Western history. The relationships among the cowboys, the range cattle industry, the military and railroads are explored in collections and programs that show how each industry helped the others grow. J. Evetts Haley’s personal interviews with hundreds of Southwestern pioneers have been an invaluable resource for educators, historians and writers. Historian Robert Utley leaned on Haley Library research for his acclaimed book on Billy the Kid, and Western novelist Elmer Kelton credited the Haley Library materials for stimulating many of his books.

Fine Western art is showcased in permanent collections, temporary exhibitions and annual art shows. The collection includes works by Charlie Dye, William Moyers, Joe Beeler, Wayne Baize and Glenna Goodacre. The museum also cares for artifacts that include the first bell (cast in 1722) to hang in the Alamo, saddles, spurs, firearms and artisan pieces such as Indian blankets, baskets and glassware.

Permian Basin Petroleum Museum and Chaparral Gallery
1500 West Interstate 20
432-683-4403 •

Founded in 1975, the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum remains America’s largest museum devoted to the petroleum industry and its pioneers. Touting the world’s greatest collection of antique and modern oil-drilling equipment and machinery, the museum’s 40-acre outdoor exhibit area and world-class interactive exhibits take visitors beneath an ancient sea, onto the streets of a boomtown and (quite safely) into a ground-shaking nitroglycerin explosion. On a tour of the exhibit wings, visitors may glimpse scientific and technological breakthroughs that forever altered the oil industry. The Hall of Fame honors the founders of the oil industry, and the extensive archives chronicle fascinating local history. The Transportation Wing, added in 2004, houses the Chaparral Gallery and explains the interdependent relationship between petroleum and transportation, including the history of the Chaparral Road Racers. The gallery is home to all seven of Jim Hall’s Chaparral race cars and even contains an impressive gem and mineral collection.

The museum is home to the largest collection of artwork by Western artist Tom Lovell, who worked with museum founder George Abell to create works reflecting the history of the Permian Basin. The museum recently began revamping all its exhibits, fueled by more than $10 million in donations.

Scarborough-Lineberry House
802 S. Main Street

Kara and W.E. Scarborough had Midland’s second-oldest home, built in 1907. This early ranch remained in the family for over 90 years before being donated to the city. Now used for weddings, receptions, dinner parties and other functions, it is open by appointment for guided tours.

Sibley Nature Center
1307 E. Wadley
432-684-6827 •

Sibley Nature Center’s mission is to increase awareness of the natural and historical environment of the Llano Estacado through a broad range of interpretive programs and personal experiences. The 5,200-square-foot center boasts four major rooms with exhibits on the eight major habitats of the region. A 70-seat auditorium is frequented by educational presentations. Via extensive workshops, seminars and tours, the center educates all comers on the flora, fauna and history of the region. Visitors are able to partake nature trail hikes, educational habitat gardens, a wildlife garden, bird watching and a variety of day trips for nature enthusiasts.

Susie’s South Forty Confections
401 S. Marienfeld
432-570-4040 or 800-221-4442

This celebrated candy and gift store has been a favorite of all since 1991, when Susie Hitchcock-Hall launched her confection business. A Guinness World Record holder for largest piece of toffee (shaped like Texas), Susie’s was featured on the Food Network show Unwrapped and won the “Best in Fudge” and “Best Frozen Dessert” categories at the Austin Fancy Foods Show. Specialties include Susie’s Texas Trash, a custom blend of pretzels, cereals and pecans covered in white chocolate; Texas Pecan Toffee; Kickers Pralines; Blueberry Dark Fudge; and Key Lime Bark. The shop features a diverse and fun assortment of souvenir candies and gifts, including edible Texas River Rocks and Keepsake Sequined Boots filled with Texas Trash candies. Factory tours include free samples.

Architectural & Event Sites

ClayDesta Atrium
6 Desta Drive

An elegant retreat for weddings and receptions, ClayDesta Center’s six-story atrium offers a charming West Texas oasis. A 40,000-square-foot skylight beams gently upon tropical plants, streams, waterfalls, colorful birds and fish — a distinctive ambience for any occasion.

Cuthbert Mansion
3207 W. Cuthbert

The Cuthbert Mansion and Gardens — an affiliate of Weddings by Design and Flowers by Design — specializes in wedding decorations and flowers for weddings and receptions. Their floral designers and wedding planners can help create the wedding of your dreams.

Kessler’s Reception Hall
3204 W. Wall

The rustically winsome charm of Kessler’s Hall brings more than a touch of Texas charm. Grand iron gates whisk guests into three courtyards, ideal for weddings, receptions and much more, and every amenity and diversion awaits guests.

Midland Center & Centennial Plaza
105 N. Main
432-682-6234 •

The Midland Center & Centennial Plaza site has been home to various facilities that have served as Midland’s meeting place since 1888! The current facility is tentatively scheduled for a complete demolition and new construction beginning in 2016. The plans for the new building include a 60 percent increase in exhibit space. With the expansion, Midland Center will be able to attract national conventions that were too large for the previous space — dramatically increasing the economic impact for the community. In conjunction with other downtown development projects, Centennial Plaza is also slated for a complete remodel. This will allow events to make use of both indoor and outdoor space.

The Shack in the Back
11610 W. Highway 80 East
432-349-3857 •

On 3.5 acres of beautifully landscaped property on Highway 80 between Midland and Odessa, the Shack in the Back features a 1-acre horseshoe pond surrounded by willow trees and a 3,000-square-foot building bursting with amenities.

Yucca Theatre
208 N. Colorado

Designed by Fort Worth architect Wyatt C. Hedrick, the Yucca Theatre is known for its Assyrian-style architecture. Bowing in 1929, the interior features ornate columns and scrollwork, gilded lions, and elaborate lighting fixtures. Black marble columns at the entrance frame the cut sandstone exterior.

Operating for years as a movie palace and stage for vaudeville acts, the theatre closed in 1974. Diligent volunteers and building professionals restored the Texas Historical Medallion Landmark in 1981, and today the theater showcases the Summer Mummers’ zany performances. The theatre troupe’s special blend of melodrama, eclectic acts, dance numbers and audience participation has been fulfilling appreciative audiences for dozens of seasons.

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