A few years ago, when my little wranglers were knee-high to a grasshopper, I took them to the Chisholm Trail Days in Georgetown, Texas. They wrote a little blurb about it in the Georgetown View the year after we went if you wanted to get a glimpse of what it might have been like when you make your plans for 2018.
I have had it on my “post someday on the blog” list for eternity, and I thought I might post about it today for some reason… which led me to look up when the next Chisholm Trail Day event was taking place in Williamson County and lo and behold, it’s TOMORROW!
How’s that for providence?
So here for your viewing pleasure are a few photos of our fun trip to this event in the past (my boys were too little to remember much), and some links and resources for teaching your kids about the pioneers, the wild west, the Chisholm Trail, and all things western:
First of all, I’m not sure if they have changed their image, name, or what… but the old website for upthechisholmtrail.org is no longer active (one time I clicked, I got a graphic image, so there’s no telling what is going on with that site – be careful). The logo I found on the web for the event is below, but the link was broken and this year’s event is only over ONE DAY, not two like the one we attended in 2014.
We attended this event in October of 2014 at the San Gabriel Park. We met a cowboy cook and talked to him about his chuck wagon and his meat cooking method (he buried the meat like they do in Hawaii). He was awesome. His name is Ed Parsons, or “Rancho Ranger” of Chuckwagon Cook & Catering Fame.
No, seriously, the guy is a legend in his own right. I found his Cowboys and Chuckwagons blog as I was typing this up today … a wealth of chuck wagon cooking goodness over there! Sadly, it hasn’t been updated since 2013. Or you can just watch this video I discovered:
We didn’t see the authentic longhorn cattle drive the event boasted, nor go to the event kick-off that included a Cowboy Breakfast at 8 AM. I was sporting two little ones and we opted out of a lot of the festivities so we could get home for nap time. Now that my boys are older, we would want to go to more of what they have to offer. That year they provided Western music, a Children’s Corral, Western living history camps, and hands-on-activities run by those in period costume.
You just can’t beat that for free admission. I love history, and I love me a free field trip!
According to the Williamson Museum (who I believe was the sponsor of the 2014 event we attended), they are having a another annual Chisholm Trail Day (just one – not “Days”) AND Pioneer Day 2018 event (both) TOMORROW from 10am until 3pm (still free). There are actually TWO web links to it on their site, which is kind of confusing (one of them says 2017 in the link, but states 2018 clearly after you click over on to the page):
Here’s what they say about Chisholm Trail Day via the website:
“Join our soft opening of The Williamson Museum on The Chisholm Trail. Meet the living history characters that helped shape Round Rock and Williamson County. Come experience life on the trail with Dutch oven cooking, live music and hands on Chisholm Trail activities and games. This is a free event.”
This event is at the The Williamson Museum on the Chisholm Trail, 8 Chisholm Trail, Round Rock, TX 78681
Here’s what they say about Pioneer Days 2018 via the website:
“Don’t miss Pioneer Days at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock! Saturday is free and open to the public from 10 am to 3 pm, come out to dip candles, churn butter, make corn husk dolls and rag balls, or wander through reenactment camps and a fully stocked general store.”
If you want to get a look at what you’re heading into down the trail, you can watch this KVUE movie about the museum.
LINKS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CATTLE TRAIL DAYS
Texas Historical Commission pdf travelers brochure about the Chisholm Trail
Handbook of Texas Online has a section about the Chisholm Trail
Information about the Chisholm Trail’s less traveled routes
Teachers Pay Teachers has some cheap resources created by other teachers with interactive web games, power points, lesson plans, activities, printables, handouts, unit studies and notebooking templates you can snag online
Texas Parks & Wildlife website has education resources and info on Texas Cattle Drives
The City of Round Rock dedicates a bit of its page to the Chisholm Trail
Fantastic information round up by True West Magazine with some old photos, history bits, and an exhaustive list of museums and heritage sites that you could check out for more information.
Check out this great pinterest board on Westward Expansion Unit Study through KONOS curriculum (what we used when my big kids were little, back in the early homeschool days), but I haven’t had time to go through all of her links and check them for relevance, so forgive me if some are a little off topic (The Gold Rush was a little farther out West!)
A FEW “OLD WEST”/PIONEER BOOKS WE LOVE
The Little House book series which is in the same time period – mostly (we are reading them now – you just can’t beat them)
Along the Chisholm Trail and Other Poems by George Rhoades (he won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Cowboy Poetry; First Place)
Or you could check out AMAZON with my link (I am an affiliate) for some children’s books about the Chisholm Trail.
OTHER LOCATIONS OF INTEREST / ROAD TRIPPING THE TRAIL
Close by in Round Rock, Texas, you can visit the Chisholm Trail Crossing Park and see the statues there…
If you are in the Houston area, the annual trail rides there are so worth a look! Every year when I worked off the Katy Freeway, I would see the trail by the rail road track and watch the wagons and little cowboys and cowgirls and all the horses going down the service road. If you are a horse-lover and/or you ride yourself, you should look into joining in the fun! I can’t imagine being outside longer than 3 minutes in Houston humidity, but if you are made of less fluffy stuff than I am, you can have a blast on this trail ride. There are apparently 11 trail rides that all come to an end at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – which is a huge, amazing event itself. They have a few educational resources on their website and a Rodeo Art Contest in January (but I am not sure if they allow homeschoolers to participate, since we haven’t lived in Houston for eternity).
Fun fact: I won a ribbon in the Rodeo Art contest as a little kid with a horse drawing in elementary school.
We attended Rodeo Austin this year, and that was fun, but it is a lot smaller of an event than the one in Houston, and I don’t think they have trail rides. I did not see anything about history this year, when we went. It was mostly modern farming, animal husbandry, and shows to entertain the kids. The closest thing to history was the singing cowboy with his silly chuck wagon songs that made the kids laugh. When you are entertaining kids outside in the heat in Texas, though, laughing is not a bad thing!
Who could even mention the Chisholm Trail without a mention of the Fort Worth Stockyards? There’s so much history to learn and fun to be had there.
A short drive south from Forth Worth is The Chisholm Trail Museum in Cleburne, TX (which I have not been to).
Farther away in Oklahoma… if you are the road tripping sort:
- You can road trip the Chisholm Trail
- Or Visit the Chisholm Trail Museum in Kingfisher (they have a Pioneer Village and Living History Days in April including a Chuck Wagon Festival (mmmm – sounds yum)
… or you could just visit their site – they have a cool Longhorn Lore video in the education section (it’s now on our school list for the week).
Have fun, y’all! Yeeehaw!