We’re on Christmas break and it’s very cold outside. (It’s 30 degrees today!) My children are getting antsy, so I knew it was time to get out of the house! We were recently invited to visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, and there was no better day to stop by!
We have lived in the Dallas area for a few years now, but never visited this (or any) Presidential Library before – so it was a new venture for us all.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library is located on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, TX. When we drove up, I realized my children were thinking this would be another “library” with books, so we took a few minutes to give a heads up and let them know what to expect. (You’ll still find lots of information, but not many books!)
As you walk into the museum, you’ll first read about the family history of the Bush family, as well as a few fun facts about George W. and Laura.
You’ll take note of President Bush’s love for baseball through his collection of baseballs (signed by hall of famers!) and read a few books from Laura Bush’s collection.
You’ll also see a twisted beam, removed from remains of the Twin Towers’ tragedy on 9/11. This exhibit was a bit quiet, as visitors reflect and read over the names of fallen victims on a nearby wall and watch monitors as the day unfolds. I think this put things into perspective for my oldest son, who is well aware of the events that occurred that day. Visitors are encouraged to touch the beam, feeling it’s thickness and placing your fingerprints on history, so don’t pass up this opportunity as you walk by.
As you gather your thoughts and leave the 9/11 display, you’ll soon find a replica of the Oval Office. This is a great opportunity to see what it’s like to be the President of the United States, if only for a few seconds. Make sure you sit at the desk, pick up the phone and pretend to call the Secretary of State, while you pose for a picture. Take note of the phone, which is an exact replica of how it was set up during Bush’s residency. *Fun fact: The Oval Office is exactly (to scale) as it was in the White House. Presidents are encouraged to decorate as they wish, with the only requirement being a picture of George Washington.
Though my children could have sat in the Oval Office all day (who wouldn’t?) we continued our tour to see some of Laura Bush’s dresses, dishes from the Bush’s term in office, official Air Force One jackets and the Bush resident dogs.
The Presidential Library has a few interactive exhibits, too. One, in particular, stood out to us: Decision Points Theater. In this exhibit, you’ll get to go “inside” the presidency, facing yourself with Breaking News and decisions to make in split seconds. We were lucky to get in on a Hurricane Katrina experience, which we could relate to, living through it in Louisiana at the time of the hurricane. In Decision Points Theater, you’ll need to take all details into consideration, meeting with advisors and recalling details that can have adverse effects on every choice you make.
The Bush Presidential Library in Dallas was also featuring a short term exhibit for Christmas: Merriment and Melody. It was fun to see a replica of the White House Christmas tree and see Christmas carols come to reality through displays.
If you are looking for a fun family activity, (that’s also educational) make sure you look into the Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. It’s located on SMU campus, and admission tickets are reasonably priced. (Parking is $6 or $7, depending on which lot you park in.)