Way out west, in the heart of America’s oil field industry, is Midland. Part of the Permian Basin, it’s the place where President George W. Bush was raised (his childhood home is now a museum) and its sister city of Odessa is the setting of the famous book and TV series Friday Night Lights.
With more than 50 annual events, 1,172 acres of parks, and a Micro Market with tiny shops that provide a fun twist on downtown shopping, Midland is also a family-centric destination with fun for everyone.
Here are five things to do that the kids — and the whole fam — will love.
1. See why Green Acres is the place to be
A Midland landmark since 1955, the recently upgraded Green Acres Mini Golf is a beloved institution with 18 holes dotted by waterfalls, a small river, and a windmill.
You can also hang around for playgrounds, giant Jenga and chess, a video arcade with classic pinball, and more.
2. Have an out-of-this-world experience
At the Museum of the Southwest, a planetarium with a state-of-the-art Spitz SciDome projector provides an immersive, fascinating look into outer space.
There’s also a newly reimagined Children’s Museum onsite with 8,000 square feet of educational and fun exhibits and spaces, including a sensory gallery, painting zone, sound garden, sea wall, and a free play area with foam blocks and more.
3. Splash around
Centennial Park transforms two central blocks in downtown Midland into a vibrant outdoor destination for all ages.
The urban green space is home to a great lawn and a stage pavilion for family-friendly activities and live entertainment, a nature play zone, and promenades with shaded seating areas that are perfect for a picnic.
But the real attraction for the younger set is the splash pad interactive water feature that has all the literal cool factor.
4. Take them out to the ballgame
Cheer on the home team at a Midland RockHounds baseball game at Momentum Bank Ballpark, where you’ll likely see the team’s two mascots — Juice the Moose and Rocky RockHound — roaming the concourse.
During the innings, hit the concessions where you can find all the regs like hot dogs and burgers, but also order up Texas-style brisket from Rocky’s Roadhouse BBQ or tacos from Triple Play Taqueria. The season begins in April and goes through September.
Fun fact: “Rockhound” is a nickname for geologists and it’s inspired by the oil and gas industry that dominates the Permian Basin. The RockHounds are the only professional baseball team within 250 miles of Midland, and the team still regularly draws more than 250,000 fans a season.
5. Let them have their candy — and eat it, too
A Midland staple, Susie’s South Forty Confections Candy Factory is the Guinness World record-holder for the largest piece of toffee (Texas-shaped, naturally). You can also tour the factory where pralines, caramels, fudge, and Texas Trash are all made.
Discover more must-dos in Midland here.