The sixth largest city in Texas, El Paso, is situated along the United States-Mexico border adjacent to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. The diverse community is home to many citizens that speak Spanish predominantly, which can make the city a great destination for a family vacation when one or more members of the household are in the process of honing their Spanish language skills. Among the many activities and attractions suitable for kids in the area are these ten, which only scratch the surface of things to do with kids in El Paso.
- El Paso Zoo (El Paso, TX 79905) – Developed under a “total immersion” concept, the El Paso zoo was designed to transport visitors beyond the confines of the city surrounding the campus. The open space park allows kids to run and play as they observe animals in a simulacrum of their natural habitats, providing plenty of opportunities to expend excess energy while exploring the basics of life science.
- Magoffin Home State Historic Site (El Paso, TX 79901) – Less than a mile from the U.S.- Mexico border lies the Magoffin Home, a Texas Historical Commission property that serves as both a stunning example of Territorial-style architecture, a museum celebrating the life of a multicultural family that was instrumental in the community and the only house museum in El Paso.
- Wyler Aerial Tramway (El Paso, TX 79930) – Kids are sure to love a ride on the Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State park, with a few that spans seven thousand square miles, three American states and two separate countries. Experience the natural beauty of the American Southwest from great heights, with an informed cabin attendant acting as tour guide.
- El Paso Museum of History (El Paso, TX 79901) – Promoting an understanding of the rich cultural diversity of the border region through a variety of exhibits, installations and educational programs, the El Paso Museum of History is a great stop if you’re looking for a bit of educational fun on your Texas journey.
- National Border Patrol Museum (El Paso, TX 79924) – Learn about the history of the United States Border Patrol, from the earliest days of the Wild West through the present at the National Border Patrol Museum and Memorial Library Foundation, where a variety of exhibits showcase the organization’s past. There’s no admission fee to tour the museum, but donations are gratefully accepted.
- War Eagles Air Museum (Santa Teresa, NM 88008) – Just across the Texas border into Santa Teresa, New Mexico is the War Eagles Museum, a sixty-four thousand square foot building filled with military aviation artifacts from the World War II era and beyond, along with a selection of antique automobiles.
- Western Playland Amusement Park (Sunland Park, NM 88063) – Cross the border into New Mexico to find this amusement park, with a variety of classic and modern ride attractions to choose from. Great for a bit of lighthearted fun after touring museums and sites of historical significance, the short lines and relatively low-traffic park is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
- El Paso Museum of Archaeology (El Paso, TX 79924) – Aspiring archaeologists will flip for the El Paso Museum of Archaeology, with it’s focus on prehistoric Southwestern culture. Most of the collections are centered around prehistoric Southwestern and Northern Mexican prehistoric artifacts like pottery, basketry and sandals, as well as some Mesoamerican and Native American objects.
- Wet ‘N’ Wild Waterworld (Anthony, TX 79821) – A variety of waterslides, wave pools and a dedicated Toddlers Cove area in nearby Anthony, Texas offer plenty of opportunities for relief from the heat of the border region, which may be especially oppressive to those unaccustomed to such weather. There’s plenty to do for younger kids and older ones alike, so be prepared to spend the better part of a day here.
- Mission Valley Visitor Center (El Paso, TX 79907) – Along the El Paso Mission Trail lie the two remaining mission churches of Ysleta and Socorro, along with the presidio Chapel of San Elizario. The Mission Valley visitor Center in El Paso is an ideal place to begin your exploration, as there’s plenty of Mission Trail information available from the knowledgeable staff who are eager to point you in the right direction and answer any questions.
The close proximity to Mexico makes it tempting and somewhat easy to cross the border, turning your little ones into international travelers by journeying just a few additional miles. Keep in mind, however, that there are certain risks you’ll want to take into a account before making the trip, and that the area may not be as safe. Be sure that you have all of your travel documents in order, including passports, before crossing the border and that you’ve done an adequate amount of research about the area.