The county city of Jefferson County, Beaumont is one of the 30th most populous city of Texas. It was founded in 1835 and caught a boom during the mining of oil.
It is also called Boomtown and is a very cool place with lots of museums and gardens. The green spaces balance out the oil and other refineries spread across the county.
Watch an old oil gusher in action at the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum
This was the first place in Spindletop where the liquid gold that is oil was discovered. It is said that in 1901, oil first arose from the gusher and as many as 10,000 barrels of oil came out. This led to a sugar rush and many people jumped at the opportunity and thousands of people earned in loads, hence, giving Beaumont the name, Boomtown.
Today, the museum showcases many old oil derricks that used to run along the Spindletop Hill during the 1900s. There is also a particular gusher that blows up with water instead of oil to commemorate the first sighting of oil and the discovery of oil. The Lamar University campus hosts this museum and also owns and operates it. There is also a cute little gift shop, which has many commemorative gifts that showcase the history of this oil rich area. Fun fact is, it was rumoured and said that in the 1900s you could walk a mile on top of oil wells without touching the ground. Sound fascinating and creepy right?
Art connoisseurs rush to the Art Museum of Southeast Texas
With a humble inception in 1950 on the ground floor of a rented house, it was earlier called the Beaumont Art Museum. It has since come a long way, and today is located on a lavish five acre estate in the Old Town historic district.
It is most famous for hosting a variety of cultural exhibits and regional folk art from the regions of US and Mexico. With originally as less as 200 as artefacts, today the permanent exhibits include as many as 2000 art forms, showcasing various regional talent.
Works of the prime and famous artist Felix Harris, like almost all his sculptures have been donated to the museum after his death. His famous work includes somethin’ out of nothin’. So make sure you visit this museum to get a look at eclectic art exhibitions. Some of the temporary artworks that are exhibited here include works of great artists like Richard Stout, John Gaston Fairey and Ellen Tanner.
Learn about the history of oil production at the Texas Energy Museum
Another museum honouring the rich petroleum industry is the Texas energy museum. It is located quite near to the splendid Art Museum mentioned above, so you will be able to cover both the spots in the same day. It also commemorates the Spindletop gusher since it was opened on January 10 1990, which is the anniversary of the Spindletop gusher.
Some of the areas of focus that the museum focuses on are geology and history of oil production. Oil production exhibits include rock formations and other exhibits related to various aspects like formation and drilling of oil. The charges are also nominal. For adults it is $5 while children it's$3. But make sure that you visit it only from Tuesday to Saturday between 9 to 5pm and on Sundays it remains open between 1 to 5pm.
Get inspiration at the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum
This museum honours the record breaking female athlete, Babe Didrikson Zaharias. A very famous name during the 1932 Olympic try-outs she won quite a few times at the National Women's try-outs by herself. She was called the world's greatest woman Athlete of the first half of 20th century by the Associated Press. She was an all-rounder and could play great basketball, and was a winner at Olympic track and field events with the gold and silver medal to her name.
She was also a three time Western Women's Open gold champion, and it seemed that she could dominate all the sports that she chose to play. The museum provides a glimpse into her life and it's a very inspiring journey to look at.
Bird watching at the Beaumont Botanical Gardens
These are also called the Tyrell Park Botanical Gardens, and it is spread over a huge area of 23.5 acres. The special attraction located inside is the Warren Lewis Conservatory, which is spread over an area of 10,000 square feet. It is a part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, so do not miss out on the bird watching experience. There are various migratory birds that make this garden their home, and a lot of different species visit this garden.
This beautiful park was damaged during the hurricanes Rita and Ike. But with great efforts by the community, it was replenished and restored to its former cheerful glory. The rose arbour, pond and rock waterfall and the Friendship Walk are not to be missed.
Take a picture at the fire hydrant statue
The world's largest working fire hydrant is located in the Fire Museum of Texas. It is considered a Texas historic landmark, and was built in 1927. It pays an ode to the firefighters and today, showcases many exhibits with state-of-the-art interactive fire safety. There is also a memorial, where you can pay respects to all those firefighters who lost their lives, saving others. A commemorative walkway is also built near the memorial. Another special attraction is the two story interactive Playhouse for children. So if you're carrying your kids along, make sure you visit this museum to teach your children, fire safety in a fun way.
Visit the McFaddin–Ward House Historic Museum
This beautiful colonial home is special in that it is kept the exact way as it was when it was originally built. It was built in 19005-19006, in the Beaux-Arts style.
Spread lavishly over an area of 12,800 square feet, the house and furnishings showcase the opulence and wealth of the McFaddin. Today it finds a spot in the National Register of Historic Places. There are tours conducted in the house from Tuesday to Saturday. The house was converted to a museum in the year 1986. It would be best to offer a guided tour and ask for reservations in advance. You can also go for a self-guided tour, which is available on the first floor, exclusively on Sundays.
Christmas and holiday times, are especially celebrated with special events, focusing on tourists. You can have a dinner before taking a guided tour through the house. This dinner includes exclusive McFaddin family recipes and eggnog.
Learn about the great scientist, Thomas Alva Edison at the Edison Museum
This beautiful museum showcases the life and inventions of the great scientist, Thomas Edison. The famous incandescent light bulb and phonograph, are some of the featured inventions that you can find here. There are as many as 1400 artefacts in their wide collection, and the tours are self-guided. The museum though small in size, and spread over 1100 square feet showcases some of the best works that Edison curated in his lifetime. But due to space constraints only 40 visitors can attend at a time. The interactive exhibits are also great to learn about science facts and experiments. So make sure you get your kids along.
View wildlife at the Village Creek State Park
For those who love outdoor experiences, the State Park is the best place to visit with options like camping, mountain biking, hiking and picnicking, there are a host of outdoor recreational activities that you can partake in. Some of the wildlife species that you will come across at this park include the snapping turtle, the possum, white-tailed deer and the diamondback water snake. There are also swamps featuring Cypress and river birch, and various other greenery, along with yaupon holly trees. Fishing is another exciting sport that you can try out with varieties like bass and catfish available. If you wish to camp then you can get your camping equipment, or you can also get an RV, and rent a cabin, if needed. You can also enjoy some kayaking and canoeing, on the village Creek padding trail paddling trail.
Pay respects to war veterans, at the Clifton Steamboat Museum
Welcoming you to the museum is the tugboat called Hercules, which is a 36 foot high 1938 tugboat. This museum was made to honour the civilian and military heroes during wars. Capturing a total area of 24,000, square feet, it is a two story Museum, which showcases various galleries. There are specific galleries dedicated to both the world wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the wars at Louisiana and Southeast Texas.
The wars section is located in the lower floor. The upper floor is dedicated to wildlife and other things like sculptures and more. If you want guided tours, then you will have to ask for reservations in advance. So please keep this in mind.
Play with alligators at Gator country
This 15 acre alligator sanctuary is the largest Alligator Adventure Park in Southeast Texas. It provides a safe haven and resting place for various rescued crocodiles and alligators. It houses two of the largest alligators in captivity, and these are over 13 feet long. You can take quirky pictures holding live alligators. The educational tours are also very fun. And there are three types of shows available as per your requirements. The slogan is fun and creepy, - “Quick hands or no hands”. So make sure you keep this thought in mind as you click pictures with these majestic beauties.
Go to the John Jay French House
A typical example of the Texas home, it was constructed in 1845. What makes it special is that it marked the firsts in various types of house construction. It was the first two storey building to be made. It was the first house made with milled lumber and it was also the first house which was painted. The furnishings and clothing and goods from that time are well preserved and showcased inside the house. You can also take self-tours of the ground and see the blacksmith shop and tannery along with the family's smokehouse. The tours are free for children below 4 years, while adults are charged with a nominal fee.
Click a selfie with a large windmill at the Dutch Windmill Museum
The main attraction at this windmill museum is the 40 foot exact replica of a Dutch windmill. This museum honours the Dutch heritage and displays various artefacts related to the Western and Dutch cultures. It is spread over an area of three floors, and the ground floor is especially reserved for the celebrity of Texas, Tex Ritter who was a popular Western singer. Wooden shoes, a steamer trunk from a voyage and even an Olympic gold medal are some of the features on display. There is also a small cute gift shop where you can buy items which are originally made in Netherlands.
Enjoy a live jazz performance at Suga’s Deep South Cuisine & Jazz Bar
This pretty little restaurant is located in the 1914 building with and hence has a quaint charm. It hosts Saturday Night Live jazz performances, which will help you feel good and give you great memories. The menu offers various delicious dishes like soft shell crab, eggs benedict, or shrimp and grits, which can be ordered for brunch. Dinner items include grill Texas quail, or sweet tea brined chicken. This is the go to place if you want to enjoy authentic Southern cuisine.
Enjoy Italian delights at Rao's Bakery
Since its inception in 1941, Rao's bakery has become a staple for the locals of Beaumont for its Italian baked goods. There three branches located all over the city. Rao's bakery is famous for all the Italian delicious items that are served. These include signature cakes, and gelatos along with Paninis and cappuccinos. It is a great spot to have some fun quality time with your family or your spouse. If you visit this bakery during summers, then you can also enrol your kids for the summer bakery camp where they can have fun learning about cake baking and cake decoration.
Thus, Beaumont is a great place and a definitely a recommended place to visit if you go to Texas anytime soon.