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DAY TRIP TO CAMP MABRY MUSEUM

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TEXAS MILITARY FORCES MUSEUM

The Texas Military Forces Museum

Is one of the states and United States hidden treasures. Located at Camp Mabry, home of the Texas Military Forces Headquarters, this museum is open to the public and is FREE!

Artifacts on display begin with the birth of Texas military history in the early days when Texas was a Republic aside from the U.S. and tells the tale to modern-day. The location features artifacts from large to small, and things you’d never expect to see.

Tanks, Aircraft, and smaller restored military vehicles, plenty of dioramas, and vignettes to spark kids and adults minds alike and even a portion of the Berlin Wall. Damaged parts of the Pentagon are also on display.

Upon entering Camp Mabry, which is an active military post, you’ll arrive at a check-in gate where all adults in your group will need to show a photo I.D. At that gate, a guard will point you in the direction of the museum. (Basically just take a right at your first stop sign, and then another right at the second stop sign. The museum will be clearly marked on your right.)

Before we ever actually go into the museum, we first explore the grounds. To the left of the museum entrance, you’ll see “Honest John”, a tactical nuclear missile, a favorite of my boys.

Also, you’ll see Armor Row, a vast collection of tanks and trucks. This is where my kids explode with questions and comments. Being able to walk around these massive tanks is very exciting for the boys, especially to my three and six-year-old whose stature is so tiny in comparison to these vehicles. We continue on to Artillery Park behind the museum to browse the guns from WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.

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After exploring the ground, we head inside and enjoy the nice cool air-conditioning and try to decide where to go first in The Great Hall. We’ve been greeted by the most welcoming volunteer at the museum desk. The staff is always eager to answer questions. Also, when you sign in at the desk, you will find copies of a scavenger hunt for kids. Mine really enjoyed searching through the museum and checking items off the list.

The museum is large! With 45,000 square feet of interesting artifacts, you could easily spend a lot of time there. But with the short-attention-span of my three-year-old in tow, I was impressed that this kept him highly entertained for a solid two hours. My oldest could have spent much more time investigating items and asking questions, but it sparked curiosity for more learning at home and for future visits.

Climbing into the Cold-War era mess truck.

Climbing into the cockpit of a fighter jet

Trying On uniforms

You can take your time looking around which is great. The kids with us aged 6 and 3 they really enjoyed the museum (especially looking at the models of battles fought~wow! They were incredible)  There were retired military men that gave a tour of one section. The one that led our tour really knew his Texas history. He was interesting, informative, and really explained a lot. We were only there for about 2 hours but could have probably stayed longer to really see everything. 

  • Location: 2200 W 35th St building 6, Austin, TX 78703

The museum is open to the public Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-4pm CST. Admission is free.

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Texas Military Forces Museum
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