1st Cavalary Division Museum
The closest must-see museum for anyone new to the Fort Hood area is on post – the 1st Cavalry Division Museum.
The museum has a small indoor exhibit and gift shop. But the best of the museum is too big to fit indoors. The walkway features numerous historical machines of war. Fort Hood is a heavy BCT post, after all.
Don’t forget to stop by the Marvin Leath Center on your way in to get your post visitors pass if you need it.
National Museum of the Pacific War
Who would have thunk it? The nation’s premier World War 2 Naval Museum is in the center of Texas – about 5 hours’ drive from any seawater.
(It is in Admiral Nimitz’s hometown of Fredericksburg, TX)
Lucky for us, that is a convenient hour’s drive from Fort Hood!
I’ve been to the National Museum of the Pacific War and love it! It could easily be an all day trip, though consider combining it with a visit to other Hill Country attractions like a wine tasting or the LBJ Ranch.
Dr. Pepper Museum
Let’s drive an hour in the opposite direction and you’re in Waco, TX! Home not only of Chip and Joanna Gaines but also the #1 soft drink in the world, Dr. Pepper.
It’s called the Dr. Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute and features a history of our favorite sugary carbonated beverages.
Texas Rangers Hall of Fame Museum
No, this is not a shrine to the Texas Ranges who just played their last game in Globe Life Park. Instead, it’s the Hall of Fame for their namesake – the real Texas Rangers.
The Official Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum has the complete history of the West’s Peacemakers, from catching cattle rustlin’ thieves to tracking down Bonnie and Clyde to chasing down runaway Democrats.
For those not aware, the Texas Rangers are not a thing of the past. They still serve as Texas’s primary investigative organization, akin to that role played by the FBI.
Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum
The railroad played a pivotal role in the history of the West and Texas, and the Killeen area is no exception.
In fact, Killeen itself is named after a railroad executive, Frank Patrick Killeen.
Frank never once set foot in Killeen.
Close by in Temple is the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum. In addition to trains and local history, it is a popular event space with lots of kid-friendly stuff you will want to keep tabs on (as well as a nice playground nearby)!
If you want an even more hands-on railroad experience, the Austin Steam Train Association is happy to oblige!
LBJ Presidential Library
Until George W Bush, LBJ was the only US President who was a homegrown Texan (technically Dwight Eisenhower was born in Texas, but claimed Kansas and retired to Pennsylvania).
He grew up not far near Johnson City, and represented Austin as a member of Congress before stealing a Senate election and brokering a deal to become Vice President and subsequently assuming the Oval Office itself.
The LBJ Presidential Library is his official library and the go-to collection for studying the triumphs and tumults of his controversial Presidency.
In the opposite direction, and at a slightly longer drive, is another pivotal museum in both Texas and LBJ’s history: the 6th Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza where JFK was assassinated.
Texas Military Forces Museum
If you’re looking up stuff in Killeen, you are probably military. Not only that, but you are probably in a heavy unit like armor, M109s, or mechanized.
You’d probably find the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin pretty cool.
The museum focuses on Texas’s roles in warfare, from its own war for independence, the “War Between the States”, and its significant contributions to World War 1, World War 2, and Vietnam.
And it has a lot of tanks.
Note – the video above says erroneously that the museum is in Dallas. It is not. It is in Austin.
Bullock Museum of Texas History
Rounding out the list is another museum in Austin: the Bullock Museum.
The museum is named for Bob Bullock, the State Lieutenant Governor under Governor Bush, and, as of this writing, the last Democrat to win a statewide election in Texas (in 1994).
Located walking distance from the Capitol, the museum is dedicated to telling the “Story of Texas” in an educational and interactive way.
Quintessential Central Texas Books
Interested in learning more about your native, adopted, or temporary home?
Here is some light reading you may or may not find fascinating!
Note: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Hopefully that’s a good start to keeping yours and your family’s brains buzzing while in the Central Texas area!
Did I miss any? Please share below!