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Texas: Dallas, Houston


Cadillac Ranch

Texas is the second largest state after Alaska, covering 692 408 km2 (267 339 sq miles) between the Rio Grande (which forms the Mexican border), the Red River and the Gulf of Mexico. It was first settled in 1682, and was for long ruled by Spain and later Mexico until it won independence as the Republic of Texas in 1836. It became a state of the USA in 1845, but its boundary with Mexico was finally agreed only after the Mexican-American War (1846-8).

The climate ranges from subtropical in the southeast to continental in the interior, and in places irrigation is necessary. Cattle, cotton and wheat are the main farm products and Texas has about half the nation's cotton-growing area. It is also the main oil and gas producer and there are rich coal reserves. The principal manufactures are chemicals, transport and space equipment, and clothing. The state capital is AUSTIN and the largest cities HOUSTON, DALLAS and SAN ANTONIO.

Austin is the Capital of Texas, in the central south of the state about 370 km (230 miles) west and slightly north of Houston. It is the commercial centre of a large farming and ranching region, and has the main campus of the University of Texas.

About Dallas

Did you know that Dallas has been named after George Mifflin Dallas? The city was founded in 1841 along the Trinity River, in north central Texas. The arrival of the railroad, the cotton industry and the oil boom contributed to the growth of the city, which began as a two-cabin town. Today, Dallas; a part of a large urban area known as the Metroplex, is the eight-largest city in the U.S. and the second-largest city in Texas. The metro area is approximately 384 square miles with a population of over a million. The city has an elevation of 450 Ė 750 feet and receives an average of 30 inches of rainfall annually. The temperature ranges from 44˚ F to 85˚ F.

Places to Visit

Dallas has a rich heritage of adventure. Places of historical interest include the African American Museum, the Celebration Station, the Hall of State, the Heritage Farmstead, the Heritage Village, the Museum of American Railroad, the Museum of Art, the Museum of Nature and Science, the Old Red Museum, the Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, the Six Flags Over Texas, the Sixth Floor Museum, the West End Historic District, the Womenís Museum and the Williams Square. The Arts District, the Childrenís Aquarium, the Fair Park, the Frontiers of Flight Museum, the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, the Palace of Wax, the Sandy Lake Amusement Park, the Surf and Swim, the World Aquarium and Orninoco Rainforest, and the Zoo are popular among kids and adults alike. Other interesting places to visit in Dallas include the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, the Audubon Nature Centers, the Bachman Lake, the Cedar Ridge Preserve, the Center for Education and Tolerance, the Firefighterís Museum, the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Ranger Ballpark, the Texas Discovery Gardens and the White Rock Lake.

References: Furstinger, N. (2005). Dallas. Edina: ABDO Publishing Company. Threadgil, K. (2010). Exploring Dallas with Children. Lanham: Rowan and Littlefield Publishing Group.

About Houston

Did you know that Houston is also known as `Space City, `Bayou City` or `Clutch City?` The city was founded in 1836, built with no master plan on a flat terrain covering approximately 634 square miles. The temperature ranges from 62˚ F to 94˚ F with an average annual rainfall of 48 inches. Houston has emerged as the largest city in Texas with a population of over two million within the city limits. Houstonís freeways resemble a spider web with lines radiating out from the center and connected to each other by concentric circles. Houstonís strategic location along the Gulf Coast has contributed to its role in the trade, oil, aerospace and education industries. Houston is a truly metropolitan city with residents resembling a United Nations assembly.

Places to Visit

A Houston experience is incomplete without a visit to the museums or the historical sites such as the Williams Tower and Water Hall, the Kemah Boardwalk and the San Jacinto Battleground Site. Downtown Houston is popular with attractions such as the Old Market Square, the theatre district, the George Brown Convention Center, the Toyota Center, the Minute Maid Field, and restaurants and bars. The Aquarium, the City Hall, the Heritage Society and the Houston Tunnel System are also located downtown. Other interesting attractions include the Brazos Bend State Park, the Buffalo Bayou Park and Eleanor Tinsley Park, the Cullen Park, the Discovery Green, the George Ranch Historical Park, the Lake Houston Wilderness Park, the Memorial Park, the Saint Arnold Brewing Company, the Space Center, and the Zoo.

References: Baird, D., Peterson, E. & Schlech, N. (2011). Frommer's Texas. New Jersey: Wiley Publishing. Nathan, L. (2009). Insiders' Guide to Houston. Guilford: Globe Pequot Press.

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