Monday, March 12, 2012

Totally Texas -- Spring break destination: Fort Worth

It’s here! Spring break -- and the weather forecast for the next few days in North Texas looks great. So if you’re in the Fort Worth area, consider taking a spring break vacation in your home town. And if you’re not there -- go!

For the benefit of Dallas visitors, I made a preliminary trip to Fort Worth on the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) from the Union Station of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system (DART). (Fort Worth visitors may also follow these directions to access TRE/DART for Dallas attractions.)

Round trip rail travel between Dallas and Fort Worth requires a regional day pass, $10 at DART ticket kiosks. (Reduced fares for students, the elderly and disabled are available at more limited locations with specific photo I.D. See for details.)

A day pass entitles you to unlimited travel on DART, TRE, Fort Worth public buses, and spring break shuttle service between downtown Fort Worth and the acclaimed Fort Worth Zoo. TRE trains run often during morning and evening commuter rush hours, less frequently during the middle of the day and on Saturdays. There are no TRE trains on Sundays. Check the schedule at The T site listed above. Union Station in downtown Dallas and the ITC station in downtown Fort Worth have spacious waiting rooms, with vending machines in Union Station and a sandwich shop adjacent to the ITC.

Some TRE cars have tables, if you need to give the kids a snack. Labeled cars also have Wi-Fi access. (However, for those with very young children -- I would feel uncomfortable trundling strollers across the tracks to board.)

The Safari Shuttle to the zoo leaves the ITC station at 1001 Jones St. each hour and half-hour starting at 9:30 a.m. through this coming Sunday, March 18. Board “Bus Bay A” at the ITC. For the return trip from the zoo, board where you got off. The last shuttle trip from the zoo leaves at 6 p.m. (The zoo closes at 5 p.m. See for ticket prices -- Wednesdays are half-price days.)

Looking for a destination other than the zoo? The T’s Route 7 University bus leaves the ITC hourly weekdays and Saturdays, and will drop you at the front gate of the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. The gardens’ conservatory is aflutter through April 8 with exotic butterflies such as the owl butterfly perching on a visitor in the illustration with this post. See for information.

Note that to catch a return bus, you must cross University Drive at the pedestrian crosswalk near the Harley street intersection. This is a walk of slightly more than a quarter-mile from the gardens’ entrance, without paved sidewalks. Maybe a little much for those with young children.

A Route 7 bus stop serves the museum district -- Kimbell, Amon Carter, and Fort Worth Modern art museums on Saturdays only.

Or for travel around downtown, including Sundance Square, try Molly the Trolley. Service on the vintage trolley is free seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For routes and maps, see or text “Molly” to 38714. Take water and sunscreen -- and have a great time!

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