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Mansfield Magazine

60 Minute or Less Daycations from Mansfield: Cleburne

Jun 04, 2015 05:36PM ● By Michelle Ames
For me, there's nothing like a road trip!  I love packing up and getting away!  Electronics get put away, especially on shorter trips, and we play games, comment about the things we see as we drive, and just spend time together.  I truly enjoy the journey every bit as much as the destination!  

Each summer, we plan a day trip down to Cleburne, a short 30 minute drive from Mansfield.  
We enjoy summer mornings, and our first stop is out at Cleburne State Park to hike the Fossil Ridge Trail.  It's a fun trail with nice views, interesting topography and true to it's name, a chance to see and photograph some fossils. After our hike, my oldest wants to fish for a bit, while we cool off at the swim beach or play at the nearby playground.  The park did undergo some severe flooding this May, but as of today, June 4th, the park, swim beach and most of the trails are open.  

Before the sun gets too high, we leave the park and head to the Chisholm Trail Museum on the shores of the Nolan River.  The grounds of the museum are part of the original Chisholm Trail used by Texas cowboys to take their cattle to auction.  Today, the mostly outdoor museum offers kids a place to run and explore!  Visitors can see an old jail, school house, stage wagon, tee pee, blacksmith and much more!  Admittance to everything is FREE, except the Big Bear Native American Museum, which charges an admission of $5 adults and $2 children.  For more information, click HERE to visit their website.

Hours of playing in the fresh air always builds up an appetite, and we head to Downtown Cleburne to visit the smallest hamburger restaurant you will probably ever see, The Burger Bar!  Pull up one of two seats inside at the bar and enjoy!  The Burger Bar is located at 109 Anglin.  

To walk off our lunch, we check out the FREE Layland Museum, just a block away.  The Museum chronicles local Johnson County history.  It is housed in the 1904 Carnegie Library, one of 32 libraries funded by grants from the Carnegie Corp., of which only 13 still remain.  Built in the classic revival style, it's a beautiful building! 

By this time, my kids are ready to play again, and we drive over Hulen Park, home to the annual Whistle Stop Christmas, which displays over 3.5 million lights each December.  The kids always want to pose by the train engine #3417, which pays homage to Cleburne's days as a railroad town.  In truth, those days never died, as Cleburne's has a train depot and is one of the stops on Amtrack's Texas Eagle.  

We always take a few grapes from home to feed to the ducks that hang out along Buffalo Creek, and also pose for a picture by the buffalo statue.  There's a couple of geocaches in the park we found last year, also.  The playground is calling to the kids, but they know how the Texas Sun has heated it up to skillet temperatures.  Instead, we cross the parking lot to the Cleburne Splash Station, which always entices us inside with promises of cooling off in the water!  Although it's a small park compared to Hawaiian Falls, so are the prices. My kids love the current channel and vortex pool, as well as the climbing wall that drops off into the pool.  They also have diving boards.... yeah, remember those?  My kids could spend hours just practicing their flips from the board.  Check out hours and prices by clicking HERE. 

There's no hunger like that you get from swimming, so before we pack it up and head home, we make a last stop at Caddo Street Grill for dinner, who has the blackened catfish I've waited an entire year to enjoy.  Click HERE to check out their menu and more.  

As we say goodbye to Cleburne, we always take a short detour 1 mile south to Campbell's Classic Dairy, where they sell fresh, Grade A Raw Milk from a refrigerator in the barn.  Truly a sign of country life, you leave your milk money on the honor system.  For more information on Campbell's Classic Dairy, click HERE.          

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