If you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, sports fan or simply searching for fun things to do in Midland Texas, there are plenty of places to visit. Here are some of our top picks!
The Museum of the Southwest in Midland is one of Midland’s most fascinating attractions. It houses three distinct museums: Fredda Turner Durham Children’s Museum, Blakemore Planetarium and Turner Memorial Art Museum.
1. Meteor Crater Museum
If you’re searching for activities to do in Midland TX, make sure the Meteor Crater Museum is on your list. This site offers an incredible opportunity to learn about earth’s history, geology and space exploration.
On the western edge of Odessa, this crater was formed by a meteor impact over 20,000 years ago and is the second-largest in America behind Arizona. A must-see on any trip to this part of Texas.
The Meteor Crater Museum houses an extensive collection of meteorite samples from around the globe. Visitors to its interpretive center can view these specimens, while a walking trail circles two of the five craters.
Discover how a meteor crashed into Earth and touch some of the meteorites on display. Plus, take a look inside the crater to get an up-close and personal view of how it looked before impact.
For aviation buffs in Midland, this is one of the top activities to do. There are various exhibits that showcase West Texas’ role in World War II and you can even get a closeup view of military aircraft on-site!
Another intriguing attraction to check out is the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, which showcases both indoor and outdoor displays that tell the tale of this important industry in Midland. Here, visitors are given an insider’s perspective of how petroleum has shaped this important city.
Finally, for art buffs, Odessa’s Jamboree Rabbits are an eye-catching public sculpture found throughout the city. Not only are these fun to explore, but they make great pictures too!
Odessa offers plenty of attractions, from museums and theaters to quirky sites that will keep you coming back for more. Additionally, Odessa boasts an impressive collection of historical homes which provide insight into its culture and vibrant heritage. If you’re in the mood for something more relaxed, spend time at one of the region’s many outdoor sports facilities.
2. Turner Mansion
The Turner Mansion is an impressive historical landmark built in the 1930s that stands proudly in Midland, Texas and has been renovated and turned into a museum.
When visiting Midland, the mansion is a must-see. Not only does it provide insight into the city’s history and those who reside here, but it also hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year.
Fred and Juliette Turner’s family became immensely wealthy through their oil business during the 1930s, becoming one of the wealthiest families in the area. They had several children, with daughter Sophia becoming a celebrity.
The House of the Seven Gables, famous for its appearance in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The House of the Seven Gables, has undergone multiple renovations over time.
When the Turner family first settled in Midland, their house was a four-story frame building with seven gables. Although it was an imposing structure, it had many issues.
In 1769, John Turner III inherited the property and transformed it into a three-gabled structure with an addition of a parlor wing which extended the southern facade, as well as adding a rear kitchen lean-to that added an eighth gable.
This was done to make the house appear more symmetrical and streamlined, as well as to bring up to seven gables – a testament to changing attitudes at that time towards symmetry and social standing.
In 1908, Caroline O. Emmerton transformed the house and its grounds to honor Hawthorne’s novel while also making it profitable to operate.
Today, the mansion is a National Historic Landmark that houses various exhibits and displays. These include landscapes, portraits, as well as other items on show in its galleries.
The museum is an iconic feature of Midland and boasts an impressive collection of art. It’s the perfect place to learn more about southwest art history as well as a great place to spend a few hours relaxing and taking in some sights.
3. Scharbauer Sports Complex
The Scharbauer Sports Complex is an integral part of the city’s entertainment scene. This baseball park, football/soccer stadium and pavilion host local sporting events throughout the year, drawing in visitors from throughout the region.
If you’re a sports enthusiast, the Scharbauer Sports Complex should not be missed by you and your family. Here, you can catch an exciting game or attend one of many other events such as concerts and shows.
It’s worth mentioning that the arena is dog-friendly, meaning you can bring your furry friends along for some fun. With tight fencing and a double gated entry system, you can rest assured that your pup won’t run off and get lost elsewhere.
One of the most popular activities to do in Midland is visiting the Petroleum Museum. Situated within the Permian Basin, this oil and gas museum provides insight into the local industry’s history as well as how science and art play an integral role. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about Midland’s abundant petroleum resources and their effects on daily life.
Before embarking on your trip to Midland, make a list of what you want to see and do. No matter what you choose to do, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience.
The Sibley Nature Center is an outstanding attraction in Midland that’s free to visit! It boasts an outdoor nature trail to showcase West Texas’ stunning wildlife as well as educational sessions and seasonal activities you can participate in. Additionally, there’s a library with archived articles and essays about the region that you can browse through.
Visit the George W. Bush Childhood Home, an important landmark in American history. It was once home to two Presidents, two First Ladies, and many other notable figures from West Texas’ past; you can tour the house to gain insight into their lives and impact on our nation’s development.
4. Chris Kyle Memorial
The Chris Kyle Memorial is a memorial to the decorated US Navy SEAL and renowned military sniper known for his autobiography American Sniper. It was created to pay respects to him, his SEAL community, the US military as well as all first responders.
Kyle’s plaza is constructed with limestone from a quarry near Odessa and features three tridents – representing Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas, as well as one of the SEAL community’s symbols.
It’s an inspiring site, easily reached from Highway 191 (aptly named the Chris Kyle Memorial Highway). The quotes written around the statue serve as a poignant reminder of an incredible hero’s life.
Anyone driving along 191 must stop to admire this magnificent statue and the surrounding area. It stands adjacent to West Texas VA Clinic, giving off an ethereal feeling that you are honoring a hero.
In July 2016, the memorial was dedicated with a 9-foot bronze statue of Kyle, an elite SEAL who served four tours of duty in Iraq and earned many medals. Surrounding it are two plazas honoring unnamed team members as well as all those unknown SEALS who gave their lives for our country.
Vic Payne, Kyle’s wife Taya and father Wayne worked with him to craft an accurate portrait of their former Odessa resident for the statue located at Veterans Hospital on State Highway 191 in Ector County. This stunning work of art is truly a work of art!
A 9-foot bronze statue of the renowned sniper will stand as a testament to Kyle’s military service and be accompanied by a plaque commemorating his medals and tours of duty during the Iraqi War.
On Thursday, a large crowd gathered to unveil the memorial and hear Taya, Kyle’s widow, speak. She said the monument was dedicated to honor her husband who joined the SEALs as a young man and went on to become a hero.
Her speech was followed by the unveiling of a nine-foot bronze statue of Kyle before an audience of several hundred people, including family members and local officials. This memorial was designed by renowned sculptor Vic Payne, who gained international recognition for its integrated symbolism of design.