Outdoor Fun

Top Things to do in Bryan Texas

Stroll downtown Bryan for public art and murals. credit: Catherine Parker

In-between Houston and Dallas and in the heart of the Brazos Valley, Bryan, Texas, offers a family-friendly getaway for kids of all ages. You might be in Bryan for a college tour at  nearby Texas A and M University, a football game or even the Holiday extravanganza, Santa’s Wonderland. Whatever the reason, there’s lots to do and here’s the top things to do in Bryan, Texas.

Top Things to do in Bryan Texas

  • Aggieland Safari
  • Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley
  • Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History
  • Booneville Heritage Park
  • Williamson Skate Park
  • Lake Bryan
  • Messina Hof Winery
  • Brazos Valley African American Museum
  • Carnegie History Center
  • Santa’s Wonderland

Aggieland Safari Tour

Kids are crazy for animals, all ages and all animals. Even a cranky toddler will be distracted by an animal. So head to the Aggieland Safari Tour with your kids. It’s a walk-thru zoo paired with a drive-thru wildlife safari.

With over 700 animals (with babies throughout the season) in a complex of over 250 acres, you can spend half the day exploring.  Head to the  adventure zoo first to see the hippos,  giraffes, reptiles along with birds and more. Purchase some lettuce for animal feeding, like the giraffes and tortoises.  Birdseed sticks are also available for purchase. 

Its guides are enthusiastic animal lovers.  So ask them anything from the animal names, both scientific and their nicknames to the animal’s scat (poop). They are eager to share their knowledge of animals. 

Located at 18074 FM 974. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last car through the gates at 4 p.m.) Admission varies by age and kids 2 and under enter for free. Online discounts available. 

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Children’s Museum of Brazos Valley. credit: Catherine Parker

Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley

Visit the Lake Walk development in Bryan for the Chrildren’s Museum of the Brazos Valley. It’s a bright and happy facility for babies to kids 12-years-old and divided into areas with monthly themes.

My favorite area was the tiny town with a miniature grocery story. Kids can explore indoor climbing structure too. The craft space and manipulative games are favorite spaces as well.  

Located at 4114 Lake Atlas Dr. Suite 110, next to the The Stella Hotel. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission for everyone over 1, babies are free and adults get a discount.

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Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History

Celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2021, the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History opens a new exhibition every four months. It  offers a lot of variety for a smaller museum so see dinosaur bones, an active bee hive, a mineral collection and more during your visit.

Located at 3232 Briarcrest Dr. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission based on age and kids 3 and under are free. Check out Dollar Day on the first Tuesday where everyone gets in for a dollar. 

Booneville Heritage Park

The original county seat of Brazos County was a town called Booneville. The railroad skipped it in the 1800s and the town dwindled. All that is left is the 11-acre site managed by the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History with an original log home and cemetery. It hosts the annual Booneville Days in October, a popular event with costumed interpreters.

Located at 2421 Booneville. Free to enter.

Williamson Skate Park

For the teens, find a skate park in Bryan. It features a street course along with bowls.

Located inside the Travis Bryan Municipal Park near the intersection of Williamson Dr. and Roundtree Dr. Open dawn to dusk and free to enter.

Lake Bryan

Lake Bryan is a 829-acre lake with  boating, fishing and camping. It’s just seven miles northeast from downtown Bryan if you want a lake getaway while in Bryan.

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. from spring to fall and 8 p.m. in the winter. Admission charged per vehicle. 

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Sample the bounty of the harvest. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Messina Hof Winery

Since 1977, Messina Hof Vineyard and Winery has been growing grapes in the Brazos Valley. It features a tasting room, wine bar, food and wine pairings, harvest festivals and cooking classes. You can even walk through its fields.

Located at 4545 Old Reliance Road. Open daily Monday and Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Wine tastings start at $5.  

Brazos Valley African American Museum

Learn about the local history of African Americans in Brazos Valley area, including notable people, like athletes at the Brazos Valley African American Museum. It also features oral histories along with displays depicting life through the years. It also hosts visiting exhibits that cover general issues of life in Brazos Valley.

Located at 500 E. Pruitt St. Open Tuesday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission based on age and kids 5 and under are free. 

Carnegie Library
The Carnegie Library in Bryan credit: Catherine Parker

Carnegie History Center

In 1902, Andrew Carnegie awarded the city of Bryan one of his Library grants to construct a library. It was part of a project to build libraries across the U.S.  The building is Greek Revival in a Greek Cross Plan designed by a local architect and houses the genealogy records for the area. Find both physical records along with online services to genealogy sites. 

Located at 111 Main St. Open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free to enter. 

Santa’s Wonderland

This annual Holiday event is family tradition for those in Bryan. It features a hayride through the holiday lights, a Texas-sized gingerbread village, a visit with Santa and mailbox with express delivery to the North Pole. It also features extras like carriage rides, ice skating and a petting zoo.

Located at 18898 Hwy 6. Open seasonally from early November until December 30. Visit Monday to Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 3 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission based on age and kids 2 and under are free with pre-season online discounts.

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Chicken Oil Company
A burger from Chicken Oil Company. credit: Catherine Parker

Where to Eat in Bryan

Village Cafe 

Find a great option for breakfast with a full menu with a kids menu and barista-made coffee throughout the day. It features local art and sometimes live music.

Located at 210 W. 26th St. Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Harvest Coffee Bar

Harvest Coffee features a menu with breakfast breads, salads and sandwiches. It also serves coffee made with several different brewing methods, like drip, Chemex, Kone and a fascinating Japanese Cold Brew that takes 10 hours with a custom-built glass brewing system. 

Located at 101 Main St. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Chicken Oil Company

Since 1977 the Chicken Oil Company has been a Bryan Institution, serving with burgers in baskets along with chicken sandwiches. It offers a kids menu and  you get to choose the toppings. 

Located at 3600 S. College Ave. Open Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Sodolaks Beefmasters Restaurant 

Here’s your destination for traditional Texas favorites, like Chicken Fried Steak. The menu has something for everyone with lots of sides, and the mashed potatoes are tops. Sodolaks offers a kids menu and the chicken fingers are good enough to steal. Lunch specials are a bargain since you get the same size entree as dinner, just a smaller price.

Located at 3500 E. State Highway 21. Open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

RX Pizza

If you want pizza then head to RX Pizza with brick oven baked pizzas. It features outdoor tables and dog-friendly on the patio. No kids menu but you can built-your-own pizza and the salads are good too. Serious drink menu for those looking for a cocktail. It also has another location near Texas A&M, located close by.

Located at 200 W. 26th St. Open Monday to Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Where to Stay in Bryan

The Stella Hotel

Ranked as the #3 Hotel in Texas by readers of Condé Nast in 2021. It’s a sprawling resort-style property with a resort-style pool, activities and several restaurants. It’s located next to the Lake Walk area, home to live music.

Located at 4100 Lake Atlas Dr., in the Lake Walk District. $$


This article was written after a media trip.

Located in the Brazos Valley in-between Houston and Dallas, Bryan, Texas, is a quick family friendly getaway with several museums, parks, a wildlife safari and lots of dining and a top-rated hotel. What to do in Bryan Texas | Where to Stay in Bryan Texas | Museums in Bryan Texas | Where to eat in Bryan with kids #Texas #Aggieland
credit: Catherine Parker

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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