Outdoor Fun

From Wine to Wildlife: 9 Top Things to do in Bryan Texas

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

Deep in the heart of the Brazos Valley, Bryan, Texas, offers a family-friendly getaway for kids of all ages. Conveniently located between Houstons and Dallas, Bryan is a quick weekend getaway. While there, you will find lots to do, like a game at nearby Texas A&M University, a wine tasting or a wildlife safari. Here are the top things to do in Bryan, Texas.

9 Top Things to Do in Bryan Texas

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

Aggieland Wild Animal Safari 

With over 700 animals (with babies throughout the season) in a complex of over 250 acres, the Aggieland Safari is the top destination for kids in Bryan. Kids are crazy for animals. Even a cranky toddler will be distracted by an animal. It’s a walk-thru zoo paired with a drive-thru wildlife safari.

I recommend you spend half the day exploring.  Head to the adventure zoo first to see the hippos,  giraffes, reptiles, birds and more. Purchase some lettuce for animal feeding, like the giraffes and tortoises.  Birdseed sticks are also available for purchase. I did this, and it was fun to interact with the animals. 

The Agglieland Safari Tour 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 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last car through the gates at 4 p.m.) Adult admission is $25.95, kids (3 to 12) are $20.95 and kids 2 and younger enter for free.

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Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History

The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History opens a new exhibition every four months. It offers a lot of variety for a smaller museum. During my visit, I saw dinosaur bones, an active bee hive, a mineral collection and more.

Located at 3232 Briarcrest Dr. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $5, kids (4 to 17) are $4 and kids 3 and younger 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. Open the first and third weekends of the month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free to enter.

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

Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley

Located in the Lake Walk development, the Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley is a bright and happy facility for babies to kids 12 years old.  It is divided into age-appropriate areas, some with monthly themes.

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

Located at 4114 Lake Atlas Dr., Suite 110, next to the Stella Hotel. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Adults admission is $4, kids (1 to 14) are $10 and babies are free.

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 from dawn to dusk and free to enter.

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Lake Bryan

Lake Bryan is an 829-acre lake with boating, fishing and camping. It’s just seven miles northeast of 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 is $5 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 have grown 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 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wine tastings start at $5.  

Brazos Valley African American Museum

Learn about the local history of African Americans in the 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 Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. (closed Sunday and Monday). Adult admission is $5, students are $2 and  kids 5 and younger are free. 

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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 his project to build libraries across the U.S.  The building is Greek Revival in a Greek Cross Plan designed by a local architect. It holds the genealogy records for the area. Find both physical records and 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 a family tradition for East Texas. It features a hayride through the holiday lights, a Texas-sized gingerbread village, a visit with Santa with a 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

Harvest Coffee Bar

Harvest Coffee features a menu with breakfast bread, 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. There are three locations across Bryan and College Station. 

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

Chicken Oil Company

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

Located at 3600 S. College Ave. Closed for renovation.

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. (closed Sunday).

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

The Stella Hotel is 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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