Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museum#7 in Best Things To Do in El Paso
Price & Hours
Since 1849, Fort Bliss has been used by the Army to train troops, as well as handle operations for war efforts. Now, both military personnel and civilians can learn about the post's history at the Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museum. Visitors will find out more about the fort's role in supporting troops during conflicts like the Mexican Revolution and World War II. Additionally, the museum houses a large exhibit dedicated to the 1st Armored Division, the American military's tank division (called Old Ironsides). In this portion of the museum, visitors will learn about mechanized warfare's development and progression from the 1940s through the early 2010s.
Reviewers enjoyed their trips to the museum, noting that the large space is informative and a can't-miss attraction for military buffs. Others were complimentary of the soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss, who provide good directions to get to the museum, should you get lost.
The Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museum sits 7 miles northwest of downtown El Paso. Because the museum is on an Army post, it can be tricky to get to for civilians. Visitors must enter at the Chaffee Gate or Buffalo Soldier Gate. Both gates have a visitor center where museumgoers must obtain a special visitor pass. Additionally, anyone age 17 and older must have a valid ID. Know, too, that there can be a long wait to get entry passes.
The museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Last entry is at 3:45 p.m. daily. There's a small park with picnic tables just outside the building. The museum is free to visit, though there may be some visiting restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Contact the museum before your trip for updated information. Learn more at the museum's website.
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#1 Franklin Mountains State Park
Sweeping mountain vistas await travelers who decide to hike through Franklin Mountains State Park. The park lies less than 18 miles north of the city center and provides visitors with a feeling of being worlds away from civilization. There are more than 100 miles of hiking trails across roughly 27,000 acres, plus rock climbing opportunities and multiple campsites. You can also partake in ranger programs, such as guided hikes, bike tours and art activities. Astute hikers may also see several species of birds or – if they're lucky – mountain lions, among other animals.
Past tourists raved about the park. Many enjoyed their hikes and loved the views, adding that future travelers should try to time their hikes around sunset. Others warned that it can get particularly hot here in summer, so be sure to pack plenty of provisions.
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