Planning a trip to Texas?
If you haven’t been there before, you’ll quickly discover that there’s more to Texas than Cowboy hats and tumbleweeds. For instance, did you know that there’s a ranch in Texas that’s larger than the entire state of Rhode Island? It’s called King Ranch.
I guess they really do make everything bigger in Texas.
Unfortunately, not all the things you’ll learn about the Lone Star State will be encouraging. Some of the facts in the article below will downright shock you.
So, throw on your spurs and break out your Willie Nelson tunes. When you’re ready to learn what you should know before you visit the home of the Dallas Cowboys, read on.
Table of Contents
1. Texas Wins the Gun War
Notice we did not say “war on guns.” Texas would definitely lose that battle. 44% of Texas voters own at least one gun.
And, get this, one-quarter of those who own guns have 5 or more.
Moreover, 1.2 million Texans have a license to carry a handgun. It’s one of the Texas customs. That means approximately 1 out of every 20 people you see on the street is either carrying a handgun or has a permit to carry one.
2. Texans Love their Medicine
Texas Medical Center is the largest medical complex in the world. It consists of over 21 hospitals. Within its 77030 zip-code, over 21,000 physicians, researchers, scientists, and life-science professionals live.
Get this, the center is the largest life science destination in the world. It boasts over 106,0000 employees and thousands of volunteers. The center includes over 54 institutions and welcomes 7.2 million visitors each year.
The facility is located in Houston and easily reached by the MetroRail Redline. It runs right through the heart of Texas Medical Center and only costs $1.25 for a one-way ticket.
Visitors interested in learning more about the human body can also visit one of the museums:
- Health Museum
- Wallace D. Wilson Museum
- DeBakey Library and Museum
Each specializes in its own branch of medicine. They also have their own collections of rare books and other special collections. Houston also plays host to 6 other museums, including exotic animals.
3. Beware the Armadillo
They grow up to 4 feet long and can weigh up to 18 pounds. We’re talking about the nine-banded armadillo, Texas’s state mammal, of course. They’re distant cousins of sloths and anteaters, but these creatures sport a tough shell.
They look more like reptilians than mammals. They have long tails, clawed feet, and pointed face. But, genetically speaking, they’re closer relatives to humans than mice.
You’d never know it by looking at one.
Fortunately, the little critters aren’t aggressive. If you see one, its Texas Parks and Wildlife recommends you just leave it alone. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check behind your tires when you get into your car.
You see, armadillos are nocturnal. They wander around hunting for grubs at night and sleep during the day. Unfortunately, they’ve been known to curl up under tires.
They prefer to burrow into the dirt, especially soft dirt, but sometimes it’s inaccessible. Just be sure to check under your tires before you back out each morning, and you’ll be safe.
4. They Love their Churches
Texas may not officially be a state that belongs to the Bible Belt, but they should at least get the honorary title. There’s a church around every corner. They’re proud to share their messages about Jesus to anyone within shouting distance.
You’ll find people sharing Holy messages from the street, alleys, and even passenger windows as they drive by. If you love Jesus, you’ll feel right at home. If you’re visiting Texas and you’re a little standoffish when it comes to religion, we recommend you simply smile and nod.
Texans mean well, after all.
5. Sexual Assault Laws are Limited
Our goal isn’t to scare you. It’s to clarify the things you should watch out for. Texas’s sexual assault laws differ from those in other states.
Here’s the lowdown. Any nonconsensual sexual contact without penetration or physical injury is an “assault by offensive contact.” Wow, that’s a mouthful, but what does it really mean?
It means the assault is a class C misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and no prison time. It ranks alongside public intoxication and driving with an expired license. That means that if a person gropes you, even if that person sticks their hands down your pants, it’s only a class C misdemeanor.
Be cautious at places serving alcohol and establishments offering massages. There’s a correlation between them and greater incidents of assault by offensive contact. Keep it in mind, especially if you’re a female traveling alone.
6. They Ride Horses and Bulls
Though you won’t see many Texans riding their horses in downtown Dallas, you’ll see plenty if you take a drive out of town. Tending cattle on horseback is one of the oldest traditions in Texas, going back to the days before Texas ceded from Mexico and joined the union.
It’s one of the most beloved pastimes in the state’s history. It’s no surprise then that rodeos are as big an attraction in Texas as country music is in Tennessee. It’s the perfect combination of horses, bulls, and wide-brimmed cowboy hats.
7. The Best BBQ in the World
Now if you’re from Saint Louis, you’ll have to forgive us. You definitely get the award for the best BBQ ribs. But if you want Texas takes second place in ribs and first place in everything else BBQ related.
Like a good whiskey recipe, a BBQ recipe has generations of tweaks and fine-tuning before it becomes something to brag about. In Texas, those sauces have been handed down from one generation to the next for over a hundred years. Believe us when we say that makes for some good eating.
We recommend a good smoked beef brisket. Make sure you buy it from a restaurant specializing in BBQ. The smells will tell you immediately whether they’re an imposter or the real deal.
Now that you know what to look for during your trip to Texas, pack appropriately. Be sure to bring your spurs for the rodeos. Oh, and don’t forget your whistle for any fellas who get handsy.
So long and good luck!
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