Tyler, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Rose Capital of America
& A Main Street City

This colorful city recognized for its roses and Azalea Trail was once known for abundant peach crops. But when a peach blight threatened the trees in the early 20th century, farmers turned to cultivating rose bushes. Eventually this Texas Main Street city became “The Rose Capital of America” and the site of the Texas Rose Festival each October since 1933. At the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden and Museum, more than 450 varieties of rose bushes, including antique varieties, bloom in the garden. The museum showcases glamorous gowns worn by Texas Rose Festival Queens, as well as the history of the rose industry. Another outstanding homegrown attraction grew from a backyard menagerie to become the first-rate Caldwell Zoo. Relax with a cool lemonade on a shaded porch and watch elephants, zebras, and lions roam the realistic East African-style savannah, where natural barriers separate predators and prey. Downtown, children will enjoy the Discovery Science Place where hands-on, crawl-through, and climb-over activities make learning fun. Events include the Texas Rose Festival, the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail in late March, and the East Texas State Fair in September.

Texas College, a historically African American university, is the oldest of three higher education institutions in Tyler. The college was established under the auspices of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1894. A traditional center for learning, the 1904 Carnegie Library now houses the Smith County Historical Museum, which has noteworthy Work Projects Administration wall murals and exhibits that include a pioneer Chinese family’s memorabilia. At the 1859 Goodman-LeGrand House and Museum, visitors can imagine living in a pre-Civil War Texas mansion. Located outside town is the site of Camp Ford, one of the largest prisoner-of-war camps during the Civil War, featuring nature trails and informational displays.

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