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Lubbock Offers Surprises for Visitors
 
Overview of Lubbock Attractions
Where can you find prairie dogs, wineries and Buddy Holly all in one place? Lubbock, of course.

The growing city in the state's Panhandle Plains region might strike some as an unlikely place to find great wine, but the areas around Lubbock contain some of the finest vineyards in the U.S.

The Cap*Rock, Llano Estacado and Pheasant Ridge wineries are open to the public to for tours and tastings. All three are award-winners.

Buddy Holly, one of the early heroes of rock-n-roll, is also a hero of Lubbock. Holly was killed in a plane crash, still in his early 20s, in 1959. The rock pioneer is celebrated in his hometown with the Buddy Holly Center, which features a gallery, a Texas Musicians Hall of Fame and museum.

And a great photo op is at the Buddy Holly Statue in the Depot District. You'll also want to look down to the ground for the Walk of Fame, which recognizes West Texans from show business, including Holly, Waylon Jennings (a member of Holly's band), Jimmy Dean, Roy Orbison and many more.

The aforementioned Depot District is a historic area of restored buildings that have been turned into entertainment venues. There are many different restaurants and nightclubs to suit every taste.

About those prairie dogs ... prairie dog "towns," or colonies, once covered vast expanses of North America. But the little critters were pests to farmers and ranchers, and were driven nearly to extinction.

Lubbock's Prairie Dog Town is a must-see for families, especially those with young children. The colony owns a corner of the 248-acre Mackenzie Park, which also features golf, disc golf and is the site of the Joyland Amusement Park.

Texas Tech University is a central part of life in Lubbock, for the educational opportunities it offers, its cultural resources and, of course, its football team. The Red Raiders football team, a member of the Big 12 Conference, is the toughest ticket in Lubbock. And while football is king, the university's athletic teams offer plenty of viewing opportunities for sports fans.

Texas Tech also operates an upscale golf course, The Rawls Course, designed by star architect Tom Doak.

Texas Tech's cultural offerings include the Museum of Texas Tech University, whose focus is the study of arid and semiarid environments but whose exhibits range into the arts and humanities along with natural and social sciences. If you'd like to see stars and learn about the universe, a visit to the Moody Planetarium is in order.

The school's Southwest Collections/Special Collections Library contains the Vietnam Archives. It's the largest collection of Vietnam War materials outside the U.S. government.

Other museums of interest include the Science Spectrum, with more 200 interactive exhibits (great for kids!) and an OMNIMAX Theater. The Silent Wings Museum exhibits the history of the World War II glider program and the American Wind Power Center is a 28-acre site tracing the history and influence of windmills.

The Lake Lubbock Landmark is an archeological goldmine, one of the most important sites of its kind in the U.S. Excavations have uncovered 6-foot-long armadillos and mammoths, not to mention revealing the culture of Native Americans who populated this part of Texas going back 12,000 years. Excavations continue every summer and an interpretive center is open yearround.

Lubbock is also home to several fun festivals throughout the year, including the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration the week after Labor Day (confirm dates before traveling). It's a national event showcasing cowboys poets and storytellers, musicians and artists and others who explore the cowboy life.

The Buddy Holly Festival takes place in early September, and Panhandle-South Plains Fair in late September. The South Plains Fair is one of the largest regional fairs in the state.

See also: Lubbock golf courses

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