It is often said that “Everything is bigger in Texas.” And there are some facts to back this claim. The Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is actually larger than the borough of Manhattan in New York City! Plus, the Texas State Capitol, in Austin, is larger in area than any other United States capitol building.

Those are just a couple of the fun facts about Texas that you’ll learn in this state study, part of Time4Learning’s full series of United States unit study supplements. You can also download our list of PreK-12 interactive activities that align with your study of interesting facts about Texas.

Texas Fast Facts

Became a State December 29, 1845
Order it Joined the Union 28th state
State Capital Austin
State Abbreviation TX
Border States
State Flag Texas State Flag
State Song Texas, Our Texas
State Nicknames
  • Lone Star State
Notable Texans
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th U.S. President
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th U.S. President
  • Beyoncé Knowles – singer
  • George Foreman, boxer
  • Carol Burnett, actress
  • Sandra Day O’Connor, Supreme Court Justice
  • Steve Martin, comedian
  • Selena Gomez, singer and actress
  • Jim Parsons, actor
  • Kelly Clarkson, singer
  • James Farmer, civil rights activist

Historical Facts About Texas

The first European explorers believed to have been in the area we now call Texas were the Spanish conquistadores. Of course, at that time, it was populated by many Native American tribes. But the Spanish established a base there in 1680 near modern El Paso, followed by a French establishment in 1682.

Over the next 110 years, the Spanish made several attempts to colonize the area, but when Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, the Texas area was absorbed by the country and became known as “Mexican Texas.” To encourage settlement in the region, however, Mexico allowed immigrants from the United States to live in the country, and by 1834 there were four Anglos in Mexican Texas for every Mexican that lived there.

Due to instabilities within the Mexican government, the “Texian Army” rose up in revolution. These revolutionaries convened in 1836 to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence. A single skirmish in April of 1836, the Battle of San Jacinto, lasted just 18 minutes, but was the decisive battle that led to Texan independence from Mexico.

At the end of the administration of President John Tyler, Texas was annexed into the United States, leading to the Mexican-American War. The war ended with a treaty signed by both America and Mexico agreeing that the Rio Grande would be the official border between the two countries.

  • The name “Texas” originated from a Native American word meaning friends or allies.

  • Six different flags have flown over the Texas territory during its history. That includes the flags of: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate flag, and the flag of the U.S. (This is also where the name for the theme park originated.)

  • During the time that the Republic of Texas declared itself an independent nation, it flew a flag with a single star on it. This is how the state of Texas came to be known as “The Lone Star State.”

  • Davy Crockett, an American folk hero nicknamed “King of the Wild Frontier,” fought in the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo.

  • The Battle of the Alamo, fought in 1836, is considered to be one of the pivotal events in the Texas Revolution. The site of the battle is the most popular tourist attraction in the state.

  • Sam Houston is the only person ever to be elected as governor of two different states. He was governor of Tennessee from 1827-1829 then was governor of Texas from 1859 – 1861. (He also served 2 terms as the President of the Republic of Texas before it was annexed to the United States.)

  • On June 19, 1865, (also called “Juneteenth”) all slaves in Texas were officially emancipated.

  • The first ever rodeo in the world occurred in Pecos, Texas, in 1883.

  • The deadliest natural disaster in the recorded history of the U.S. happened when Galveston, TX was hit by a hurricane that killed an estimated 8,000 people.

  • The first woman governor of Texas was Ma Ferguson, elected in 1924.

  • The first word spoken on the moon was a city in Texas. Apollo 11 commander, Neil Armstrong, was communicating back to the space center in Texas and said, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

  • The first domed athletic stadium in the U.S. was built in Houston, Texas in 1965.

  • President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX in 1963.

  • Following the death of Kennedy, his vice-president, Lyndon Johnson, was sworn into office in Air Force One while it was on the ground at Dallas Love Field Airport.

  • The well known slogan, “Don’t mess with Texas,” actually originated with an anti-littering campaign in the 1980s.

Geographical Facts About Texas

Can you locate Texas on this printable US map? It’s the second largest state, with only the state of Alaska able to claim more area. Would you believe it is 221 times larger than the smallest state of Rhode Island? This is just one of the interesting facts about the Lone Star State’s geography that your homeschooler will find interesting.

To enhance your unit study, explore a map of the state and then download our printable Texas map (below) and mark it up with your child. Here’s a small survey of some of the things you and your homeschooler may want to note about Texas geography and its unique features.

  • Bracken Cave, in south central Texas, has the largest colony of bats in the world. An estimated 20 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats roost in the cave from March to October.

  • Texas has more farmland than any other state in the nation — over 170 million acres, with some of the top agricultural products being cattle (and dairy), cotton, corn, and wheat.

  • You can thank Texas for those balloons you had at your last birthday party. Amarillo, in north Texas, stores over 90% of the world’s helium.

  • Texas has 14 million acres of desert, primarily located in the southwestern part of the state.

  • The Rio Grande, that borders Texas and Mexico, is the longest of all rivers that flow through Texas.

  • The Roscoe Wind Farm in central Texas is one of the world’s largest wind producers and supplies power for over 250,000 Texans.

  • Texas has more varied species of birds than any other state.

  • Because of its proximity to Mexico, Texas has established a unique cuisine called “Tex-Mex” that blends flavors of American and Mexican cooking.

  • Four of Texas’ biggest cities are in the eastern part of the state: Dallas in the northeast, Houston in the far east, Austin in central east Texas, and San Antonio in the southeast.

  • Although many know the state for having desert landscapes, only 12% of the southwestern part of the state has arid enough conditions to be considered desert.

Texas State Map

Download our FREE Texas state map printable. Use it as a coloring page or use it to plot the state’s geographical features.

Download

Activities for Children in Texas

If you homeschool in the state of Texas, you may or may not be aware of all the great day trips that will offer your families opportunities for both recreation and learning. If you are visiting the state, this list will be especially helpful as well. Enhance your Texas facts unit study with these field trip ideas.

  • Dallas World Aquarium (Dallas) – This is definitely a field trip that all ages will enjoy as you wind your way from the top of the building through a rainforest setting. See birds, snakes, turtles, frogs, stingrays, piranhas, and many more animals along the way. There are educational shows throughout the day, as well.

  • Liendo Plantation (Hempstead) – Although you can only tour this site once a month, by scheduling your visit you’ll be rewarded with docents in period attire who are excited to share the history of Texas with you. There is also a Civil War Weekend each year which includes a Living History education day.

  • Science Spectrum and Omni Theater (Lubbock) – If you have a chance to visit this hands-on science and technology museum, you may want to start your explorations on the top floor and work your way to the bottom, called the “Kid Zone” or else you may never get your children to leave.

  • Texas Transportation Museum (San Antonio) – If you have a train-lover in your family, you’ll definitely want to schedule a trip to this site which features a working passenger railroad. But you’ll also view antique automobiles, fire trucks, tractors, and even horse carriages at this unique attraction.

  • Wildseed Farms (Fredericksburg) – You might not think that you need to “farm” wildflowers, but that’s exactly what happens here at this special place. Homeschoolers will have an opportunity to watch the farm staff work, walk the trails, explore the winery, and visit the butterfly gardens. Check their website for optimum bloom times.

For additional field trip options in Texas, visit Time4Learning’s Texas Field Trips with Kids page, which organizes educational outing ideas by geographical area.

Texas Freebies and Deals for Homeschoolers

  • Austin Energy Tours (Austin) – If you have a couple homeschool families or a homeschool support group of at least 5 people, you can schedule this free tour that teaches students how electricity is produced and transmitted to the Austin area.

  • Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas) – There aren’t too many art museums that you can visit for free these days, so definitely take advantage of this one, which also happens to be one of the 10 largest art museums in the country.

  • El Paso Holocaust Museum (El Paso) – Are you doing a study on World War II? This free-admission museum is a memorial to the victims and survivors of the brutal Nazi regime and has year-round programming to supplement the educational lessons of the permanent exhibit.

  • Fort Worth Zoo (Fort Worth) – In addition to hosting monthly classes for homeschoolers, the zoo offers a yearly Homeschool Day where all families who register for the event will receive discounted admission prices.

  • Science Mill (Johnson City) – During Homeschool Day each month of the school year, students receive discounted membership to the demos, activities, and 3D movie. Learning Labs can be added for an additional $4-6.

Texas Learning Games for Children

Make sure to check out these available resources to assess your child’s knowledge about Texas and learn even more about the Lone Star State.

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