Bud Kennedy

A giant lizard, a 110-year-old lightbulb that works and 4 more offbeat Fort Worth attractions

In Texas, here’s a lightbulb that’s burned 110 years

In 1973, WFAA/Channel 8 reported on a 1908 theater lightbulb, It's now in a Fort Worth museum.
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In 1973, WFAA/Channel 8 reported on a 1908 theater lightbulb, It's now in a Fort Worth museum.

OK, so the fam has seen the daily longhorn cattle drive, and the Rembrandts and Remingtons at the art museums, and fed all the zoo giraffes.

Now they’re staying in Fort Worth three more days. What’s next?

Allow me to introduce you to some of the more offbeat attractions in Fort Worth, beginning with our beloved stubborn lightbulb:

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The 1908-vintage Palace Theater lightbulb burns in a display case in the Stockyards Museum. Ron T. Ennis Star-Telegram archives
1. The Palace Light

Sept. 21 marks the 110th birthday of the Palace Light, a low-tech phenomenon of a lightbulb that has never burned out since it was installed in 1908 in the old Palace Theater downtown.

At 11 a.m., the Stockyards Museum, 131 E. Exchange Ave., is throwing the bulb another birthday party.

It’s the second oldest working lightbulb on record, behind one in California that has burned since 1901.

“I would have thought theirs would have gotten hit by an earthquake by now,” museum director Teresa Burleson joked.

(It has. Several, in fact.)

The lightbulb is now a keepsake. All the museum docents who saw it in the theater, demolished in 1977, are gone.

Now and then it goes dark with the museum lights. It went out Sept. 11 when a car hit a nearby utility pole.

“The lights went dim and the other display lights went out,” Burleson said — “but this little bulb came right back on.”

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The tea garden at Top O’ Hill Terrace. Ron Jenkins Star-Telegram archives
2. Top O’ Hill Terrace

Yes, there’s a Benny Binion casino in town.

But it closed about 70 years ago, and now its Baptist college owners give tours of the underground rooms, escape tunnels and even a roulette wheel.

The $10 tour, 3001 W. Division St., is the No. 1 Arlington attraction on TripAdvisor.com.

Visitors hear about wild parties, gambling raids and the casino’s colorful history of sin and redemption.

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People flock to the active water pool in the Fort Worth Water Gardens on Saturday. The official high was 99 degrees, keeping Dallas-Fort Worth from recording its first triple-digit temperatures for at least another day. Star-Telegram
3. The ‘Logan’s Run’ Water Gardens

The Fort Worth Water Gardens, 1502 Commerce St., were a futuristic wonder when they were built in 1974, the dream world of renowned architect Phillip Johnson.

In 1975, the gardens’ Active Pool was used for a scene in the sci-fi movie “Logan’s Run,” set in 2274.

For contrast, walk five blocks to the life-size Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch wall bronze of their 1900 portrait here. It’s at 1006 Houston St.

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Larry Hagman’s niece Dana; daughter Kristina; sister, Heller; and son Preston were on hand for the unveiling Weatherford Star-Telegram
4. Peter Pan is J.R. Ewing’s mom

For the child in the family — or the adults who never grew up — Weatherford has a near-lifesize bronze of stage’s Mary Martin, a native, as TV’s “Peter Pan.”

It’s at the public library, 1014 Charles St. Across town at 1400 Texas Drive, there’s a statue of TV’s villainous J.R. Ewing of “Dallas” — because late actor Larry Hagman was Martin’s son.

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Katherine Stubergh’s 1957 wax sculpture of “The Last Supper” is displayed in Fort Worth. Steve Gariepy Star-Telegram archives
5. ‘The Last Supper’ — lifesize

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” becomes a lifesize wax sculpture at the Christian Arts Museum, 3221 Hamilton Ave.

One of several wax ‘Last Suppers’ by a California wax artist, it was installed in 1957 in west Fort Worth, then moved around before finding a home in the Cultural District.

The museum also has a holiday display of Nativity scenes.

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Iggy, the Fort Worth Zoo's 40-Foot Iguana, dons a cowboy hat during the Stock Show in Fort Worth, TX, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com
6. Iggy the Iguana

OK, maybe you’ve seen the new giraffe feeding area and hippopotamus pool.

But you haven’t seen the entire Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Parkway, if you haven’t seen Iggy.

Don’t laugh at Iggy, the 40-foot-long wire mesh creation at the zoo entrance. He’s tough. After all, he’s been to New York.

For 10 years in the 1980s when Texas songwriters gained popularity, Iggy reigned atop the Lone Star Cafe at 61 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan.

Now, he dresses for special occasions and suits up for TCU football or pro golf at Colonial Country Club.

Yes, the north side has Billy Bob’s Texas, the World’s Largest Honky-Tonk.

But the south side has the World’s Largest Lizard.

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