When sunny summer days find you looking for something cool to do, look no further than an hour’s radius from Kerrville for an eclectic variety of fascinating places to visit. Even if you’ve “been there and done that,” chances are exhibits and merchandise may have changed since your last visit, so gather your friends and family and adventure-hop in or near your own backyard. All places listed here are suitable for any age, and many are free while others are easy on the wallet. Check for updated hours before you go.

  Museum

  267 Old San Antonio Hwy., Bandera ? 830-328-5090 ? Banderanhm.org

  Here’s a hidden gem, something fascinating for young and old alike. Explore 14,000 square feet of exhibit space dedicated to the world’s amazing wildlife. Let your imagination run wild as you stroll past 16 life-size reproductions of dinosaurs and ice age animals. Take time to study the 17′ Masai giraffe, a collection of Latin American ceremonial masks, 2000 pound jade tiger and dioramas representing six regions of the world. Kids will love the bone digging play stations, so allow more than an hour to enjoy it all.

  Break for lunch at a local eatery or nearby Fab Boyz, where overstuffed sandwiches and freshly made salads will recharge you for your next stop.

  510 13th St., Bandera ? 830-796-3864 ? frontiertimesmuseum.org

  This rustic museum showcases numerous regional artifacts as well as many around the world. Peer into glass showcases laden with fossils and arrowheads and enjoy an extensive collection of Western art done by the former museum owner F.B. Doane. Learn who’s on the Bandera’s Cowboy Roll of Honor and check out period Western wear and be thoroughly intrigued with the two-headed goat!

  734 High St., Comfort ? 830-995-4678 ? visitcomfortantiquemall.com

  This sprawling, 8,000-square-foot store in the heart of the historic district is home to 26 antique dealers from across the Hill Country. Browse for hours through display areas laden with goods and wares from pre-1960. Kids will be fascinated with old phones, radios and typewriters, while the older generation will gladly reminisce with memories of yesteryear. Glassware, furniture, jewelry, art and vintage household items are among the thousands of treasures to tempt you.

  1550 Bandera Hwy., Kerrville ? 830-896-2553 ? museumofwesternart.com

  If you haven’t been there lately – or ever – you need to go. Exhibits change regularly, and now through September 17 is the “Schreiner Native American Collection,” a fascinating array of Navajo rugs, beaded horse blankets, tools, beaded bags and moccasins. Roam through each beautiful gallery laid out with art and artifacts from renowned Western artists of the past and present. Do check out one of their latest acquisitions, “Splashdown” by Chester Fields, a stunning bronze eagle with real diamonds in its eyes. And bring the young ones – they’ll love the interaction in the kid-themed Journey West gallery.

  231 Thompson Drive, Kerrville ? 830-315-7761 ? myewa.org

  Your next stop is a short 2-mile drive away, headed back toward downtown, on Thompson Drive just past the mall. Allow an hour to view all the mounted exotic animals and learn about the organization’s mission to “…encourage and expand the conservation of both native and non-native hoofstock” and help their members develop and strengthen the markets for their animals.

  120 Point Theatre Road, Ingram ? 830-367-5121 ? hcaf.com

  Summer events at this beautiful arts complex will include the HCAF Young Artists Camp in July. If you’re out there on a Friday, stop in and praise the young artists whose works will be on display in front of the gallery between noon and 12:30 p.m.

  August picks up again with a public event from August 13-Sept.17. “Heavy Metal” will include the works of artisans from across the Texas Hill Country who will gather to exhibit metalwork of all types and sizes. See metal works done in wrought iron, steel and other mediums and enjoy sculptures, tools, garden art, and repurposed materials transformed into art. Afterward, stop off at the on-site Southern Sky Music Café, grab a table overlooking the Guadalupe River and feast on delicious salads, sandwiches and light fare.

  120 Point Theatre Road, Ingram? 830-367-5121 ? hcaf.com

  Summer events at this beautiful arts complex will include the HCAF Young Artists Camp in July. If you’re out there on a Friday, stop in and praise the young artists whose works will be on display in front of the gallery between noon and 12:30 p.m.

  August picks up again with a public event from August 13-Sept.17. “Heavy Metal” will include the works of artisans from across the Texas Hill Country who will gather to exhibit metalwork of all types and sizes. See metal works done in wrought iron, steel and other mediums and enjoy sculptures, tools, garden art, and repurposed materials transformed into art. Afterward, stop off at the on-site Southern Sky Music Café, grab a table overlooking the Guadalupe River and feast on delicious salads, sandwiches and light fare.

  311 E. Austin St., Fredericksburg ? 830-997-8600 ? pacificwarmuseum.org

  Reservations are needed for this Smithsonian Affiliate that stands testament to the WWII military legend, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. This world-class museum provides a comprehensive collection of displays from the dark era that changed the world. Allow a minimum of two hours to roam through numerous galleries that present somber insights on Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Pearl Harbor and other military episodes in the Pacific Combat Zone. Learn why Admiral Nimitz’s commendable strategic leadership elevated him to national hero because of his service in the Pacific Rim. Get up close to an actual PT Boat, the living history battlefield and planes in the carrier aviation exhibit. If time permits, take a stroll outside to the beautiful Gallery of Presidents and the Japanese Garden of Peace.

  Before your next stop, have lunch at one of the many fine restaurants in downtown Fredericksburg. One good choice is The Old Germany Bakery & Restaurant, where you can fill up on authentic German dishes and handmade pastries at affordable prices.

  Photo courtesy of Trish Rawls

  325 W. Main St., Fredericksburg ? 830-990-8441 ? pioneermuseum.net

  Take a step back in time, Hill Country style, and visit this historical museum in downtown Fredericksburg. Set on a manicured 3.5-acre lot, the complex features a Sunday house, bath house, barn, smokehouse, log cabin and one-room schoolhouse. Period furnishings and artifacts are displayed throughout.

  Photo courtesy of Jack Burton

  100 Ladybird Lane, Johnson City ? 830-868-7128 ? nps.gov/lyjo

  Plan a day of educational fun at this landmark park, an easy 45-minute drive from Kerrville. Although restrictions are still in place for some of the park, much is still available for viewing. Make your first stop at the Hangar Visitor Center and take time to watch the 15-minute movie “Our Heart’s Home” on the former President’s life and the LBJ Ranch history. Get info, directions and a driving pass to enjoy the self-guided LBJ Ranch Driving Tour from the air-conditioned comfort of your vehicle. The map directs you past the Texas White House Complex Grounds, picturesque ranch land, the open-air show barn, Junction School, Johnson Family Cemetery and the Klein Shop, where Johnson’s autos and Lockheed Jetstar can be viewed. Informative plaques provide info at each stop. Admission is free.

  If you’re hungry after your visit, drive over to nearby Pecan Street Brewery for tasty lunch items and icy cold brews.