Things to Do in Odessa

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Things to Do in Odessa TX
Aquatic Centers

The Sherwood and Woodson family aquatic centers boast swimming pools with lifeguards, concessions, themed pool parties and more. Private rentals are available through the YMCA.
www.odessatxparks.org/facilities-parks/aquatic-centers-swimming-pool

Bowling

Spend your “spare” time rolling for strikes with the family at Odessa’s several venues. Diamond Lanes frames fun with such offerings as cosmic bowling, leagues and youth programs. Astro Bowl, a family-owned and operated Professional Bowlers Association host center, offers new state-of-the-art synthetic lanes, as well as party packages. Check out Cinergy, too.
www.astrobowl.net, www.diamondlanesodessa.com

The Bush Home/The Presidential Archives and Leadership Library

Texas and Odessa have a habit of producing major state and national political figures, from John Ben Shepperd, who served as Texas’s Secretary of State and its Attorney General in the 1950s, to the Bush presidential family. The latter’s home, while technically in Midland, has been restored to the days when the American political dynasty was planted here. The John Ben Shepperd Leadership Institute provides young Texans with leadership and public-service programs. The Institute’s Presidential Archives and Leadership Library features an exhibit highlighting the 50th anniversary of the 1968 presidential election, as well as a celebration of President John F. Kennedy. www.shepperdinstitute.com/presidential-archives

Cinergy Odessa

Cinergy Odessa’s state-of-the-art facility “strikes” again with a veritable arcade of fun, including a movie theater, bowling, a zip line and billiards. www.cinergy.com/locations/odessa

Ellen Noël Art Museum

One of only two Texas affiliates of the renowned Smithsonian, the Ellen Noël Art Museum is more than a world-renowned collection of works from well-known painters and sculptors. The fine-arts destination offers a sculpture garden, a variety of programs for all ages, lectures, concerts and even a Knit & Stitch group for the quilting, sewing and knitting set. www.noelartmuseum.org

The Globe Theater/Anne Hathaway Cottage

The Bard died in 1616 and, of course, his works endure, but at Odessa College, The Globe Theater keeps William Shakespeare’s octagonal performance hall alive. A replica from Elizabethan London, the 410-seat venue showcases an authentic period stage for world-class performances. The venue serves as an ideal spot for weddings and parties, too. The adjacent Anne Hathaway Cottage honors Shakespeare’s wife with a reproduction of her childhood home.

Golf

At Odessa Country Club, members play their choice of two top-flight courses and enjoy swimming pools, tennis courts and a fitness center, among other amenities. The city-owned public course, Ratliff Ranch Golf Links, also offers camps, clinics, a pro shop and Sunset Golf & Country Club and a semi-private course. www.odessacc.com, www.ratliffranchgolfodessa.com,
www.sunsetgolfcc.com

Jack Ben Rabbit

The world’s largest jackrabbit arrived in Odessa in 1962, when John Ben Shepperd (see above) was Odessa Chamber of Commerce President. He rustled up the statue to pay tribute to the Odessa Rodeo’s annual jackrabbit roping competition. The 8-foot-tall rabbit now draws visitors and media attention from all over the world. www.roadtrippers.com/us/odessa-tx/points-of-interest/jack-ben-rabbit

Chris Kyle Memorial Plaza

A 15-foot statue memorializes the “American Sniper.” The $1 million bronze version of the Iraq War hero sits on a 48,000-pound base of limestone and granite in the 2,800-square-foot centerpiece of what are actually three plazas. Trees from President George W. Bush’s Crawford ranch adorn the plaza. www.odessachamber.com/chris-kyle-memorial

Odessa Jackalopes

With 50 days’ more sunshine than the national average, Odessa wouldn’t seem like a natural spot for ice hockey. Don’t tell that to the Odessa Jackalopes, the North American Hockey League team that plays at Ector County Coliseum from September to April. www.jackalopes.org

Odessa Meteor Crater

The Odessa Meteor Crater is one of the largest in the country, around 550 feet in diameter. Learn more about the National Natural Landmark created thousands of years ago at the Thomas Rodman Museum and Visitor Center. www.odessameteorcrater.com

Parks

Trails, pavilions, basketball and tennis courts and horseshoe pits are among numerous amenities at Odessa’s Parks and Recreation facilities. Also, a short drive from the city, three state and national parks provide breathtaking scenery from miles of trails and picnic spots. Monahans Sandhills State Park is 30 minutes away and Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico and Big Bend National Park are close enough for magnificent day trips. www.odessatxparks.org

Pecos Depot

“Billy” hangs out at the Pecos Depot. Or so folks say. He’s a ghost known for pranks and loitering, if not for his taste in the ambiance and Texas-sized dishes at the adjacent Barn Door Steakhouse. www.odessabarndoor.com

Performing Arts

The Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center, Globe Theater, Permian Playhouse and Ector Theater are the major performing-arts centers presenting Broadway musicals, the Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale, and marquee concerts from rock to Texas’s most popular musicians. www.wagnernoel.com, www.permianplayhouse.com

Raceways

Caprock Motorplex’s state-of-the-art drag strip, Tumbleweed Speedway’s dirt-track go-kart racing, and the West Texas Motocross Park get your motors running. www.caprockmotorplex.com,
www.tumbleweedspeedway.com, www.wtmxp.com

Skating

Music City Mall Ice Rink twirls with refreshments and classes. The venue makes any party a slide on the ice. www.musiccitymall.net/mcm_ice.php

Spraygrounds

The latest entry in Odessa’s parks and recreation ecosystem is the Junior League Jurassic Jungle Sprayground at UTPB Park, where children splash among dinosaurs. The jungle of water, which opened in July, is filled with spraying, dumping, sliding and cascading water features. McKinney Park is another sprayground with a very cool splash tower that looks like an old oil derrick. Both are free. www.odessatxparks.org/facilities-parks/

Stonehenge Replica

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s campus features a reproduction of prehistoric Stonehenge, the iconic, enigmatic ring of stones that stand in southwestern England. Odessa’s set piece of about 20 stones draws visitors from all over. www.utpb.edu