As the sun retreats to the west over grasslands, rolling hills and sprawling valleys, and the colors of the sky melt into the Texas earth, you’ll get it. You’ll understand what makes Amarillo so special. Step into the real Texas. Amarillo’s creative core can be found downtown at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts. The world-class, 1,300-seat performing arts center is home to the opera, symphony and ballet, as well as special events and concerts. Amarillo Opera produces live, community-based opera for the Texas Panhandle. The Lone Star Ballet performs a season of shows each year, with an annual rendition of The Nutcracker in December, and hosts a local ballet academy. The Amarillo Symphony has been plucking the heartstrings of enthused audiences since 1924. The season spans seven full symphony performances, each featuring a guest artist. Further solidifying Amarillo as a cultural hub of the American Southwest, The Amarillo Museum of Art (AMoA) houses permanent and temporary exhibits that range from American photography to paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures. Everything is bigger in Texas (so we’ve been told), which is why it should come as no surprise that family fun in Amarillo is HUGE! The 15-acre Amarillo Zoo is located north of downtown. The zoo is home to exhibits containing more than 60 species of wildlife and is open seven days a week. After hanging out with lions, tigers and bears, catch all of the game time action of the Amarillo Bulls (hockey), Venom (arena football) and Sox (baseball). Spend summer nights aboard thrill rides such as the Texas Tornado, the Drop of Fear or Cyclone at Wonderland Amusement Park. Save money with offi cial coupons! From June through August, the widely attended outdoor musical drama “Texas” captivates audiences with the adventurous spirit of early Texas cowboys, pioneers and Native Americans. Each November, the Old West comes to life at the WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo. The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian presents Native American artwork, live dance and ceremonial performances, which offer visitors a glimpse into the unique cultures of numerous American Indian tribes. The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum tells the story of one of the world’s most popular breed of horse and the culture surrounding the majestic creatures. You might just find yourself humming the popular tune, and other American classics as you discover the nostalgic wonder of Amarillo. Catch the Route 66 Trolley Express on Sixth Avenue-Amarillo’s stretch of the Historic Route 66. Get inspired at Cadillac Ranchan iconic art installation that features ten classic Cadillacs sticking straight up out of the groundyou have to see it to believe it. Of course, no visit to Amarillo would be complete without a stop at Big Texan Steak Ranch, Brewery and Hotel. From the cuts of meat, to the cowboy on the sign, Big Texan is Amarillo to the bone. With rolling grassy hills and surprising red-rock canyons in close proximity to the city center, Amarillo is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Explore Palo Duro Canyon with Elkins Ranch Jeep Tours or see the canyon as cowboys and Native Americans did, on horseback with Old West Stables. Another way to enjoy the sun is to knock out 18 on the green at one of Amarillo’s area golf courses or take in Amarillo’s Texas charm from above, in a hot air balloon.