We were one weekend shy of the annual rose festival, which meant we got all the roses with none of the crowds. In the early morning sunshine, the Rose Gardens unfolded quietly and beautifully before us. Paths curled around small splashing fountains and stretched luxuriously through lines of scented petals. There were roses of every size and colour, from delicate lilac to candy-striped pink and white, and plenty of other plants as well.
From nature to science: we spent the afternoon at the Discovery Science Center, equally marvellous in its own way. No sweeps of plate glass and polished steel, no 3D interactive computer displays here. The building was unassuming brick and most of the exhibits looked like they had been put together on a shoe-string - a pile of bolts and washers there, a line of golf balls and a stack of dominoes - and yet it had all been done with so much thought and imagination. We rolled balls down slopes, explored a cave and dug for fossils in a heap of shredded tyres, presented a cooking show, and went shopping in a mini grocery store.
Reluctantly we dragged ourselves and Toby away when they closed at 5, and consoled ourselves with a sweet treat at Andy's Frozen Custard.
Tyler town square is pretty typical of its kind, although with fountains and roses in the centre instead of a turreted courthouse. We can recommend the Mexican food at Don Juan's on the Square, and the decor will certainly wake you up!
On our final day we returned to nature with a visit to Tyler State Park. The day didn't start well, as we tried to drag a hungry cranky kid in a pushchair over a steep bumpy path, but peace was restored with a picnic and a playground. Then we had the inspired idea of renting a pedal boat. At first we weren't at all sure whether Toby would a) wear a life jacket and b) stay in the boat, but he proved amazingly amenable to both. We had a very pleasant pedal round the lake.
And we finished the trip with a stop at Fuzzy's Taco Shop. Fork fight!