What comes to mind when you think about Abilene? I think of a city that loves its air force base, a faith-based city with lots of churches, Christian universities, awesome charities, and a great school system. I also think Abilene is well-known for its culture in the arts; we are the official Storybook Capital of America after all.

After witnessing how well our area nonprofits did during this year's Abilene Gives, I began to wonder "what is Abilene known for?" So I came up with this list:

"What is Abilene Texas known for?"

1. Dyess Air Force Base: Located on Abilene's southwest side of town, Dyess is a major employer in the Big Country and contributes a lot to our local economy.

2. Three Christian Universities: Our private Christian universities - Abilene Christian, Hardin-Simmons, and McMurry - are exceptional educational institutions. They offer undergraduate and graduate programs and have a noticeable presence in our community.

3. Abilene Zoo: The Abilene Zoo is a popular attraction for families and nature enthusiasts throughout Texas. It has a wide range of animals from around the world, and offers educational programs and events.

4. The Grace Museum: In an historic building in downtown Abilene, The Grace hosts art exhibitions, historical displays, and educational programs. It also houses artwork and artifacts associated with Texas and regional history.

5. Frontier Texas!: An interactive museum showcasing the history and heritage of the American West, Frontier Texas! mainly focuses on the frontier era right here in west Texas.

6. Western Heritage Classic: The largest ranch rodeo in America is held right here in Abilene. Celebrating the western heritage lifestyle, the event includes rodeos, horse shows, chuckwagon cook-offs, cowboy poetry, and more.

7. West Texas Fair & Rodeo: This annual event has agricultural exhibits, livestock shows, carnival rides, live entertainment, and a rodeo.

So the next time someone asks "what is Abilene known for?" just share this list, and tell them our community has a rich history with a lot to offer its residents and visitors.

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