A Dr. Pepper fan’s dream: Visiting the Dr. Pepper museum

After we finished our trip to Magnolia Market and getting a ton of photos there we realized we were not quite ready to drive back home yet, so we looked up other things to do in Waco. Side note – there really are not a ton of things to do in Waco other than visit Magnolia Market. However, we found out that there is a Dr. Pepper museum in town. Dr. Pepper is my husband’s favorite soda. When we first met I could not stand the taste of it, but after five years of marriage I’ve gotten to the point where I really don’t think it’s that bad. In fact, some times I even semi-like it. We both decided it would be fun to explore and we were definitely right! This is a little gem of a museum hidden only a couple blocks away from Magnolia Market. If you make the trip to Waco, I would definitely recommend checking this out too.

Dr Pepper museum in Waco Texas

When drove up to the museum and were impressed by how large it was. It’s comprised of two fairly large buildings with a huge courtyard in the middle. The courtyard even had an old Dr. Pepper delivery vehicle in it. Of course, you’re not permitted to climb on the truck, but it was really unique to see what used to be used to delivery sodas. We walked around the courtyard and took a few photos before we decided to go inside.

 

We entered the museum and I was immediately impressed. It’s not every museum that has put such attention to detail into some of the rooms you walk through. One of the first rooms is decorated to look like an old shop that would sell the earliest version of Dr. Pepper. both outside and inside. The room also has an animatronic staff person from the shop who speaks details related to shops and Dr. Pepper. It was fairly interesting and incredibly neat to look through. It really reminded me of what some of my parents or grandparents might have experienced in their youth.

In another part of the museum they had the complete scene of what a store selling Dr. Pepper would have looked like, as well as a bunch of the old Dr. Pepper vending machines. For all you Marvel nerds out there – they have the vending machine used in a Thor commercial. In the commercial Thor smashes the vending machine trying to get to a Dr. Pepper. The machine that was smashed is now housed in the museum. It was really awesome to see because I do remember watching that a few years ago when it first came out.

After walking through this area we stumbled into a history of Dr. Pepper leadership, including the Hall of Dr. Pepper Presidents. For the most part, this sort of thing isn’t really for me, however, I was really intrigued by the story of W.W. Clements. He used to have a container on his desk that held marbles. Not just any old marbles, but ones with the Golden Rule inscribed on them. He would share these with everyone in the company, and other CEOs he’d meet with. It was his leadership philosophy. I know there are a variety of leadership styles and philosophies out there, but I really enjoyed that the museum spent so much time on this detail. It really connected with me and made my day.

W W Clements office at Dr. Pepper museum

As we continued wandering through the museum we found an auditorium that played a bunch of the old Dr. Pepper commercials. We watched a few of them and found that we even remembered some of them. How cool is that? It really brought back memories of watching TV when I was little. After walking around this area we went to the other building where they keep machinery that used to bottle Dr. Peppers. It was interesting to see all the moving pieces and know that this is how they used to actually do this. This area was really set up for kids. They had much more interactive areas and even a little car race. Of course I made my husband try it with me. Maddie’s car won the race.

We enjoyed that this area not only had interactive exhibits, but they did live demonstrations every hour or two. Had we stayed longer we would have watched one. Unfortunately, baby Maddie had reached her limit so we headed home. This section of the museum also had an actual Dr. Pepper shop where you could buy Dr. Pepper floats, ice cream, sodas, and more. The staff were very friendly and helpful and they had cute keepsakes you could pick up if you wanted to. I was really pumped to see they sold marbles with the Golden Rule on them, just like in W.W. Clements office. It made me want to start my own collection so I could share them with others just like he did.

At the end of our trip James and I both said we were glad we stopped into this museum. Not only do I have a greater understanding of the evolution of sodas over the years, but it was an interesting history lesson in marketing and machinery, as well. If you make the trip to Waco I would absolutely tell you to stop by the museum before you leave. You won’t regret it.

What’s your favorite soda? Are you a Dr. Pepper fan?

Tips and tricks to plan your trip to Magnolia Market

When we first started looking into moving to Texas I immediately searched to see how far the Dallas/Fort Worth area was from Waco. My husband asked why and I told him ‘To see Chip and Joanna Gaines’s store Magnolia Market, of course. I mean, why else would you go to Waco?? Fast forward to our first month in Texas and my husband suggested we celebrate our five year anniversary by visiting Magnolia Market. He knows me so well. We really enjoyed our visit to see everything and we learned some things that we would change if we have to do it again, but, lucky you! You can learn from our discoveries and make your trip even more enjoyable.

Tips and tricks to plan your trip to Magnolia Market

Parking can be difficult.
The lot for the actual market was already full when we arrived, so we parked on a side street. A church nearby was offering parking for $10, as well. I would imagine by later in the day that lot would be full, too. The spot we found was only about a block and a half away, but would be difficult if you or a member of your group could not walk easily. There is little to no shade on the walk, so if you’re a slow walker be prepared to sweat a bit getting to the market.

Be prepared for crowds and lines everywhere.
I knew it would be crowded, but I did not anticipate the level of crowded we encountered. We arrived about 30 minutes after opening on a Saturday and the line for the bakery was out the door and about 50 people deep. By the time we left the line just to enter the market was over 20 people deep. My husband and I walked through the shop with our stroller and have a very difficult time even moving because of how thick the crowd was. This would have been easier without the stroller, but I did not want to try to keep the baby’s hands to herself. There was way too many breakable objects she would try to grab if we were holding her.

The food trucks were no different. We did not stay through lunch, but I’m sure they have lines at those times, too. The coffee truck that was open in the morning also had an out the door line. It smelled wonderful, but I was not willing to wait to get my caffeine fix.

The actual market is smaller than I envisioned and incredibly crowded. Be prepared to bump into people all over the place.
The market is incredibly Joanna. It’s definitely her style and very well laid out in terms of design. However, the flow of traffic is slow and cramped. There is an elevator available, if needed, and we enjoyed taking it because it was the least crowded place in the market. Both levels have clever descriptions of shopping areas, like ‘Chip’s Corner’ filled with t-shirts boasting ‘#demoday’ on them or kitchen areas filled with all sorts of items to cook and bake with. It’s fun to browse and check out no matter where you are in the market.

Inside Magnolia Market from HGTV Fixer Upper

The staff is beyond helpful and incredibly nice.
The minute we walked up the ramp we were greeted by a staff member who welcomed us and told us exactly where the elevator was, if we needed it. I am so glad she did because I’m not sure we would have found it otherwise. As I was checking out the staff was above and beyond nice. I also enjoyed that staff member’s name tags listed their hometowns. It was great to see such diversity in locations, rather than just all Texas natives.

Sign the guestbook and leave a memory.
I noticed this on the way out of the market and signed it. I’m not sure what’s done with them, but it’s great to know that it’s there. I always like signing guest books. Maybe the Gaines’s will read it. Maybe in 10 years Maddie can come back and sign it for herself. Maybe it’ll just be a great memory for me. Any way I look at it, it’s a cool thing to do.

You can ship items home from the store!
If you’re traveling from a distance it’s good to know you can ship anything home from the market. They have an entire counter dedicated to wrapping and packaging for you. Since we drove, we did not need to utilize this, but it is incredibly nice if you don’t have space for something.

If you’re traveling with an infant there is a changing table in the outside handicapped stall, only in the women’s restroom.
I admit it, I was worried about this. I’ve changed Madison on a variety of bathroom floors and was worried this would be another time we’d have to do that. Luckily, it was not. My husband told me there was no changing station on the guy’s side, but at least the women’s had one. The line for these restrooms was long, so if your little one has a bad accident, it might not be worth the wait. There are port-a-potties more easy to get into, but we really needed the table.

Remember your sunscreen, water, and possibly umbrella.
It does get pretty hot in Texas in the summer and quite a bit of the grounds is not covered by any shade. I would definitely recommend sunscreen if you’re staying for any length of time. They do sell ice cold water bottles at every food truck, but I prefer to bring my own water bottle. It’s more sustainable and I don’t have to wait in line for it. Depending on the weather the day you visit, you may need an umbrella. I cannot imagine standing in line in a Texas sized downpour without one.

Come hungry! There are so many food trucks.
So. Much. Food. I’m the sort of person who doesn’t get hungry when it’s hot outside, but everything looked delicious. We browsed the trucks, but did not get anything. We were still full from breakfast. Had I planned better I would have eaten much less so I could try some of the items. If you come early in the day know that most of the trucks do not open up until lunch time.

Food trucks at Magnolia Market from HGTV Fixer Upper

On certain evenings, they hold special movie nights outside.
We didn’t realize this when we were there, but we noticed a sign for it at a different place in Waco. Based on the times of movies, you’d have to be spending the night in Waco to go to one, but it would be quite a bit of fun to hang out with the family after hours and watch a drive in movie at the market.

Be prepared to stay as long as you want.
We only stayed about an hour due to a fussy baby, but we could have stayed all day. If we wanted to experience every piece of the market we probably would have. Between the bakery, market, photo opportunities, grassy (turf) area, swings, gardens, food trucks, picnic tables, and games there is more than enough to do to entertain you all day. The large grassy area has bean bag chairs for you to use and yard games like cornhole. The garden portion of the market includes details on all the plants and what you can use them for. If you come with a group every person can order from a different food truck and then have a potluck at the picnic tables. There are so many options to try!

Smile! There are a ton of great photo opportunities.
There are so many signs and scenes that I have seen watching the show that it was easy to get a ton of photos. Some of them are easy to find, but some are a little trickier. One even requires planning ahead. I’ll be posting later this week about all the photo opportunities you should not miss while you’re there.

Enjoy the time with family and friends.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the moment of shopping, photo taking, and hoping to see the Gaines’s to miss what’s right in front of you. Fixer Upper is so great because you can see the love Chip and Joanna share with each other and their family. When visiting, don’t forget that. Be sure to take some time to just enjoy the moment with your family and friends.

At the end of the day, I’d say my husband and I both had fun and enjoyed our trip to Magnolia Market. It was a fun five year anniversary trip and Madison seemed to enjoy the car ride and the people she met while she was there. I hope these tips and tricks will help you plan your trip, too!

 

Magnolia Market from HGTV Fixer Upper