South Fork Ranch

Monday, March 21, 2005

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See more South Fork pictures here!

I'm staying in Dallas again this week to attend a training class. We are staying in Plano in a hotel called the Southfork Hotel which is affiliated with the South Fork Ranch made famous by the hit TV show Dallas from the 80's. So we thought we would tour the ranch. Pretty cool. The ranch is north east of Dallas in Parker, Texas.

If you are interesting in looking at every single picture I took while touring the ranch, follow this link to a page with thumbnail pictures and links of all the pictures - Picture Index .

Click on image for larger format picture.  South Fork Ranch/03/25/2005/2069

South Fork Ranch Visitors Center and Gift Shop

Your first stop on your tour of the South Fork Ranch will be the Visitors Center and Gift Shop (shown above). Tour tickets can be purchased in the gift shop. The gift shop has cute trinkets with either a Dallas TV show theme or a Texas is larger than life type theme. The display at right is of less common type keepsakes. I bought Linda a mouse pad with an imprint of the ranch house on it. As far as these types of gift shops go, this one was nice and the prices were reasonable.

The visitor center also includes a small museum. The museum does a good job of capturing the essence of the Dallas TV show craze. The first room of the museum has the show name in neon and director chairs for all of the important cast members.

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Who Shot J. R.?

They have the prop gun used in the shooting of J. R. episode on display (above left). The picture on the right is cute - J. R.'s picture is full of holes (above right). The museum also has some displays depicting the fictional life of the ranch (shown below left).

We were in the last public tour group of the day. A private tour group had arrived as we were leaving. They were going to have a barbeque over at the ranch house. As the private group was working their way through the gift shop, the evenings entertainment was showing up. One of the cowboy poet/singers was playing a song in the museum (below right). A girl from our group looks on.

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Out behind the Tourist Center and gift shop is where the tour starts. The tour guide invites the guests to board the tram which is pulled by a John Deere tractor. Our group was pretty small (above right).

Ewing Oil Office

The tram doesn't go very far. The ranch attractions are very close together. The tram goes by the Ewing Oil Office (below left). We also passed by a number of barns, stables, small pastures (with long horn cattle) and other attractions. The ranch is extremely clean and park like. There are a number of tree lined streets or drive ways. Some, like the one below, lead out to a gate on the highway.

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Click on image for larger format picture.  South Fork Ranch/03/25/2005/2105

Lincolns and Longhorns

One of the tour stops is at a gift shop called Lincolns and Longhorns. Inside the gift shop is Jock Ewing's Lincoln from the television show (below left). The gift shop has a pretty nice collection of cowboy hats. A young girl tries on a hat and is moved to dance to her own internal beat.

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The South Fork Ranch House

The ranch house is what everyone really comes to see (above and below left). Tour guides lead guests into the house through the back door (right).

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As soon as tours enter the ranch house, guests are directed to the living room. Another guide takes over to tell the ranch's history. The story is an interesting one that weaves real life into the imaginary television show fantasy. Guests are captivated by this intertwined history (above right).

After the docent finished his story and guests have asked all the questions they can think of, the guests are invited to explore the house. One of the first things guests notice on entering the home is the formal dining room.

The kitchen is between the dining room and living room (below right). The day I was there, workers were preparing for a private tour and barbeque party. All of the people working at the ranch were especially nice. I gave the ladies my web site address and promised to have their pictures on the internet in a couple of days.

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Throughout the house are little scenes from the TV show. The crystal decanters (above left) are one example. How many times did Bobby or J. R. pour themselves a drink.

I just like the picture of our tour guide I took from the balcony in the front entry way (above right).

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Bedrooms

Upstairs in the house are the bedrooms decorated as they were for the TV show (above left and right and below). I forget which bedroom goes with which character (except J. R. below left and right).

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J. R.'s Master Bedroom and Bathroom

Not only is J. R.'s bedroom over the top (above left and right), the master bathroom is very fancy. The vanity (not shown) is the largest I had ever seen in a bathroom. The tub area (below left) is a room filled with mirrors and lounges. The shower (below right) has two heads and controls. All marble tile.

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Click on image for larger format picture.  South Fork Ranch/03/25/2005/2152

Swimming Pool

Almost every Dallas episode had shots of the swimming pool (below left). Standing next to it, it seems smaller in real life than on the television show. In our tour group, the guests rattled on about the pool as the tram returned them to the visitor center. It must have made quite an impression. Below right, a tour guest takes a picture of the pool.

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Dallas Worldwide

The Dallas TV show has been shown in some extraordinarily large number of countries (I forget the number but am still impressed). Do folks outside North America see America and Texas through the Dallas TV show lens?

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Copyright © 2005 Larry Pearson - All Rights Reserved