Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park | VISITOR CENTER

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park Visitor Center

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park Visitor Center

OPERATING HOURS

The Visitor Center for Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 AM to 4 PM. In addition to being closed on Mondays, it is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. However, times can always change, so before making travel plans be sure to get the latest schedule on the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the park.

AMENITIES

  • Information desk staffed by park Rangers where you can pick up a park brochure and a Battlefield Tour Guide
  • Museum
  • Park film
  • Book and souvenir store
  • Restrooms
Information desk and book store at the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park Visitor Center

Information desk and book store at the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park Visitor Center

PARK FILM

A 15-minute film about the Mexican-American war shows on demand in the Visitor Center theater. The film covers the events that led to the war as well as the war itself, with most of the focus being on the first battles that took place in the Brownsville, Texas, area before war was even officially declared: the skirmish at Rancho de Carricitos on April 25, 1846; the Siege of Fort Texas by the Mexican army starting on May 3rd; the Battle of Palo Alto on May 8th; and the Battle of Resaca de la Palma on May 9th. After losing the battles at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, the Mexicans abandoned the siege of Fort Texas and retreated back across the Rio Grande River into Mexico. The film is a great way to learn about the Mexican-American War and the battles that took place within what is now Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park. Be sure to watch it before heading out to the battlefields so that you have a better understanding of what you are looking at. There is no objectionable material, so the film is suitable for all ages.

MUSEUM

Palo Alto Battlefield Museum at the Palo Alto National Historical Park Visitor Center

Palo Alto Battlefield Museum at the Palo Alto National Historical Park Visitor Center

The exhibits at the Palo Alto Battlefield museum cover the roots of the dispute that led to the Mexican-American War, the military leaders on both sides, and the three battles that started the war, all of which occurred before politicians in Washington even got word that fighting had taken place. The United States officially declared war on May 13, 1846. Subsequent battles and the treaty that ended the war on February 2, 1848 (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo), are given brief mention.

Information panel about the Mexican-American War at the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park Visitor Center

Information panel about the Mexican-American War at the Palo Alto Battlefield Visitor Center

The museum is largely comprised of information panels, though there is an exhibit of items found on the Palo Alto battlefield and a display case of guns, swords, and artillery shells in use during the mid-1800s. Most of the information is a rehash of the park film, so if you saw it, you don’t need to spend a lot of time at the museum. If you would like to read through all the information, it takes about 25 minutes to do so. All exhibits are in the English and Spanish languages.

Display case of items found on the Palo Alto battlefield in Brownsville, Texas

Display case of items found on the Palo Alto battlefield in Brownsville, Texas

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Plan to spend up to 45 minutes at the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park’s Visitor Center watching the park film, browsing the museum exhibits, and talking with a park Ranger about what there is to see and do at the park.

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Last updated on June 23, 2022
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