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Photo courtesy of UT Jackson School of Geosciences

The legend of a treasured gas station chain continues with a new chapter: a rediscovered beaver fossil is being named after Buc-ee’s.

The ancient animal was named Anchitheriomys buceei (A. buceei) by Steve May, a research associate at the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences and lead author of the Palaeontologia Electronica paper that describes the beaver.

A. buceei fossils were rediscovered by researchers in UT Austin’s collections and include fossils from six different Texas sites. May decided to name A. buceei after Buc-ee’s upon spotting a “This is Beaver Country” billboard in 2020 that reminded him of the fossils he was studying at the time.

Though Buc-ee’s was founded in 1982, CEO Arch “Beaver” Alpin III said in a press release that his business’ history is longer than he thought, and that he may “need to rethink [their] beginnings.”

Occurrences of A. buceei can be found between 15 and 22 million years ago along the state’s Gulf Coast. At first glance, they don’t appear much different from current native Texas beavers. But according to the report’s co-author Matthew Brown, who is also the director of the Jackson School’s vertebrate paleontology collections, they are nearly 30 percent bigger than today’s beavers.

A partial skull fossil of the beaver was originally collected in 1941 by paleontologists. One of the original finders was Texas A&M University museum curator Curtis Hesse, who passed away four years later before he could name it a new species and publish his study.

More information about A. buceei can be found on UT Austin’s website.

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Dallas-Fort Worth arrives at surprising spot among top summer travel destinations

SUMMERTIME blues

Dallas-Fort Worth recently racked up more than a dozen accolades at the 2023 Texas Travel Awards. But a new survey reveals it's not necessarily such a hot travel destination this summer.

DFW comes in at a middle-of-the-road No. 45 in WalletHub's recent 2023 Best Summer Travel Destinations report.

The report compared 100 of the largest metro areas in America across 41 metrics, including number of attractions.

DFW scored an overall rating of 52.56 out of 100. Broken down by category, the Metroplex ranked 86th in "Travel Costs & Hassles;" 32nd in "Local Costs;" 20th in "Attractions;" 41st in "Weather;" 27th in "Activities;" and 50th in "Safety."

Taking the top spot in Texas was San Antonio, at No. 11, with Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown at No. 14. Behind Austin and San Antonio in the 2023 rankings is El Paso (No. 18), then Houston (No. 38). After 45th ranked DFW came Corpus Christi (No. 62), and McAllen (No. 86).

Dr. Susan Weidmann, assistant professor in the department of recreational management and physical education at Appalachian State University, said in the report that summer 2023 is going to be a “good season for travel” despite recent economic downturns that have many worried about a recession.

“Coming out of Covid, I think many people have taken these last few years to really evaluate what they want out of life, and for those that love travel, I think they have probably put it at the top of their list of things to do,” she said. “As far as economics are concerned, many may have saved their traveling money from the last multiple years, so will have money to spend. That being said, after the airline chaos of last year, many people may be thinking about domestic travel over the long-haul, just to alleviate many of the concerns that airlines, especially in Europe, are still grappling with, such as reduced staffing leading to flight cancellations.”

Weidmann predicts the time period between July and early August will be the most popular season for National Parks, like Texas’ Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains.

Despite none of them being in Texas, the top 10 destinations in WalletHub’s report are all popular cities worth a glance in sun-friendly states like Hawaii, New York, and Florida.

The top 10 best summer destinations are:

  • No. 1 – Atlanta
  • No. 2 – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • No. 3 – Washington, D.C.
  • No. 4 – Wichita, Kansas
  • No. 5 – New York City
  • No. 6 – Chicago
  • No. 7 – Tampa, Florida
  • No. 8 – Orlando, Florida
  • No. 9 – Richmond, Virginia
  • No. 10 – Springfield, Missouri

Score a hole in one at these 10 top public golf courses in Dallas-Fort Worth

Tee Time

North Texas recently popped the cork for the new $520 million Omni PGA Frisco Resort, which opened in May and features its own entertainment district, full-service spa and salon, four swimming pools, 500 guest rooms and suites, 10 private ranch houses, and 13 unique dining options.

But as the name hints, the resort is very much about the golf. With Father's Day around the corner, we're revisiting Dallas-Fort Worth's best public courses, including the two newest ones found in Frisco and their alternative ways to play.

Load up the clubs and hit the green with this list:

Fields Ranch
Frisco
Omni PGA Frisco Resort boasts two 18-hole championship golf courses, collectively known as Fields Ranch. Fields Ranch East was designed by Gil Hanse, and Fields Ranch West by Beau Welling.

Registered hotel guests can book tee times 120 days in advance of their stay to play Fields Ranch, which will be home to 26 major championships starting in May and continuing through 2034.

Not ready for the full 18-hole experience? Take a few practice swings at the Fields Ranch Practice Facility, then head to The Swing, a lighted 10-hole, par-3 short course, or The Dance Floor, a two-acre putting course and entertainment area.

This will also be the site of Frisco's first Lounge by Topgolf and PGA of America's new headquarters.

Take advantage of all that expertise at the PGA Coaching Center, which offers a high-tech, data-driven club-fitting and instruction experience.

Cowboys Golf Club
Grapevine
If you're a die-hard fan of both the 'Boys and the links, here's where your passions combine. The par-72, 6,553-yard course is as swanky as you'd expect from Jerry Jones, with years of Cowboys history scattered throughout. Of course, with all this top-of-the-line design comes a rather hefty price tag for the green fees, but you do definitely get your money's worth.

Meadowbrook Golf Course
Fort Worth
The 18-hole regulation facility is considered one of the top in Texas, with a par 71 that covers the most rolling terrain in the city. It's also a popular course, with a golf association of more than 200 members who play regularly.

Stevens Park Golf Course
Oak Cliff
All 18 holes of this par-70 course were completely redesigned in 2011, including new tee boxes, fairways, greens, and bunkers. Even the carts boast newly installed TekGPS units that track yardages to the front, middle, and back of the green (and help keep play moving). Appreciate mature oaks, dramatic elevation changes, and great views of downtown Dallas while you traverse the course, which is also affectionately known as "Little Augusta."

Pecan Valley
Fort Worth
Originally designed by golf course architect Ralph Plummer in 1963, Pecan Valley is actually two 18-hole golf courses separated by the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. The "River" course is considered one of the top municipal courses in Texas, while the "Hills" course is approximately 150 yards shorter. Several hundred trees were semi-recently planted and are just beginning to mature, which only bodes well for playing conditions in the years to come.

Texas Star Golf Course
Euless
The accolades come rolling in for this course, which has been recognized for its beauty and serene atmosphere by Golf Digest and Golf Weekly, among others. Unlike most public courses, which back up to private homes or run along busy streets, this par-71, 6,529-yard course is truly secluded, surrounded only by ponds, waterfalls, woodlands, and fairways. Reasonable green fees are a bonus, with residents of Euless receiving a 15 percent discount with proof of residence.

Tierra Verde Golf Club
Arlington
As the first municipal course in the world to be certified as an Audubon Signature Sanctuary, Tierra Verde offers breathtaking natural scenery to go along with its challenging holes. The par-72 6,085-yard layout boasts some of the most uniquely designed holes in DFW, and was named the top course in DFW in 2012 by Avid Golfer.

The Tribute Golf Club
The Colony
Not had the chance to play Hogan's Alley at Carnoustie, Nos. 1 and 18 from St. Andrews, or the fifth from Royal Troon? Then you can experience the next best thing here in Texas, without having to fly across the pond. This par-72, 7,000-yard course is brilliantly designed while replicating the best links-style courses from the United Kingdom.

Waterchase Golf Club
Fort Worth
Like its name implies, Waterchase does indeed boast a cascading waterfall, found between the ninth and eighteenth greens. From tree-lined doglegs to split fairways, the risk and reward opportunities are abundant for the six sets of tees on the par-72 course. The club even received a nomination to Golf Digest's best new courses and promises to be "a round you'll remember."

Dallas steakhouse famous for big carrot opens location in McKinney

Steak News

McKinney gets its own location of an epic Dallas steakhouse: We're talking about Bob's Steak & Chop House, which is opening a location in District 121, the mixed-use development at the northeast corner of State Highway 121 and Alma Road, adjacent to Craig Ranch. It's opening on June 2.

According to a release, the expansion to McKinney represents a milestone for founder Bob Sambol, with roots that trace back to the original location on Lemmon Avenue since its inception in 1993.

The concept now has locations in Austin, downtown Dallas, Plano, Grapevine, and San Antonio, among others.

The McKinney location will have the same menu of steaks accompanied by baked potato and the restaurant's signature oversized carrot, plus a la carte sides, desserts, and seafood, as well.

The interior features a dining and bar area and cigar lounge done in jewel tones, and attentive staff, leather-bound host stand, custom green wallcovering, floor-to-ceiling fireplace made of calacatta marble, and sconces that resemble jewelry, which are said to cast a gentle glow upon the bar.

The grand opening of Bob's Steak & Chop House in District 121 has been in the works for more than a year. The restaurant is but one of many that are opening at the McKinney complex. Others include Mi Cocina, Common Table, 400 Gradi, the upscale Italian restaurant with Neapolitan pizza, and Zero Gradi, the dessert offshoot of 400 Gradi.