George W. Bush Library and Museum Visitor Planning
Presidential libraries are not libraries in the traditional sense; rather, they act as an interactive memorial and historic record of past presidencies. They host special exhibits and programs for curious constituents and provide a glimpse inside the American presidency.
At the George Bush Library and Museum, you’ll experience the thrill of peeking behind the doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, admire the painstakingly replicated Oval Office, and get to act distinctly presidential in the interactive Decision Points Theater.
This guide will help you plan your visit, from finding parking and tickets to insider tips for making the most of your time there. Check out our George Bush Library ticket options to make experiencing history fun, easy, and affordable.
What You Need To Know About the George W. Bush Library to Plan a Trip
Officially opened in 2013, the George W. Bush Presidential Library is the 13th such library in the United States. Its sprawling grounds inside Southern Methodist University include a 15-acre urban park and 14,000-square-foot main gallery showcasing the principles President and Laura Bush hold dear: Freedom, Responsibility, Opportunity, and Compassion.
People of all ages are welcome, with plenty of artifacts and exhibits that will appeal to younger visitors, like the baseball bat signed by almost 50 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame or the amusing Barney Cam videos (starring the official White House dog of the 43rd president and his family).
Because the George Bush Library is a federal property, you’ll have to go through a metal detector to enter. Bags larger than 19" x 10" x 9" must be stored in the coat room for your entire visit. Also, be sure to bring a credit card if you’re planning on using the parking lot, as they don’t accept cash.
A visit to the George Bush Library is a perfect way to add a bit of history and heritage to your visit to the third-largest city in Texas. Dallas is full of history and fun activities, so don't let your exploration of Dallas end at the George Bush Library! There are many Dallas attractions that are just as monumental as the George Bush Library to American history that you should plan to visit during your Dallas trip.
George Bush Library Exhibits
The George Bush Library boasts multiple exhibits, both permanent and temporary. To help you plan your visit before you go, take a gander at the following:
Explore Native Parks
Adjacent to the George Bush Library is a 15-acre urban park filled with short trails that take you through a variety of habitats native to the region, including Cross Timbers Forest, Post Oak Savannah, and Blackland Prairie. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in Dallas’ natural beauty without straying too far from the metropolis.
There are guided tours offered in spring and fall, and tree-shaded spots perfect for picnicking. Depending on your tolerance for nature and the weather, you could be satisfied with a quick five-minute peek or spend an afternoon enjoying the great outdoors.
Learn About the Foundation of American Freedom
Prepare to be blown away by this massive 20-foot-tall, 360-degree LED screen playing a montage of multimedia featuring history, entertainment and art inside Freedom Hall. You’ll be transfixed by the mesmerizing clips, but it shouldn’t take more than ten minutes to get the full effect.
Experience Presidential Life in the Oval Office
Ever wanted to sit behind the famed Resolute Desk or closely examine the many historic paintings and sculptures tastefully exhibited around the office? Now’s your chance! The George W. Bush Library houses an exact replica of the Oval Office during his presidency -- right down to the bookcases. Visitors usually take around 10-15 minutes to explore this exhibit (more if you’re especially keen to examine the furniture and artwork in detail). Don’t forget to snap a photo behind the desk!
Experience Life in the White House
Put yourself in the shoes of the day-to-day doings of the President in the Life in the White House exhibit. You’ll get to watch a short film on Camp David and the Bush Ranch Texas in the “White House Theater” and laugh at the wild antics of Barney and Miss Beazley, the Bush family’s beloved Scottish Terriers. Regardless of your interest or leanings in politics, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the private life of the Bush family during their years in the White House. We recommend taking your time to enjoy this exhibit, so plan for at least 30 minutes.
Honor 9/11 Victims
September 11, 2001, is a date forever shrouded in pain for Americans. The Nation Under Attack exhibit pays respect to the thousands of brave men and women who perished that day. A comprehensive list of the victims covers one of the walls, along with a timeline of events leading up to the horrific attack.
You’ll see a twisted Trade Tower girder and the bullhorn President Bush used to address a shell-shocked crowd at Ground Zero -- somber reminders of a tragedy that will remain etched in the minds of Americans. You should allow for at least 25 minutes to pay your respects to the victims inside this moving exhibit.
George Bush Library Dining
Don’t let a pesky growling stomach interrupt your visit to the George Bush Library. There are two dining options for you if you’re feeling peckish: Café 43 or the casual Courtyard Café.
Have a Presidential meal at Cafe 43
Named in honor of the 43rd President of the United States, Café 43 is the perfect place for exquisitely prepared locally-sourced dishes that change with the seasons. Inspired plays on local favorites will tempt your palate, but take note that it closes at 3pm. Advance reservations are recommended during the weekend but are not required.
Grab a Bite at the Courtyard Café
If you’re seeking a quick bite to eat, the Courtyard Café has you covered. Bistro-style soups, sandwiches, breakfast items, and salads compose the offerings, and you can wash it all down with a hot cup of Starbucks coffee. It’s open from 9am until 4:30pm every day except Sunday, when it opens at 12pm.
George Bush Library Tickets
Discount tickets for the George Bush Library can be purchased through CityPASS, which also gives you a discount to other top Dallas attractions. You’ll save almost 40% over gate prices for four of the most popular Dallas tourist hotspots. Make your visit to Dallas one amazing experience by saving big with Dallas CityPASS tickets.