The students of Amarillo receive their education from the exemplary schools of the Amarillo Independent School District. Home to four high schools, 12 middle schools (Bonham Middle School and Crockett Middle School are both National Blue Ribbon schools), and over 35 elementary schools, six of which are National Blue Ribbon schools, AISD provides their students with many diverse opportunities. Students may also attend the schools of Canyon Independent School District, Highland Park Independent School District, River Road Independent School District, Windham School District, Richard Milburn Academy School District, and Responsive Education Solutions School District. Amarillo is also home to 12 excellent and unique private schools.
Amarillo is in close proximity to some truly outstanding colleges and universities. West Texas A&M University, which is located in Canyon, TX, offers 60 bachelors and 43 master degree programs. Amarillo College, which is a 2-year public community college, is located in Amarillo and offers 160 programs of study.
Amarillo is considered to be the economic stronghold of the Texas panhandle and is as equally important to Eastern New Mexico and the Oklahoma panhandle. One of the biggest economic forces in Amarillo is the meatpacking industry where about one-quarter of the United States beef supply is handled. The city is also known for Pantex, the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly factory in the country, and for the V-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft assembly plant.
Amarillo still has a very strong agricultural culture and is known for the 14 million acres surrounding the city that grows corn, wheat, and cotton. Healthcare is also one of the major employers of Amarillo, as the city serves as the healthcare center for the region. A recent Milken Survey ranked Amarillo as the 17th Best Performing U.S. Small City out of 179 metro areas.
Amarillo has a wide array of wondrous attractions within the city and nearby. The city is particularly known for celebrating cowboy and Texas culture, which is reflected in the local community. During the third week of September, participants from New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas come to show off their wrangling skills in the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo, and during the month of November, the World Championship Ranch Rodeo is held at the Amarillo Civic Center.
Throughout the year, various equestrian events and rodeos are held at the Amarillo National Center. Year round, steak lovers can attempt to eat a 72-ounce beef steak in under an hour and not pay a dime for it at the Big Texan Steak Ranch.
In addition to its rodeo culture, Amarillo does have a significant arts culture as well. The Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts houses the Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Symphony, and the Lone Star Ballet, as well as hosts a number of plays and concerts throughout the year. Local philanthropist, artist, and prankster Stanley Marsh 3 has also graciously funded many public art projects, the most well-known being the Cadillac Ranch. The Cadillac Ranch is a monument of painted Cadillac automobiles that were dug into the ground head first. The Amarillo Museum of Art hosts rotating art exhibits, and the Don Harrington Discovery Center is an interactive science center and space theater that is ideal for families and curious minds alike.
Parks and Recreation
There are a number of natural attractions that are located just outside of Amarillo. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which is the second largest canyon after the Grand Canyon in the United States, is known for its distinct hoodoo that resembles a lighthouse. Another interesting landmark is the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, located about 30 miles outside the city. This unique site is known for where prehistoric beings once obtained flint in order to make tools and weapons.
In addition to its natural attractions, Amarillo is also known for its manmade ones. Wonderland Park is an excitement filled amusement park that was inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The theme park is home to a mini golf, an arcade, a wide variety of amusement park style rides such as bumper cars and roller coasters, water rides, and lots of food. Wonderland Park is housed inside Thompson Park, which also houses the local zoo.
Amarillo is home to two distinct golf courses, 60 parks, and a local recreational sports program. Since Amarillo has beautiful weather year round, citizens are able to enjoy delicious picnics and outdoor events all year long.