Abilene, a city located close to the geographic center of the state of Texas, is considered to be "the Future Great City of West Texas" and serves as the county seat for Taylor County. The county currently hosts a population of about 120,000 with 115,930 of them living in the city limits of Abilene. It is conveniently located adjacent to Interstate 20. Abilene was established in March, 1881 when the Texas and Pacific Railroad was finally completed.
Abilene is not fairly as big as other Texas cities, it could still offer many dining, lodging, shopping and cultural opportunities. The city is rapidly becoming recognized as a regional center for distribution, commerce, transportation, education and industry.
Through the years, Abilene has changed from being a cattle-shipping prairie township to a bustling metropolis with a thriving economy based on oil, agriculture, and military. The breadth of economic diversity that the city provides draws a lot of determined people. The city of Abilene solicits new businesses by providing tax incentives and a lot of opportunities.
The city of Abilene was the very first city within Texas to combat the 1980s oil bust by creating a half-cent sales tax to help fund economic development during the year 1986.
Abilene boasts numerous attractions, including: the Mesquite Hill Motocross, Abilene Skate Park, Abilene Speedway, Abilene Dragstrip, and the Ball Ranch. The city also provides several unique attractions, such as The Grace Museum, the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, 12 Armored Division Memorial Museum, the Center for Contemporary Arts, Prime Time family Entertainment Center, Paramount Theatre, Abilene Ballet Theatre, Cockerell Galleria and Studios, Abilene Community Bank, Abilene Community Theatre, Abilene Opera Association, Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Chorus Abilene, and the Amy Graves Ryan Little Theatre.
Other attractions inside the city limits, include the Abilene Zoo, the Dyess Visitor Center Memorial Park, the Buffalo Gap Historic Village, and Abilene State Park. In the city of Abilene there are over 25 parks which take up a total of about 1,246 acres.
The Abilene Zoo is home to a vast assortment of animals. There are quite a few hundred animals located within the facility. Throughout the year, the Zoo provides several summer programs and educational courses. They even have some special events which take place from time to time. Some of the newer attractions comprise a Black Rhino exhibit, a Southern American Maned Wolf Exhibit, and a cougar exhibit. The Elm Creek backyard area will house several animals like for example skunks, otters and armadillos that have been locally found.