History lives on just up the highway. From prehistoric finds to a chronicle of Lone Star law enforcement and more, visitors will uncover many treasures along the Brazos River in Waco.

Long before the city was founded in 1849, the Waco area was home to mammoths. In 1978, Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin found a large bone sticking out of a ravine near the Bosque River and took it to the Strecker Museum at Baylor University. The bone was that of a Columbian mammoth, and further excavation at the site uncovered the fossilized remains of 16 such creatures. Six more have been uncovered since. See these bones and more at the Waco Mammoth Site, Mayborn Museum Complex.

A little closer to modern times came the American West and the Texas Rangers. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum (www.texasranger.org) brings to life both the legend and modern-day reality of the prestigious law enforcement group. Tours here delve into Texas history, government, crime investigation, public safety, geography and more, all designed to meet state requirements for all grade levels. In fact, the new education center includes a classroom setting, making a visit the perfect spot for a field trip or a family outing.

Moving on from badges to bubbles … Waco is the home of the Dr Pepper Museum, which pays homage to the 27-flavored delight that inspires fierce loyalty not just in Texas but around the globe. More than 1 million visitors have enjoyed learning about the soda’s history and, through that history, the free enterprise economic system. See which spokespeople (and spokespups!) the company has used since the 1930s, check out an early bottling system and learn about Dr. Charles Alderton, who invented the drink.

Other places to visit during your Waco stay include the Historic Suspension Bridge, which became an important part of the legendary Chisholm Trail, and Homestead Heritage, which showcases a simpler, hand-crafted life in the early 1800s.

Pop culture fans will want to stop in to the Elite Café, where Elvis frequently dined while stationed at nearby Fort Hood in the 1950s.