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Fun Facts and Famous Landmarks in Dallas

Think you know the Dallas, Texas area? Check out these fun facts that make the Big D distinctive.

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Photo: Kevin Brown / State Fair of Texas®

Large and in Charge

Big Tex has been greeting visitors to the State Fair of Texas since 1952 and, at a whopping 55 feet tall, he’s the world’s largest cowboy. But, like many Dallas residents, he’s actually a transplant and he wasn’t always a cowboy. His former vocation was in another Texas town as a promotional Santa Claus. With a little "plaster" surgery and a new wardrobe, Big Tex was born. If you’re curious, those are real Dickies he’s wearing: jeans 434 x 240 (waist x inseam). Lucchese-branded boots a mere size 96. Big Tex got his AARP card in 2002 during a 50th birthday party but he doesn’t seem motivated to hang up his 95-gallon hat anytime soon.

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Photo: James D. Smith / Dallas Cowboys / VisitDallas

Football Time in Texas

We all know the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys are a big football team, but did you know that the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium is the world’s largest domed structure? How big is it, you ask? Big enough that the entire Statue of Liberty could fit into it—with the domed roof closed. Up the street, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is the second-largest airport in the U.S. and the fourth busiest in the world. With its own ZIP code and measuring almost 27 square miles, it could hold the island of Manhattan inside. Note: A favorite Dallas pastime appears to be pointing out which New York attractions could reside within Dallas landmarks.

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Photo: VisitDallas

Wow-Worthy Christmas Tree

During the holidays, the U.S.’s largest indoor Christmas tree can be ogled at Galleria Dallas shopping center. At four stories tall and weighing as much as 10 cars, this tree is substantial. Its 100-pound, 10-foot-high star is rivaled only by Galleria’s neighboring 12-foot-tall handcrafted menorah.

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Photo: Everett Historical / Shutterstock

Big D = Big Discoveries

When Jack Kilby got into the game, computers were enormous—taking up entire rooms and using thousands of vacuum tubes, consuming hundreds of kilowatts of power. By 1958, Kilby had gotten his master’s degree in electrical engineering and was obsessed with miniaturizing electronic components. He moved to Dallas for a job with Texas Instruments (TI) because the company would allow him to work on his passion full-time. The payoff was the integrated circuit (aka microchip). Called an "integrated circuit" because it incorporates into one thin chip the traditionally separate components of transistors, resistors and capacitors, the tiny microchip was a monumental innovation, forming the basis for all modern microelectronics. Kilby was a prolific inventor, securing more than 60 patents in his lifetime, including for the thermal printer and personal calculator with TI colleagues. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his work on the integrated circuit—the biggest little invention of his career.

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