Parker’s Southfork Ranch is experiencing something of a touristic renaissance since the remake of Dallas hit the small screen earlier this month.
The Dallas Morning News ’s Wendy Hundley reported on the resurgence in interest in the 324-acre ranch, writing “Since the Ewings returned to the small screen two weeks ago, Southfork Ranch has struck a gusher — in tourism.”
Visits during the work week to Southfork have tripled and on weekends the ranch is seeing up to four hundred visitors a day. The appetite for Dallas memorabilia has been so high that the ranch management is considering opening an online store.
“People have a newfound interest in seeing the house because it’s such a huge part of the plotline,” said Janna Timm, regional director of sales for the company that manages the property, Forever Resorts. “It’s almost like a character in the show.”
USA Today ’s Laura Bly described what’s on offer at the ranch:
Outside, you’ll find the same white fences and yellow awnings that grace both the original and re-imagined series. Inside, the mansion has been gussied up with themed bedrooms; gift shops specialize in Dallas-themed memorabilia and Western wear (sequined cowboy jackets with shoulder pads, perhaps?) and displays feature patriarch Jock Ewing’s 1978 Lincoln Continental and the gun that shot J.R. (His Stetson hat, meanwhile, is enshrined in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s contemporary Americana exhibit.)
Hundley also delves into the history of the $5 million ranch, which was founded as a horse farm in 1970. It changed hands several time, and began welcoming the public in 1985.
In late May, Helen Anders, holding that only exterior shots were ever filmed at the Southfork Ranch, compiled a list in the Austin American-Statesman of the other places Dallas tourists should visit, including the Omni Hotel, Reuinion Tower, Dallas Fair Park, and the Zodiac on the sixth floor of the downtown Neiman Marcus.
Anders ceded that the ranch, however, could also be a draw for tourists:
I suppose you’ll want to drive up to Southfork Ranch, where exteriors (not interiors) were again used for this new ‘Dallas.’ Since 1985, it’s been nothing but a tourist attraction and event venue. … I’ll be honest: Almost nobody who lives in the Dallas area does this, and if you mention wanting to, most locals will roll their eyes. So if you really want to tour Southfork, sneak out there, do it and don’t tell anybody local.