Dallas is truly a treasure trove of fun family activities. Having grown up in Dallas, I love being able to take my children to the places Lolli took me when I was their age…and there are so many new spots to explore now, too!
Photo by Dallas Arts District
PEROT MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE
Having just opened in 2012, the Perot Museum is a fabulous new addition to the Dallas community. The Perot features 12 expansive exhibition halls, diving into topics like engineering and innovation, gems and minerals, dinosaurs, Texas ecosystems, biology, and family sports. Here your kids can race a T-Rex, build a model skyscraper, and even test their wings with the Hall of Birds full body flight controller! Grab a bite to eat during a break at the Museum Café, or explore the interactive water feature outside. The Perot is a wonderful learning experience, great for kids (and parents) of all ages.
DALLAS WORLD AQUARIUM
The Dallas World Aquarium is one of the best aquariums in the country- and it is right in our own backyard! Anchored by a 3-story atrium filled with tropical birds, monkeys, and crocodiles, the Dallas World Aquarium houses hundreds of rainforest species. Walk through a shark tunnel, watch River Otters play, and see scuba divers feed manatees on any given day at the aquarium. Eat at one of the three cafes in the Dallas World Aquarium, or visit one of the many surrounding restaurants in downtown Dallas. The aquarium is nearly all enclosed, making it a great stop on a bad weather day!
GEPPETTO’S MARIONETTE THEATER
One of our family’s favorite hidden gems in Dallas is Geppetto’s Theater at the Hilton Anatole! Geppetto’s Theater hosts the artists of Le Theatre de Marionette for performances every weekend of classic shows including “Wizard of Oz,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” and “The Little Mermaid.” They also feature seasonal performances like “Spooky Strings Show” and “Winter Wonderland.” Geppetto’s Theater also hosts birthday parties where kids can interact with the puppets up close and after every performance, they let the audience peek backstage! Our littles love coming here, and it’s a great spot to beat the afternoon heat!
FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT MUSEUM
Learn about over 30 different aircrafts and watch airplanes take off at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field. The museum features several aircrafts that your family can walk through and explore, and it is home to the Apollo 7 spacecraft. It has a great gift shop, too! This is a unique stop in Dallas that our boys love for a quick weekend activity or on a rainy afternoon!
REUNION TOWER OBSERVATION DECK
I always loved getting to visit Reunion Tower when I was young! We would get all dressed up and ride the elevator up to the rotating restaurant. Recently, Reunion Tower added an indoor/outdoor observation deck with 360º views of Dallas, and a restaurant called Cloud Nine Café. With high-definition zoom cameras and interactive touchscreens, the whole family loves getting to explore Dallas from new heights! It’s amazing to see how the downtown landscape has changed over the decades and a view from above highlights all of the exciting development and growth happening in our city. Kids love trying to point out where their house is from a birds-eye view!
The Dallas Arboretum is always blooming, and the perfect place for families to visit! With extravagant pumpkin villages on display in the fall, to a fun concert series in the summer, springtime blooms, and exciting exhibitions year-round, the Dallas Arboretum is anything but boring. The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden hosts activities daily, and features The Texas Skywalk and First Adventure play area. “Mommy and Me Mondays” and “Tiny Tot Tuesdays” are fun family activities for the month of October that you won’t want to miss!
THE STAR TOUR
Tour the state-of-the art new Dallas Cowboys Headquarters in Frisco! Tour highlights include a visit to the Ford Center indoor athletic facility where the team practices, the Cowboy’s NFL Draft “War Room,” a Super Bowl memorabilia station, and the Nike Star Walk. The Star is also set to host dozens of restaurants, shopping venues, and other fun activities as development continues in the future. What a fun way to spend an afternoon!
COWBOYS STADIUM TOUR
Speaking of sports, a new Dallas icon is less than an hour from downtown. From Cowboys home games to concerts and charity events, “Jerry World” is worth the trip. With four different tours to choose from, there is something for every family at AT&T Stadium. Take the self-guided tour for the chance to run on the field, throw passes, and take photos on the 50-yard line! They also offer an art tour, highlighting the museum-quality contemporary art, which is a fun and educational opportunity for all ages.
NorthPark Center boasts its status as one of the very first indoor shopping malls in the world. Featuring luxury retail, kinetic sculptures, and dozens of dining options, NorthPark is a great spot to spend an afternoon. My kids especially love watching the ducks in the indoor ponds near Neiman Marcus and sliding down the large planters (We promise anyone raised in Dallas knows that these are really just meant to be toddler slides!). Come Christmas time, NorthPark transforms into a winter wonderland where your family can have the sweetest experience meeting Santa! And you won’t want to miss the NorthPark holiday train exhibit, with over 1600 feet of track, taking you coast to coast on a rail journey of the U.S.!
The Dallas Zoo is a favorite year-round, especially at Halloween! The week of Halloween, the zoo hosts Halloween Nights for kids of all ages. Trick-or-treat around the zoo at themed treat stations, play in bounce houses, and take photos with superhero characters. My boys get so excited that they can wear their Halloween costumes again for this event! The Dallas Zoo is recognized as one of the “Top Ten Zoos in the United States,” and has recently added several amazing exhibits including Giants of the Savannah, National Geographic Photo Tunnel, and Hippo Outpost.