Top Things to Do in Dallas with Kids
If you are traveling to Texas, a visit to Dallas, the ninth biggest city in America is a must. Full of surprises, the city is chilled, fun, exciting, and sophisticated in equal measures. It’s culturally diverse, with many religions and cultures all calling the city home and this is apparent in the music, food, and arts scene. For art lovers, the Art District offers beautiful galleries and architecture, and if you are a sports fan then you are in for a treat. Dallas is officially the only Southwest city that can boast 5 professional sports teams and the Dallas Cowboys are known around the world. There is also ample entertainment for history lovers with some fantastic museums and for those who just want to shop until they drop, the shopping is excellent.
If you’re visiting with the family, then you’ll be seeking out kid-friendly attractions. We have chosen our absolute favorite 8 things to do with your family in Dallas.
1. Dallas Zoo
For an alternative day out why not visit Dallas zoo! Home to around 8,000 animals, the zoo is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm. The zoo features a large variety of different wildlife and the ‘Wilds of Africa’ exhibit is definitely worth checking out.
Admission is not too expensive at $12 for adult entrance tickets and for children aged 3-11 a ticket costs $9. Check out the ‘Giants of the Savannah’ exhibit where giant feeding platforms mean you can actually feed the giraffes which children will absolutely love.
Getting the monorail around the zoo is a great idea if little feet are tired – this costs $3 a ticket but is worthwhile as the zoo covers over 106 acres and it is the largest zoo in the state of Texas! Make sure you check out the huge giant giraffe sculpture as you enter the park – not that you can miss it at 67ft tall!
Dallas Zoo, 650 RL Thornton Freeway
2. Frontiers of Flight Museum
Founded in 1988 and situated southeast of Love Field, this fun museum is great if you are traveling with children (or are just interested in cool things that fly!). Featuring many life-size airplanes, helicopters, and varying displays, there is something for everyone to enjoy as well as several spacecraft, one of which is the Apollo 7 command module!
Open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, tickets cost $8 for adults, and kids under 3 get in free. You also have the option to take a guided tour or explore at your leisure. Investigate the pioneers of flight and see how Dallas featured in the aviation tale of the first people to take to the skies.
The ‘Lighter than Air’ collection features the giant hydrogen-filled airships that used to travel across the Atlantic such as the Hindenburg. The museum store offers cool and unique gifts to take home.
Frontiers of Flight Museum, 6911 Lemmon Avenue
3. Nasher Sculpture Center
This cultural center is located in the urban center of Dallas and houses an important collection of more than 300 modern and contemporary sculptures which was acquired by the late Raymond and Patsy Nasher.
It features the works of amazing artists such as Joan Miro, Jeff Koons, and Anish Kapoor and if you are a fan of sculpture or art, this really is a great place to spend some time. The inside exhibits are displayed in an Italian travertine stone building with a glass roof which gives the impression of the open sky, and the outside space houses further sculptures in a garden-like setting with beautiful fountains and more than 170 trees.
This gives the impression of an oasis of calm in the city and is a lovely place to wander around. The Center is open from 11am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday, and houses a shop and a café.
Nasher Sculpture Centre, 2001 Flora Street
4. Thanksgiving Square
This is a beautiful peaceful and tranquil place to relax from the hustle of downtown Dallas. This small but perfectly formed park has waterfalls, gardens, and a chapel that is used for all faiths.
There is also a museum that highlights the history of the American custom of Thanksgiving. It’s a lovely place to chill out and it welcomes everyone of all faiths and nationalities to enjoy the surroundings as well as developing programs to encourage religious and cultural diversity for Dallas residents.
Visitors can go on a self-guided tour of the Chapel and the grounds from 10am to 4pm free of charge. There are also guided tours available which include the Bells of Thanksgiving, The Chapel, and the Museum if you want a bit more in-depth knowledge from an experienced guide.
Worth a visit just to experience a different side of the city, and to explore other faiths and ideas.
Thanksgiving Square, Pacific Avenue
5. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
If you fancy a break from some culture, why not let your hair down and have a good splash around at the Six Flags water park! It’s the largest waterpark in the southwest, located in Arlington which is a short drive outside the Dallas area, and with rides with names like The Sea Wolf and Kamikaze, it gives some indication of the excitement of the rides!
There are quieter alternatives to those who are less adventurous, with lazy rivers to float around and wave pools, and the park is split into thrill rides, family rides, and kid’s rides. The park is shut throughout the winter months so it’s really only a summer excursion, but it’s a great way to cool down in the heat!
There is also a wide variety of food and snack vendors throughout the park, and admission costs $27.99 for adults and $21.99 for juniors – it’s not cheap so make sure you plan a whole day there to make it worthwhile.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, 1800 East Lamar Boulevard, Arlington
6. Fair Park
Located near Interstate 30 and on the east side of downtown Dallas, this enormous 277-acre exhibition center is the site of the enormous annual Texas State Fair.
It is also the host of the annual Cotton Bowl football game and also many concerts and festivals throughout the year. There is an aquarium, an African-American natural history museum, and the Hall of State which is a huge art deco collection of Texan exhibits.
There is plenty to do if you have kids, and if you just fancy a quiet stroll or a jog through the park it’s a great place to relax as well as explore. Parking is available for $10 a day except when the State Fair is running.
Visit Fair Park, First Avenue
7. Dallas Museum of Art
Set in a modernist façade, this expansive building houses a huge and impressive collection of artistic works, and if you are interested in art or art history it is definitely worth a visit. The galleries are arranged by continent so it is easy to find your way around and the Art of the Americas gallery is particularly worth a visit.
This features treasures and artifacts from ancient Maya and Inca civilizations and paintings by artists such as Frederic Church and Thomas Hart Benton as well as a focus on the Texas art of the Wild West. The Museum is open from 11am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday, and it is open until 9pm on Thursdays if you fancy a late-night wander around some culture!
There is a great gift shop and a restaurant if you get a bit peckish wandering around and they also host spectacular special events there. The general admission fee is $10 which does include the permanent collection and the majority of the exhibitions, which isn’t bad value if you are going to spend the day there, and if you wish to park there is an all-day car park which charges a flat fee of $10 per day, or you can catch the DART to the St Paul Station.
Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood Street
8. Reunion Tower
This tower, one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks, offers stunning panoramic views of Dallas and its suburbs. It was built in 1978 and was first used as a radio broadcast tower, and went through major renovations in 2009. It is also featured in several films including The Lathe of Heaven and The Tree of Life. Located on the western edge of downtown it is 50 stories high and it hosts a restaurant owned by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, a cocktail bar, and an observation deck. It can also be hired for special events. The tower is definitely worth a visit at both day and night, as its great on a clear day to see out across the landscape but at light, the city lights are really spectacular. It is open from 10am to 10pm Monday to Thursday and is open until midnight on a Friday and Saturday night.
Reunion Tower, 300 Reunion Boulevard
Easy to get to and ideally located to explore the surrounding area including Fort Worth, there are many varying areas which mean there is something for every visitor to enjoy. The downtown area is where most visitors head to, and a 7-mile grid of streets which center around Main Street as you enter the main commercial district. This is where some of the coolest museums are situated, and the head to the West End and Deep Ellum districts for lively nightlife and great bars and restaurants – apparently there are over 8000 places to eat in the city! There are many events on in the city throughout the year in the art district and music festivals – the Texas State Fair is also a great one to check out if you can time your trip around it. It’s easy to get around on foot, but there are some good public transport options available. If you want to get some help with attractions or places to visit once you are in the city, check out the Dallas Tourist Information Centre at 100 South Houston Street which can provide maps or tour information. The weather in Dallas is also a selling point, especially for visitors from overseas! Its one of the hottest places in America in the summertime, so it’s worth finding a nice air-conditioned bar to cool down in occasionally!