Dominic has been working out of Dallas recently which has given us the opportunity to visit and use his hotel as an “explore east Texas” home base. Twice this year we’ve spent a week exploring the Dallas Fort Worth area and I feel like we’ve just grazed the top of all this area has to offer. Dallas is BIG and FUN!
In my preparation for our visits I browsed many a blog to build my list of must sees and must dos and now I’ve compiled my own! If you’re exploring the Dallas Fort Worth area with kids – take a look at our adventures and get ready to have a blast exploring this fun city!
The Bishop Arts District
If you love art walls, darling shops, and great food – The Bishop Arts District is where it’s at. We loved winding up and down these streets, popping into shops, sharing treats, and snapping photos.
Texas Discovery Gardens
Texas Discovery Gardens offers a beautiful variety of activities and exhibits. Our favorite thing was the butterfly release which happens at noon everyday the gardens are open. The boys loved the playground and Jem and I loved the Secret Garden section of the garden. They even have an axolotl tank if you’ve got kids who love those little guys.
American Girl Store
American Girl stores are few and far between these days, but Dallas has one at the Galleria! American Girl Dallas hosts fun activities like ice cream socials, doll manicures, and more – check out the calendar to plan your visit. Of course, American Girl is fun to just browse too – just be sure to set your budget before you head in!
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
We visited the Perot Museum in the middle of an ice storm and I’m glad we did – it was the perfect indoor activity that took up more time than I expected. A great option when you want to escape the heat too.
Many science museums have similar exhibits but Perot stood out to me especially for the gem and mineral hall (my and Jem’s favorite!) and the sports hall. If you visit Tuesday through Friday, be sure to stop at the engineering floor to take a free class at 11:30 or 2:30. They are first come, first serve (so swing by early to sign up) and last about an hour. Jemma and Max both got to learn about 3D printing! Confirm all those times and details here before setting your heart on that activity. A children’s museum for those five and under is located in the basement also.
If you are a member at another science museum you will be able to visit Perot for free. This is HUGE as it is one of the more expensive museums ($20/ticket for adults) – check the reciprocal list for ASTC participants here. Some educators (homeschool not included), military, and first responders also receive free admission. Perot is also part of the Dallas CityPass if you go that route. All the current discount options are listed here.
The Crayola Experience
A bit north of Dallas in Plano you can fall into a colorful world at The Crayola Experience. My kids, ages 1-11, all loved our time there and it’s a great stop when you want to avoid the intense weather – either hot or cold.
With gobs of art projects, a presentation about how crayons are made, and a gift shop where you can build your own custom box of crayons, we spent almost four hours livin’ it up! You can read more about our time at The Crayola Experience here.
Fort Worth Stockyards
Three cheers for the Fort Worth Stockyards! It is a Dallas area must! We’ve been twice now and done different activities each time – the highlights being the cattle drive, sitting on a REAL longhorn, popping into Flea Style, and riding a mechanical bull. Our favorite food is here too – get your taste buds ready with our list of Dallas Foodie Faves.
Billy Bob’s Texas
For a real Texas experience you can’t miss Billy Bob’s. It’s within walking distance of the Fort Worth Stockyards and they host live music, bull riding, line dancing, pool, and more! And, of course, they have food. My crew loved the chicken strips. Admission is $3/adult (special events are extra), kids are free. It was fun walking the Handprint Gallery too – think Hollywood handprints but the country version.
If you’re checking out Billy Bob’s as a family I highly recommend going on Saturday at noon as there is a free line dancing class. At the end of class you’ll get a 20% off coupon for the restaurant.
Cedar Ridge Preserve
We hiked about half the trails at Cedar Ridge Preserve between two days – it’s gorgeous and a great outdoor experience when you’re after a little time in the trees. It reminded us of our beloved Barnum Point on Camano Island in Washington (not the beach, obviously, but the interwoven trails).
Fort Worth Zoo
We’ve been to quite a few zoos over the years and the kids and I have voted Fort Worth Zoo our very favorite one! You can hand feed giraffes, watch the hippo underway, explore the herpetarium, and check out a whole area devoted to Texas.
If you are a member at another zoo, you’re membership will most likely give you 50% off your admission at Fort Worth. Double check here. As of June 2022, Wednesdays are half price day for all.
You don’t have to go up in Reunion Tower to enjoy it. The kids and I loved driving by and snapping a photo – it really is an unique part of the Dallas skyline. Someday, we’ll tryout out though and when we do I plan to do it as part of the Dallas CityPass. Best value for sure.
A friend who used to live in the Dallas area recommended the playground in Grand Prairie and second only to The Gathering Place in Tulsa, PlayGrand Adventures wins big. So. Much. Fun.
What To Read Next …
- Dallas Foodie Faves – a quick list of the places we will 100% return to over and over again! You’re going to love these sandwiches, donuts, and more!
- Waco, Texas Getaway – Just 1 1/2 south of Dallas is Waco, Texas. It’s the perfect day trip when you’re in the area!