A city with a wide range of amusement parks, museums, and attractions all designed for families, Dallas is a top kid-friendly destination. Whether you’re looking for thrills or love to explore the outdoors with your kids, here’s a list of the best things to do in Dallas as a family.
This place is a classic theme park, but an ultimate goody. Located in Arlington, about 15 miles outside of Dallas, Six Flags Over Texas offers thrilling roller coasters, great entertainment shows, carnival-style games and plenty of restaurants. From massive roller coasters like the Titan and the Texas Giant for teens and adults to softer rides like Daffy Duck Bucket Blasters and Bugs Bunny Boomtown for toddlers and small children, there truly is something for everyone. With over 45 rides, including five water rides, be sure to grab an all-access fast pass to enjoy all Six Flags Over Texas has to offer.
Thom Mayne, a winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, designed the astoundingly beautiful Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The building is cube-shaped with the idea of bringing together the building and the environment. It’s a prime example of sustainability with a full acre of green-landscaped roof that hosts native grasses and plants that will thrive in the Texas climate. There’s 11 permanent exhibit halls at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science that offer hands-on science experiences for kids, the likes of which include activities that focus on minerals, geology, energy, fossils, and technology. Architecture tours, speakers, and experiments are other ways the Perot Museum engages visitors of all ages.
The Dallas Zoo is the oldest and largest zoological park in Texas with over 2,000 animals representing 406 species. Filled with your typical monkeys, lions, tigers, and bears, the Dallas Zoo is also one of only ten zoos in the country to house a koala exhibit. Children of all ages can explore their wild side at the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo that features plenty of activities like crawling eye-level with bugs and rodents and visiting the petting zoo full of gentle, friendly goats. Catch a show of soaring birds, hop on a hump for a camel ride, or get up close and personal to feed lettuce to a giraffe. Make sure you have your walking shoes on because this 100+ acre (40.5 hectares) park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
Most parks are just open green spaces for people to stroll around for fresh air, but Klyde Warren Park is not “most parks.” This public space is located on top of Woodall Rogers Freeway and hosts a hub of activities and events all year long. For the body, enjoy Sunday morning yoga, Wednesday night Zumba, or Saturday afternoon Tai chi and boot camp. For the mind, attend a pleasant outdoor meditation or take a guided tour of the city skyline and learn historical facts about Dallas. For the appetite, there are a variety of food trucks at the park nearly every day, even an ice cream truck to help beat the Texas heat. You can also take a free art class or listen to a concert, and if you want a more traditional park experience, you can relax in the sun, play chess, bring your dog to the dog park, or participate in a group sport.
An experience that feels like walking through a rain forest, the Dallas World Aquarium is more than just about fish. There are tons of different animals to see, including monkeys, sloths, birds, penguins, frogs, and turtles. Plan to spend several hours admiring the wonderful animal exhibits, using the interactive touchscreens, listening to the lectures, or even catching a crocodile or feeding a shark. Then top the visit off by grabbing a bite to eat at one of three cafés. Long after the visit, families can stay engaged by visiting the Dallas World Aquarium’s website to view the shark or manatee water web cam.
Outdoor water parks in North Texas must shut their doors when winter comes around, but not Epic Waters Water Park. This indoor water park just opened in 2018 in Grand Prairie, Texas, and it’s seriously making waves. You’ll find the basics here like pools and a snack bar, plus some pretty thrilling, one-of-a-kind rides. They have the nation’s tallest indoor Aqualoop slide, named the Lasso Loop. The Yellow Jacket Drop is a combination of the Boomerango and Constrictor slides, and it’s the first to ever be placed indoors. On this slide, inner tubers speed through an enclosed slide and experience a zero-gravity drop. Those with friends will want to try the Aquanaut, the first indoor, double rider, Aquasphere, inner tube ride. If those rides seem too thrilling for you, keep in mind that Epic Waters has a wide array of other rides and slides.
Learn to work together and get closer as a family at Trinity Forest Adventure Park. This park is an aerial obstacle course that consists of rope courses suspended in the air between trees. Here there are over 70 elements, including wobble bridges, tight ropes, ladders, 20 zip lines, and cargo nets. Families with kids as young as four years can participate and choose the level of course that fits their needs. This course is self-guided, so you can go at your own pace and have fun how you and your family see fit. Just remember: don’t look down! Some parts of the course are 50 feet (15 meters) high.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens features 66 acres of gardens, from the ornamental to the sunken and colorful. This beautiful serene place is a year-round attraction that’s fun for all ages. Children are sure to enjoy over 150 activities in the 8-acre (3.2-hectare) Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden that features The Texas Skywalk, The Moody Oasis, a Walk in the Clouds, and much more. Grab lunch to-go from one of the many restaurants, and have a picnic on the lawn while soaking in the sun, or sit back and relax at a summer evening concert. With plenty of family activities like indoor and outdoor learning galleries, a scavenger hunt, and tons of interactive exhibits, it’s not hard to see why the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is one of the best family-friendly attractions in Dallas. Don’t forget your camera, as there are plenty of photo ops.