About five miles northeast of downtown is one of the busiest parks in the Dallas area. White Rock Lake Park covers just over 1,000 acres of scenic wooded and lakeside areas. This park offers nine miles of biking and jogging trails, several bird sanctuaries and bird-watching areas, wetland sites, picnic areas, pavilions and kayaks available for rent, peaceful docks for fishing, and piers and boat ramps for easy access to the water. In addition, there are several cultural attractions around the lake, such as the The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and The Bath House Cultural Center, which houses the White Rock Lake Museum. The museum features rotating exhibitions from local and regional artists, as well as a preservation and presentation of the history of White Rock Lake. The Bath House Cultural Center itself offers a small theater, which has been home to theater, live music, and dance productions and performances from several different companies around Dallas. The Bath House also presents visual arts in three different gallery spaces, which showcase exhibitions from all over the world. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens offers various annual events that focus on education and family oriented activities such as the Cool Thursdays Concert Series and seasonal events like The Presidents’ Day Celebration and The 12 Days of Christmas. With the scenic views of the Dallas skyline, tranquil woods and lakeside attractions, and vibrant artistic centers, it’s no wonder that White Rock Lake Park is one of the most visited parks in the area.
As the host of the annual Texas State Fair since 1886, Fair Park is a site full of history, art, and culture. The park includes the Dallas Children’s Aquarium, several different museums, the Fair Park Music Hall, and the Texas Discovery Garden. The aquarium is open seven days a week, with different feeding demonstrations each day, as well as options for birthday parties, field trips, and even overnight stays. The museums in and around Fair Park include the African-American Museum, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and the Hall of State. The Fair Park Music Hall offers a year round source of live performance entertainment, including children’s musicals such as Peppa Pig Live; family musicals like The Little Mermaid; Broadway shows like Wicked; and features Dallas Summer Musicals, which provides students interested in performance the opportunity to audition for and act in Broadway musicals. The Texas Discovery Garden is a 7.5-acre botanical garden featuring different native and adapted plants and insects all year round. The garden also offers several specials such as free admission days, gardening workshops, family festivals, and the Earthkeepers student education program. Fair Park is also home to the largest collection of Art Deco Architecture in the U.S., which can be seen along the many landscaped walking paths. With all of the attractions in the area, Fair Park is a major provider of live performance, education, and entertainment for those in Dallas.
Opened in 2012, Belo Garden is a small, 1.7-acre park located in downtown Dallas. This ‘urban oasis’ is designed so the residents, employees, and visitors have a quiet place to escape. The park features more than 10,000 types of grasses, seasonal flowers, more than 100 trees, and decorative shrubs for park goers to enjoy. There is also an eco-friendly, interactive fountain, a nine-foot-tall grass hill that allows visitors to enjoy views of the park and a permanent seating area large enough for approximately 150 people. Belo Garden is also available for private party rentals and family-friendly events throughout the year. This park is the second installation of the Downtown Parks Master Plan, which hopes to give the city of Dallas recognition as city with a great park system. Before meeting the highest residential and environmental standards, the site of Belo Garden was a parking lot, that is until two grants were issued to help clean up and beautify the area. Today, it is noted for its eco-friendly features, peaceful atmosphere, and its help in creating a high achieving park system for the city of Dallas.