From skyscrapers to gardens, from museums to zoos, a family trip to Dallas promises to be both educational and fun.

Dallas World Aquarium and Zoo

From old, abandoned warehouse to rainforest? Now that takes imagination!  It is that imagination and creativity that make the Dallas World Aquarium and Zoo (DWA) so special.  Upon entering the DWA, visitors are transported to the rainforest.  The tour begins at the top of the building, in the rainforest canopy where free-flying birds abound.  The canopy is home to the only publicly displayed Three-toed sloth in the United States.  The sloth, a Rainforest favorite, is on display daily from 1-4pm, not in a cage, but simply sitting in a tree.  As visitors wind their way down through the aquarium, they visit the forest floor, teeming with life.  Here you find Orinoco crocodiles and their babies, polka-dot stingrays, a huge anaconda, and playful river otters.  Continuing on, visitors find themselves in the underwater portion of the Aquarium marveling at manatees, turtles, penguins, and best of all, sharks.  The sharks actually swim all around visitors as they walk through a glass tunnel.  Overall, the Dallas World Aquarium and Zoo is the most unique zoo presentation we have ever seen and therefore, receives Texas Family Travel's highest recommendation for family fun in Dallas.   

 

Dallas Arboretum

In a word, "stunning".  The Dallas Arboretum is a beautiful garden that rivals the most renown gardens in Europe.  To stroll through the flower-lined paths is to nourish the soul.  Yet, the garden is more than a place of tranquil beauty; it can also be a place for great family fun.  The Dallas Arboretum has several kid-friendly attractions which make it an enjoyable destination for the entire family.  Our kids loved playing in the Texas Pioneer town and storybook playhouses.  They also enjoyed simply running through the open spaces, an appreciated activity when traveling in a big city.  Located on the shores of White Rock Lake, the Arboretum is an ideal setting for a family picnic.  Be sure to bring your camera as family photo opportunities are everywhere.  The Dallas Arboretum will inspire and delight you.  Texas Family Travel encourages all families traveling to Dallas to visit this beautiful treasure.

 

Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is Texas's oldest zoo, and at 95 acres, it is also the state's largest.  Families traveling to Dallas are sure to enjoy the variety of animals on display.  While the zoo is old, it is constantly being updated, expanded, and improved.  For example, visitors can look forward to seeing the magnificent new African Savannah exhibit opening in 2010.  We particularly enjoyed the Children's Zoo where kids can feed birds out of their hands, splash in a "river" (bring an extra set of clothes), play on a playground, and pet friendly animals.  We also recommend riding the monorail through the Wilds of Africa as there are animals that can only be viewed from the monorail.  Plus, the novelty of riding a monorail is fun for all ages.  Because the zoo is so large, we recommend carefully mapping out your day to ensure everyone sees their favorite animals without becoming overly tired.  Located in the heart of Dallas, the Dallas Zoo is a great place for families to enjoy nature and marvel at God's creation.

 

Museum of Nature and Science

Children of all ages will love exploring the Museum of Nature and Science at Fair Park.  The museum features an IMAX theater, gigantic dinosaur bones (much to my son's delight), hands-on science discoveries, and a Children's Museum specifically designed for ages 0-7.  During our visit, we took our children to their first IMAX movie and delighted in watching their expressions as we were virtually transported to the great coral reefs of the world.  The Children's Museum is filled with imaginative discovery for the youngest visitors.  Our favorites included the role-play costumes in nearly every room and the life-like cow milking simulation where children can "milk" the pretend cow (of course, it is water that actually fills the milk bucket).  A visit to the Nature and Science museum will grow your child's mind and provide educational entertainment for the entire family.

 

Where to Eat

There are so many great dining options in Dallas.  We have simply listed two of our favorites for a unique, kid-friendly experience and just plain tasty food.

Note: When visiting Highland Park Pharmacy, make sure to go inside Weir's (the furniture store next door) and visit the Old Country Store at the back.  It's a great place to pick up a little souvenir and some popcorn, and the kids will enjoy seeing the historic, yet still working post-office. 

 

Where to Stay

The Hyatt Regency Dallas is one of the city's most iconic landmarks.  With it's impeccable service and central location, it is Texas Family Travel's recommended hotel.  Our kids loved the glass elevator that rises 28 stories, and according to our 4-year-old, "busts through the roof" of the atrium.  The hotel features attentive staff, four on-site restaurants, and plenty of luxury.  We were most impressed with the gracious service.  The concierge and bell men went out of their way to ensure we had a comfortable and enjoyable stay.  The ideal location makes it easy to travel by car or DART light rail to family-friendly attractions in Dallas.