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Dallas, Texas is the state’s third largest city located in north Texas. This bustling metropolis offers a variety of family-friendly attractions, from museums to outdoor parks. Whether traveling with a toddler or a teen, there is something to do in Dallas that will entertain and amaze the kid in your life. Roller coasters, art exhibits, indoor water slides, and unique outdoor play areas are just a few things you’ll find on this list of the best things to do in Dallas with kids.
Dig for Dinosaurs at The Perot Museum of Nature and Science
What Is It? One of the best museums to visit in Texas, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science offers interactive exhibits, making science approachable and fun for all ages. With 11 permanent exhibits that span five floors, kids and adults alike will learn so much about geology, paleontology, and engineering.
Why Do It? A visit to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science offers kids an inside look into the life of a paleontologist through a hands-on dinosaur dig exhibit. The museum is also home to an earthquake simulator, a gallery of gems and minerals, and a 3D movie theater.
Good to Know: Tackle this museum from top to bottom. Take the “T. Rexcalator,” the museum’s escalator, to the fourth floor upon arrival, and then work your way down using the stairs.
Get Lost in a Maze at Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
What Is It? Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, one of the best botanical gardens in Texas, spans 66 acres and is teeming with manicured gardens, intricate water fountains, and seasonal blooms. Located on the banks of White Rock Lake, this public garden is a great way to spend a beautiful day outdoors in Dallas.
Why Do It? The kids will love visiting the Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Garden. Although this garden costs an additional $3 entry fee, it is well worth the visit if you’re exploring the arboretum with little ones. The Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Garden hosts daily educational programs catered toward children. Additionally, there are exhibits within the garden that are open for play, like the water features, garden maze, and edible garden.
Good to Know: If rain ruins your visit, then you can come back another day free of charge. Just make sure to grab a “rainy day pass” from the ticket booth before you leave. Your rainy day pass is valid for up to three months.
Explore the Underwater World at the Dallas World Aquarium
What Is It? Found in Dallas’ West End Historic District, the Dallas World Aquarium showcases a wide variety of marine life and a multi-level “rainforest” home to sloths, otters, birds, and other unique wildlife.
Why Do It? Besides being one of the best aquariums in the state, you’ll want to visit just to walk under the 20,000-gallon archway tank. This 40-foot-long glassed-in tunnel offers a unique experience to view fish, sharks, and stingrays overhead.
Good to Know: No food is allowed in the aquarium. However, there are three different restaurants here: a cafe, a gourmet restaurant, and Tex-Mex dining.
Enjoy the Outdoors at Klyde Warren Park
What Is It? This five-acre public park is the perfect place to take the kids on a beautiful Dallas day. This city greenspace often has public exercise classes, free concerts, and outdoor movies. However, the kids will really love the interactive water features and other play equipment found at the children’s park.
Why Do It? The Sheila and Jody Grant Children’s Park is great for children 12 and under. Home to a climbing tower, treetop lookout, two water features, and a climbing wall, this part of Klyde Warren Park will definitely entertain the kids. Since this park is free to play, this is a budget-friendly thing to do in Dallas.
Good to Know: Numerous food trucks park at Klyde Warren Park, so pausing your playtime for lunch isn’t a hassle here.
Make a Splash at Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark
What Is It? Guardians and kids alike will enjoy a visit to Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark. This 80,000-square-foot facility is home to water slides, a lazy river, a surf simulator, and a kid’s waterplay area. This waterpark is also home to the tallest indoor AquaLoop slide!
Why Do It? Whether you’re visiting the Dallas area in the winter or the summer, Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark is always open. On nice, warm days, there is a retractable roof to let in the natural sunlight.
Good to Know: This waterpark has a wave pool, however, the wave pool is only open during the summer months.
Ride a Rollercoaster at Six Flags Over Texas
What Is It? Located in Arlington, Six Flags Over Texas is an amusement park with rollercoasters, thrill rides, family-friendly rides, and one of the top waterparks in Texas. This theme park is one of the best of its kind in the state. Whether you’re a thrill seeker looking for a fast roller coaster or are more interested in live entertainment shows, this theme park offers plenty to do for all types of theme park goers.
Why Do It? Kids will love the Looney Tune-themed children’s area of the park. The interactive play structure, called the Looney Tunes Adventure Camp, is a nice spot to play that doesn’t require a wait in line.
Good to Know: The lines at Six Flags Over Texas can require a lengthy wait during the summer months. To reduce wait times and crowd size, visit during the winter months.
View Dallas from Above at Reunion Tower
What Is It? Reunion Tower is a 561-foot observation tower (and the city’s 15th tallest building) that is an iconic landmark of the Dallas city skyline.
Why Do It? Take the kids to the top of the Reunion Tower via the high-speed elevator to explore the GeO-Deck. On the GeO-Deck, experience 360-degree views of the city. Then, snag a closer look at Dallas’ scene below through one of the telescopes.
Good to Know: Check the events calendar to align your visit with one of the Reunion Tower events. From magic shows to science exhibits, the tower regularly hosts kid-friendly events.
Picnic at White Rock Lake
What Is It? This 1,000-acre reservoir is located in northeast Dallas. Locals and tourists flock to White Rock Lake to fish, paddle, hike, and even to take advantage of it being one of Dallas’ most Instagram-worthy spots. Since the lake is only a few miles from downtown Dallas, it’s easily accessible to Dallas newcomers.
Why Do It? Take the kids to White Rock Lake Park, where you’ll find numerous picnic spots and a playground.
Good to Know: Swimming is not allowed at White Rock Lake. So if you’d like to get out on the water, you’ll need to rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. Head to the north end of the lake to rent one of these watercraft from White Rock Lake Paddle Co.
Attend a Class at the Dallas Museum of Art
What Is It? Home to over 20,000 art pieces, from contemporary art to sacred antique artifacts, the Dallas Museum of Art is one of the best art museums in Texas and one of the largest art museums in the country. General admission to this art museum is free, making it a budget-friendly thing to do in Dallas.
Why Do It? Although the museum’s regular exhibits are worth exploring, the kid-friendly events that occur on a weekly basis are ideal opportunities to get young ones engaged with art here. There are classes and workshops for children 12 and under, including babies and toddlers.
Good to Know: Although a visit to a museum is typically reserved for a rainy day, you may want to visit on a clear day to enjoy the museum’s outdoor sculpture garden.
Discover Your Favorite Animal at the Dallas Zoo
What Is It? As the oldest and largest zoo in Texas, the Dallas Zoo is home to over 2,000 animals and spans over 100 acres. With over 400 different species of animals, kids of all ages will get to view wildlife in a close-up way.
Why Do It? Many of the exhibits strive to mimic the animals’ natural environment. The Dallas Zoo has one of the best exhibits in the nation – an 11-acre habitat that has elephants enclosed with other African savanna animal species. Called the “Giants of the Savanna,” this unique exhibit is the first of its kind and is truly a must-see attraction, and one of the many reasons Dallas is one of the best Texas vacations to take with kids.
Good to Know: All patrons receive discounted admission to the zoo on the first Tuesday of every month.
Watch a Jousting Tournament at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament
What Is It? Enjoy dinner and a show at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. During this unique dining experience, you’ll feast on a four-course meal while watching the grand tournament of knights.
Why Do It? Adults will love this experience just as much as the kids. Kids will enjoy the hands-on dining (no pun intended), as no utensils are allowed or needed! Adults will enjoy the food, as the four-course meal includes roasted chicken, soup, and various sides. However, the show is really the main course here, as you root for your knight to win the honor of champion.
Good to Know: The entire show lasts two hours. Although Medieval Times offers free admission for children 3 years old and under, they don’t get their own seat and will have to sit on an adult’s lap. If you’d like for your little one to have their own seat, the child price applies.