If you have young children, take them to these family-friendly spots in Dallas to have some fun and learn a little bit along the way.
This 106-acre zoo features thousands of animals, including their popular Giants of the Savannah exhibit. In this 11-acre safari experience, kids will love getting up close to all kinds of animals including cheetahs, elephants and lions. What my kids loved the most was feeding lettuce to the giraffes. This zoo also has an informative narrated monorail safari ride that takes you all around the park to get a bird's-eye view of all the exhibits. Warning — the Dallas Zoo is very big. You could spend the whole day and not see it all. If you are short on time, map your day out so you don't miss any of the exhibits and attractions on your must-see list.
Got little ones? No need to take them to a big aquarium. Young kids will enjoy the smaller, children-friendly design of the Children's Aquarium at Fair Park. The aquarium features thousands of aquatic animals, plus a touch pool with crabs, sea urchins and other creatures. What your kids will love the most is the outdoor pavilion where they can view and even feed stingrays and small bamboo sharks. While at Fair Park take a ride on the huge Texas Star Ferris wheel or take in some of the many other attractions.
Perot Museum of Nature & Science is architecturally very cool — and it's gigantic. If you have the time to go twice on your trip, you should. Its five floors are full of interactive exhibits and unique displays that kids will love, from the Being Human Hall to the Expanding Universe Hall. However, the things our family most enjoyed were the Moody Family Children’s Museum (designed for kids five and younger) and the Sports Hall, both located on the basement level. At the Sports Hall, see if you can outrun a T. Rex or throw a football better than a pro quarterback, as well as take part in a number of other interactive experiences. The Perot Museum also has an outdoor musical garden that my kids didn't want to leave. (If anyone knows where I can buy a smaller version of their "gravel chime," let me know!) If you decide to visit the Perot Museum of Nature & Science you should realize that it will probably be very crowded — especially on the weekend or during times of school field trips.
The 5.2-acre urban green space was completed last year and is built over Woodall Rodgers Freeway to connect uptown, downtown, and the arts district. This isn't any ordinary park. It features a children's park with plenty of slides, swings and other playground equipment, as well as a dog park where your best friend can run free. There's also a putting green, ping-pong, live music and so many more activities and events at Klyde Warren Park. If you want to go somewhere to kick back and have lunch, pack a picnic or eat from one of the many food trucks that line up around lunchtime.
When you have young kids, it can often be hard to find a restaurant that offers great food, good service and is willing to deal with kids who aren't always on their best behavior. For a casual spot with down-home food cooked from scratch, head to Chicken Scratch on a Sunday afternoon. The atmosphere and price points are family-driven, and there's a big open field where the kids can run around and play. If you are looking for Tex-Mex, Mi Cocina features delicious fresh food in a modern yet comfortable setting. With several locations in Dallas, you are sure to find one near your hotel. Known for their enchiladas, everything we sampled from their menu was delicious from the guacamole to the carne asada.
Of course, there are hundreds of hotels to choose from in a big city like Dallas from family-friendly resorts to quaint boutique hotels. We had the pleasure of staying at the Hilton Anatole hotel in the Dallas Design District, right off the Stemmons Freeway and just a few minutes from downtown. This hotel is a stunning masterpiece. It features an incredible atrium lobby that is a sight to behold, a 1000-piece art collection and spectactular rooms and suites. The hotel is set on 45 lush acres and features a fitness center, jogging trail, pool, spa, tennis courts and even a 7-acre sculpture park. Everything about our stay was top-notch — from the room to the restaurants to the shops.
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