Looking for things to do in Dallas with kids? The Scary Mommy Travel Guide was created because there is nobody better to help you survive traveling to a unfamiliar destination than a mom who lives there. Read the ever growing guide here, or submit your own hometown!
1. The Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is one big flower garden set against the gorgeous backdrop of White Rock Lake. I know, I’m making it sound like a snoozefest, but it’s not. Load up on your Claritin and pack your camera. The photo opportunities here are the best in town. There’s always entertainment going on for the little ones in case learning about flower species and soaking up immense beauty isn’t their thing. And to actually capture the perfect photo, refer to Trailercakes.
2. Trailercakes. Did you really think I was going to make you schlep through my city without hooking you up with the perfect kid bribe? You’re welcome. Trailercakes makes the best cupcakes you will ever taste. With names like Slap Your Mama Chocolate, Laverne & Shirley, and Cookie Monster, they’re as fun as they are delicious. Trust me, Trailercakes will give your kids a reason to hold it together for just 1 more hour.
3. Jump Street and Coo Coo’s. This is my favorite commercial spot for the kids to burn some energy. Jump Street is filled with gigantic trampolines and is perfect for the 7 years and older crowd. There is a kiddie area, but if you can somehow divide and conquer (a must in my family with 4 kids ranging in age from 18 months to 8 years) send the 6 and under crowd next door to Coo Coo’s. The enormous bounce houses and train that runs continuously makes for a busy hour or two. Word to the wise, you may want to enjoy Jump Street and Coo Coo’s during the week as weekends and school vacations make these destinations resemble a mosh pit. (Why yes, I am a teenager of the 90’s.)
4. Campbell Green Splash Park. There is an urban legend in Dallas that goes like this; your napping child’s nap will double in length after a couple of hours at Campbell Green Splash Park. Open through the summer, this splash park is the perfect way for kids of all ages to cool down during the extreme heat of summer. And there’s something a tiny bit more sanitary about water spraying and running down a drain then the public pools. (At least in my simple mind.) A playground next door, some fields, and a picnic area assure you at least a few hours of occupied children.
5. Deerfield Christmas Lights Display. It’s true, everything really is bigger in Texas. The Christmas light displays here are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The subdivision, Deerfield, up in Plano takes it upon themselves to outdo the rest of Texas. Every house is decked in lights. You can even pay and have a horse drawn sleigh steer you through the streets. Too cheap or too cold? Your car will work just fine to transport you. Lights go up around Thanksgiving and stay until New Years.
6. State Fair of Texas. It’s not fall in Dallas until the state fair rolls in. Even Oprah paid us a visit a few years back. The fried foods are infamous. (Fried butter! Fried PB&J! Fried Grilled Cheese! Fried Cheesecake!) The attractions are impressive. And the rides are incredible. The animal shows and petting zoos are a blast. And if your kids will allow it, strolling through the auto show is a lot of fun. (See Trailercakes.) The Fair can be really expensive, so always look to find coupons and discounted admission. Tuesdays are half priced rides. Or you can plan your walk through the fair strategically so that it looks like rides don’t exist at the State Fair.
7. The Galleria Mall. The Galleria is amongst the best shopping in Texas. I know, I know, you’ve got kids with you. That’s cool. After they’ve played in the animal themed play area, skated on the indoor ice skating rink, hit up the candy by the pound candy store, and visited the American Girl store, don’t they owe you at least 15 minutes of shopping in peace? (You can always refer back to Trailercakes if you are really on the hunt for the outfit that will go with that amazing pair of shoes you felt so confident about buying because wouldn’t anything go with them?)
8. The Dallas Zoo. The mere mention of the zoo makes me want to take a nap with something to plug my nose, but the newly renovated Dallas zoo really is worth the trip. Go to the new area of the zoo and you can literally feed the giraffes. Like you are standing there letting a giraffe eat out of your $3 cup of feed. (Come on, $3 to feed a giraffe? So worth it!) Eat lunch in the Serengeti Grill and watch the lions walk right up to the glass by your table. The Dallas Zoo isn’t so huge that it’s unreasonable to walk around but not so small that you’ll see everything in 10 minutes.
9. Taste of Addison. I love Taste of Addison. It’s pretty much the last time you can be outdoors unless you’re being doused by water until after Labor Day. So live it up. This festival has tons of rides and entertainment for the kids. The music acts that they line up are fantastic and the 60+ restaurants that bring samples of the best their restaurant has to offer? Yeah, I’m a fan. Once again, there’s always promotions on how to get discounted admission so do some research before you go. Even better, I believe my friends at Trailercakes will be at Taste of Addison, so your bribe has finally come to you.
10. The Red Balloon Run & Ride. Held every October, the RBR&R is a favorite at my house, because I fundraise for the Heart Center at Children’s in honor of my favorite heart patient, my daughter Shayna. This run/walk/bike ride raises money for Children’s Medical Center. In addition to a morning filled with physical activity, it’s about the most kid friendly event in town. After you walk, run, or bike, check out the bounce houses, cupcake decorating, food, face painting, rides, and games. And if you skip the walk/run/bike ride all together, no judgement. There’s even a 1k fun run and 5k bike ride especially for moms who haven’t moved in 5 years kids.
Got any tips on great things to do with kids in Dallas? Leave them in the comments!