Yes, Dallas is a big, bustling city with tons of attractions and a fantastic nightlife for adults. But it’s also a great family vacation destination, too. There are many kids attractions and places that mix learning with a whole lot of fun. Intrigued? Keep reading for our picks for the best things to do in Dallas with kids.
Kids Attractions in Dallas
There are plenty of kids attractions in Dallas, so here are some of our favorite things to do in Dallas with kids.
The Dallas Zoo is one of the best things to do in Dallas with kids. It isn’t so big that it’s unreasonable to walk around with kids and all their gear. But, it’s not so tiny that you’ll see everything in 10 minutes. Plus, you can literally feed the giraffes. Like, you are standing there, letting a giraffe eat out of your $3 cup of feed. Yes, just $3 to feed a giraffe? Worth it!
Since you’ll likely have to feed your kids at some point, grab lunch at the Serengeti Grill. You can all watch lions walk right up to the glass by your table.
Kids will love Dallas World Aquarium, with its rainforest reproduction, marine life, sloths and more. There are several feedings and talks throughout the day. So, they can get up close and personal with many of the facility’s inhabitants, too.
Sneak in some learning on your family vacation in Dallas. Perot Museum exhibits offers lots of hands-on educational fun. There’s even a special museum just for kids 5 and under. That section has an indoor nature hike, kid-sized farmers market, water play table and things to conquer as they crawl.
For one of the most thrilling things to do in Dallas with kids, head to nearby Arlington. That’s where the 212-acre Six Flags Over Texas is. Since it’s a Six Flags, you know you’ll find lots of rides for kids of all ages, food, events and entertainment.
For more Texas-sized thrills in Dallas, head to Zero Gravity Thrill Park. It offers five extreme attractions: bungee jumping; the 60 mph Skycoaster zip line; a 16-story freefall; Skyscraper, which whips you 165 feet up in mere seconds; and the Texas Blastoff slingshot for two. While there is no age restriction, other restrictions like weight, could be a factor, so check the website before taking your kids.
Klyde Warren Park is an urban oasis near some of the best kids attractions in downtown Dallas. Its Children’s Park boasts a storytelling tree, playgrounds, fountains, merry-go-round and lots of other things to tire the kids out. Plus, there is food, summer movies and a whole bunch more.
Yes, DMA has incredible works of art spanning 5,000 years and equally amazing rotating exhibits. But, it’s also a great place to take kids on your family vacation in Dallas. It has programs and classes for toddlers to teens. For example, First Tuesday offers art-making activities, story times and more for kids 5-under.
With sculptures inside and out, this is a great place for families in Dallas. And not just because admission is free the first Saturday of every month. Each month’s event also offers a full day of programming to get your family’s creative juices flowing. There’s always something going on here the rest of the month, too.
The Arboretum is a really beautiful place to visit on your family vacation in Dallas. It’s one big flower garden set against the gorgeous backdrop of White Rock Lake. It may sound like a snoozefest for kids, but it’s absolutely not. Load up on your Claritin and pack your camera. The Instagram opps here are the best in town. There’s always entertainment for little ones in case learning about flower species and soaking up immense beauty isn’t their thing. And to actually capture the perfect photo, see the section on Trailercakes below.
You’re welcome in advance because Trailercakes is the perfect—and most delicious—kid bribe to get them to behave as you explore on your family vacation in Dallas. With names like Slap Your Mama Chocolate, Laverne & Shirley and Cookie Monster, they’re as fun as they are delicious. Trust us, Trailercakes will give your kids a reason to hold it together for just one more hour.
Visiting “The Big D” in summer can be brutally hot. So, these two great indoor kids attractions in Dallas will be quite welcome. Plus, kids will burn off a lot of energy. Jump Street is filled with gigantic trampolines and is perfect for ages 7-up. There is a kiddie area, but if you can somehow divide and conquer, 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 because weekends and school vacations make these kid-friendly destinations resemble a mosh pit.
For a cool (no pun intended) outdoor activity in Dallas for kids, head here. There is an urban legend 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 beat the extreme heat of summer. And, if we’re being honest, there’s something a tiny bit more sanitary about water spraying and running down a drain then public pools. With a playground next door, some fields and a picnic area, you’ll have at least a few hours of occupied children.
Seasonal Attractions in Dallas for Kids
There are always lots of things to do in Dallas with kids. But, some of the best family-friendly attractions in Dallas only come around once a year.
It’s true: Everything really is bigger in Texas because the Christmas light displays here are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The Deerfield section of Plano takes it upon themselves to outdo the rest of Texas. Every house is decked in lights, and you can even pay to have a horse-drawn sleigh steer your family through the streets.
Too cheap or too cold? Your car works just fine to transport you to a winter wonderland. Lights go up around Thanksgiving and stay until New Year’s.
Probably the best thing to do in Dallas in fall is the State Fair of Texas. Even Oprah paid it 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. The auto show is a lot of fun, too.
Tip from a local: Since the fair can be really expensive, always look to find coupons and discounted admission. It helps that rides are half-price on Tuesdays.
Held every May, this family-friendly event ushers in Dallas’ long, hot summer. It has tons of rides and entertainment for kids. The music acts are always fantastic, and more than 60 restaurants bring samples of their best fare. There are always promotions for discounted admission, so do some research before you go.
Held every October, the Red Balloon Run & Ride raises money for Children’s Medical Center. In addition to a morning filled with physical activity, it’s pretty much 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. (No judgement here if you skip the walk/run/bike ride, though.) There’s even a 1k fun run and 5k bike ride especially for moms who haven’t moved in five years.
Other Things to Do in Dallas With Kids
Just in case you need more inspo for a family vacation in Dallas, here are a few more things to do in Dallas with kids.
Yes, you’re in Dallas with kids in tow, so shopping may not seem like the best idea. But, Galleria Mall is one of the best places to shop in Dallas—and maybe all of Texas. Besides, after the kids have played in the animal-themed play area, skated on the indoor ice skating rink, hit up candy store and visited the American Girl store, they owe you at least 15 minutes of shopping in peace. Plus, you can always remind them that you took them to Trailercakes (probably more than once) if you really want to shop till you drop.
See what 19th century life was like in North Texas at Dallas Heritage Village. Among its offerings are historic buildings, period reenactments and events. Plus, there are lots of kid-friendly programming, including a Barnyard Buddies storytime and special playspace for kids 18-months to 5.
See a Professional Sports Team
Dallas is home to several pro sports teams from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and WNBA. Check out, respectively, a Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, FC Dallas or Dallas Wings game.
This museum in Dealey Plaza archives JFK’s assassination in Dallas on Nov. 23, 1963 and how it still impacts today. Its multimedia exhibits help make this heavy topic easy to digest for younger members of your family.