Plano, Texas, is home to the corporate headquarters of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group as well as Frito-Lay and Pizza Hut. As if that weren’t enough, Plano is also rated one of the safest cities in the country with consistently top-rated schools.
Plano would be downright perfect if not for the subtropical humidity. Pack the anti-frizz serum and a boatload of sunblock. Here are our suggestions for fun things to do in Plano with kids.
Best Indoor Attractions in Plano for Kids
The Crayola Experience is where America’s beloved Crayola crayons come to life! With 60,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits, this fully interactive family attraction in Plano will keep your family busy for easily three-four hours. The whole family can try out all 25 things to do like star in your very own coloring page or name and wrap your very own Crayola crayon. “Grandma Green” makes a great gift. How about “Mommy Magenta” for yourself? That would make a great stripper name.
Visit the Crayola Store for many exclusive Crayola products like plush toys, backpacks, and really cool art sets. Plano is lucky to have this family-friendly attraction: only one of five Crayola Experiences in the whole country.
Oh, the pleasure and the pain of taking the family to the movies. So much fun yet so much cash, it can hurt the fanny pack. Cinemark Movies 10 in Plano takes much of the pain away by offering $2 movie tickets.
Interurban Railway Museum is free for your family to visit. Yup, F-R-E-E. Managed by the Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation and owned by the City of Plano, tell your kids it’s like Thomas the Train but with a Texas twang. Every Friday, the museum holds a storytime hosted by professional storytellers Genie and Melody. Make sure to bring the little ones to this sweet family-friendly and free activity in Plano. Get a photo with the Sir Topham Hat look-alike Traveling Motormen, volunteer docents for the museum as well as their educational outreach program.
There’s bowling with or without bumpers and computerized no-math-required scoring. Gravity ropes suspended above the game room and mini golf course will give any self-respecting mother a small heart attack. Shake off those heart palpitations with a family game of Laser Tag.
Climb the walls of the 9,000 square foot rock climbing arena. You’ve got 28 feet of wall to show your kids how they drive you up a wall. Glow in the dark mini golf? This multi-dimensional mini golf course is a really fun family activity in Plano. Did we mention there’s Karaoke? Well, there’s Karaoke. Let’s all meet at the car in five hours.
Thunderbird Roller Rink is a Plano favorite. Voted Best of Plano 2018 “Best Outing on a Budget” and
“Best Place to Take Kids on a Rainy Day in Plano,” have some classic family fun with open skate, skating lessons, or come to watch roller derby! Fries at the snack bar are a no-brainer.
Outdoor Activities in Plano for Kids
When you think of Texas, you think of horses. And Tex-Mex food. But back to the horses. Spend some family time with the horses of Mill-Again Stables. They offer private or group lessons for riders of all ages. Check their schedule to watch the majestic show horses strut their stuff all around the state.
Jack Carter Park just opened in 2018 and features an all-inclusive playground designed for kids ages 2-12 of all abilities to play together in a wide range of movement, climbing, tactile, visual and musical play equipment. The park also has a tranquil pond, shady pavilion, picnic tables, biking and hiking trails, and the most important feature—clean accessible bathrooms.
Bring some sand pails and shovels, too. The volleyball court is made of real sand! Worry about the sand in the butt crack issues later.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has miles of dirt and paved walking trails. Locals agree that this is the best hiking for families in Plano! Home to wildlife such as raccoons, armadillos, snakes, bobcats, coyotes, turtles, and hawks. You’ll find a nice playground and lots of picnic spots with bathrooms. Keep an eye out for every kid’s favorite form of wildlife known to inhabit the parking lot— the ubiquitous ice cream truck!
Plano even has another Nature Preserve! Oak Point Nature Preserve is Plano’s largest park with 800 acres to explore. As the largest green area in Plano, over 8 miles of flat trails make it ideal for family bike riding. Visit the nature center or pack some granola bars and juice boxes for concerts and events in the amphitheater. There’s kayaking and paddle-boats too. Your family will feel far away from urban life. But if the tranquility doesn’t last long enough, just tell your kids about the snakes. That’ll quiet them down. Stay on the trails and wear closed-toe shoes.
When you’re done with all that peace and quiet, take your monkeys to Go Ape Treetop Adventure located in Oak Point Nature Preserve over 27 feet up in the woodland canopy. There are adventure courses for all ages. Spend between two and three hours on the ropes in this team building Plano family activity. It’s as close to becoming an actual family of apes as you can get, without the poop-throwing.
We all know a cat lady. It’s not hard to become one. After all, cats make awesome pets. But I’m talking about the big cats. A don’t miss attraction about 30 minutes from Plano is In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center.
This non-profit organization is dedicated to the rescue of neglected, abused and unwanted exotic felines. The mission is to educate the public on the characteristics of the sanctuary’s residents and the realities of irresponsible or illegal exotic wild animal ownership and captive breeding.
Definitly schedule a tour to support their mission “to provide a caring, safe haven to some of God’s most beautiful creatures. We put their needs above all else; the old, the maimed, the unwanted can find sanctuary here.”
All admission rates are suggested donations and tax deductible.
Best Places To Eat With Kids in Plano
If food flying through the air on purpose is something your kids would enjoy, Benihana is always a good choice for kid-friendly dining. Little sushi lovers will be happy here too. Entertainment, fire, and grilled vegetables being thrown into their mouths by strangers. GeniusAF.
Hub Streat may have a basic kids menu but it does have a great outdoor patio where dogs are welcome and a fun game room for kids and parents to play while waiting for their food. Voted one of the best outdoor dining spaces in Plano, enjoy some fresh air, happy kids, and a Bloody Mary.
Central Market is more than just a trip to the grocery store. They pride themselves on the experience and it does not disappoint. Fresh, healthy foods with much of it made inside the barn-like building, the kids can grab prepared foods from the café and wolf it down outside at the picnic tables. While they play in the barnyard-themed playground, you can drink some strong coffee and scroll Facebook, basking in this #MomWin of a kid-friendly place to eat.
Need some quality time with your partner? Grab one of their chef-created dinner for two deals, give the kids their tablets and a box of cereal, and relax. You’ve earned it.
About 15 minutes away in Allen, Texas, you’ll find a family-friendly mecca at Hat Creek Hamburgers. Fresh Cheeseburgers & Fellowship is the credo of founder, Drew Gressett. He started this dream as a food truck and it’s growing everyday. With playgrounds in full view of the outdoor dining areas, this is pure genius. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as beer, wine, and specialty milkshakes. Like I said. Mecca.
Best Hotels in Plano for Kids
Homewood Suites by Hilton has one or two bedroom suites with complimentary Wi-Fi so everyone can get some space after a long Texas day. Feed the family daily for free with the hot full breakfast. There’s even a free Evening Social offered Monday through Thursdays. Plus there’s a basketball court, an outdoor pool, and a cozy whirlpool.
Hampton Inn and Suites Dallas/Plano is within walking distance of many restaurants and minutes away from the popular Shops at Watters Creek. Send the kids back to the hotel to swim in the heated pool with dad and take the free shuttle to do some retail therapy in peace. There’s even a small putting green for guests and a splash pad by the pool for little ones. Truly family -friendly.
La Quinta by Wyndham has a very nice free breakfast buffet as well as the almighty pool to keep kids happy. There’s a small market off the lobby for suddenly-starving kids and free shuttle service to local attractions.
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