Dallas is the third largest city in Texas and has a completely different feel than its nearby neighbors – Fort Worth and Grapevine.
Here are 12 of the city’s best kid-friendly places, spaces and activities.
Popular Attractions with CityPASS
We are big fans of CityPASS and families visiting Dallas can check off 4 popular attractions for just $47 USD per adult and $31 USD per child (3 to 12 years old).
Since there are 5 attractions to choose from, here are our recommendations for the 4 you should check out if you have kids 12 years old or younger.
1. Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Race a Tyrannosaurus Rex, build a remote-control car, stand on an earthquake simulator, watch a tornado – this museum can easily take an entire afternoon to finish. While most of the museum is aimed at the 6 and older set, children 5 and under will love the Moody Family Children’s Museum on the lower level.
There’s water play tables, sandboxes, a child-size campsite and a Dallas Farmer’s Market to keep young ones entertained and busy. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is worth a visit even if you don’t plan on heading inside – the architecture of the building is impressive and the small park outside the main entrance is fun for the kids.
2. Dallas Zoo
The Dallas Zoo is the largest zoological experience in the Lone Star State. With over 100 acres and 2000 animals, the Dallas Zoo is a good way to spend a morning or afternoon while learning about wildlife conservation and preserving endangered species.
3. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
This historic site covers the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. The Sixth Floor Museum was the former Texas School Book Depository building and much the of space still looks the way it did in the 1960s. Older kids that are into history will enjoy this the most. Family guided tours are available for those with younger children. The museum is wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly.
4. Reunion Tower
If you are looking for a spectacular view of the city, Reunion Tower is the perfect place to take the kids. Go up to the top and take pictures and view the entire city from this landmark observation platform. There are interactive screens for visitors to locate points of interest. If you want to see the skyline at its best, visit just before sunset or in the evening.
Free Kid-Friendly Activities in Dallas
5. Dallas Museum of Art
Located across the street from Klyde Warren Park is the Dallas Museum of Art. Located in the Dallas Arts District, this museum has an interactive kids area and admission is free.
6. McKinney Avenue Trolley
Four restored vintage trolley cars (Rosie, Matilda, Petunia, Miss Daisy and Green Dragon) allow visitors to explore historic Uptown Dallas for free. The McKinney Avenue Trolley service (also known as the M-Line) runs 365 days a year with stops at some of Dallas’ popular sites including Klyde Warren Park.
7. Klyde Warren Park
Built above a highway between Downtown and Uptown Dallas, Klyde Warren Park offers families a morning or afternoon of fun – for free!
There’s a children’s area with jungle gym and splash pad, putting green, ping pong tables and various lawn games to keep the family busy while enjoying the outdoors. There are a variety of dining options- food trucks line the edge of the park and there’s several restaurants if you are looking for a meal indoors.
8. Pioneer Plaza
Interested in seeing a cattle drive but don’t have time to visit the Fort Worth Stockyards? Head to Pioneer Plaza where there’s a re-creation of a cattle drive done with over 70 bronze statues.
Located adjacent to the Dallas Convention Center, families can pose with the statues (some which are placed on hills and crossing a stream) and check out the waterfall and man-made cliffs.
9. Dallas “Big Things Happen Here”
Visitors walking around Dallas may see large B & G letters around the city. This is part of the Dallas Convention & Visistors Bureau’s “Big Things Happen Here” campaign. Visitors are invited to be the “I” in BIG and share on social media networks using the hashtag #DallasBIG.
If you’re looking for the exact locations of the B & G letters, you can find them all here.
Other Notable Places and Spaces
10. Dallas World Aquarium
This popular downtown attraction is more than just an aquarium. Spanning 3 buildings, the Dallas World Aquarium is a zoological park where kids can learn about sea creatures, reptiles, penguins, and life in the rain forest.
Open daily from 10AM to 5PM (except Christmas and Thanksgiving), it gets extremely busy on weekends. If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to go early in the morning closer to opening.
11. NorthPark Center
Although shopping malls are normally not on my recommendation lists for parents with young children, NorthPark Center offers several unique experiences families can enjoy. The artwork found throughout the mall are larger than life and is a big draw for tourists passing through the area.
This luxury mall exhibits pieces by renowned artists including Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Joel Shapiro and Beverly Pepper. Popular spots for preschoolers include Bookmarks (the first children’s library to be located in a U.S. shopping center), an indoor turtle and duck pond (near Tiffany & Co) and the outdoor CenterPark Garden.
12. Trinity Groves
For foodie families, Trinity Groves is a must-do when in Dallas. This 15-acre dining and entertainment complex offers one-of-kind dining experiences.
All the restaurants here go through a Shark Tank style application process – chefs and restaurant entrepreneurs come up with a concept, theme and menu – and if approved the Trinity Groves team helps with staffing, design and financial investment in exchange for a 50% ownership. Food is guaranteed to be good here!
Have a few extra hours or days free? Make sure you check out some of our Fort Worth and Grapevine recommendations – both are a short drive away from Dallas.
For more fun things to do with kids in Dallas, head to Visit Dallas and Texas Tourism.
Max Distro says
Im originally from the DFW area but havent been back in years. I would love to visit some of these beautiful locations on my next trip to Dallas. Im so glad to see the artwork, and architecture that Dallas has invested in over the years. My parents both worked for the city or Dallas, planning and engineering, many years ago.
Glad you brought up the artwork and architecture point, Max. That’s what I noticed the most during my time in Dallas – there’s artwork almost everywhere you go. I hope you’ll be able to visit Dallas soon.
I loved visiting Dallas. The city has so much to offer. My son and I stayed at the Magnolia Hotel downtown- it was a lovely boutique property. We enjoyed the Sixth Floor Museum.
Thanks for the tips Tonya. I’ll have to check out the Magnolia Hotel next time. I heard quite a bit about the Sixth Floor Museum and would recommend it to parents with older kids.
This such a great list of great things to do around Dallas. The Dallas World Aquarium is where my wife and I had our first date so that one holds a special place for me. I would also recommend the Continental Street Bridge which has right there by Trinity Groves.