When you head to the sprawling metropolis that is the Dallas Fort Worth region, the city of Grapevine is often overlooked. I’ll be honest, this city of just under 50,000 residents wasn’t on my radar – all I knew about Grapevine was that it’s home to the DFW International Airport and Great Wolf Lodge.
After spending 2 days in Grapevine, I got to see what this city offers families with young children – whether they’re passing through to get to Dallas or Fort Worth (both cities are less than an hour driving away from Grapevine) or on an extended layover.
Here’s 5 kid-friendly places and spaces in Grapevine, Texas:
Families can have fun inside the 180+ store, 1.6-million-square-foot mega mall known as Grapevine Mills. Shopping isn’t the top of my to-do list when I’m travelling with my kids but Grapevine Mills is home to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium, Bass Pro Shops and Rainforest Cafe.
Not only will young LEGO fans go home with a free souvenir LEGO piece, they’ll also have a chance to go on several rides, race LEGO car creations with other kids and watch a 4D movie in a private theater. What’s great about this LEGOLAND Discovery Center location is the outdoor splash pad.
Geared towards the 10 and under set, Pirate Beach is outfitted with water slides, multiple spray stations, and large blocks for building towers and other structures. Kids must have a change of clothes if they want to return indoors to the Discovery Center (they will not be allowed back in if they’re wet).
Located across from LEGOLAND Discovery Center, SEA LIFE Aquarium (read my review over at Moms & Munchkins). This 45,000-square-foot attractions offers families an up-close look of over 5,000 animals including sting rays, sharks, jellyfish and sea turtles.
SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium may not be the same size as what some visitors are accustomed to or expecting but this a great place to bring the kids for 1 or 2 hours. Admission coupons for SEA LIFE and LEGOLAND Discovery Center can be found in the coupon booklet at the Grapevine Mills information desk.
Bass Pro Shops is the store for families who love the great outdoors. They sell everything from tents, fishing rods, golf clubs, rain boots and boats here. Families should check out the 30,000-gallon aquarium even if they’re not in the market for outdoor gear.
Historic Downtown Grapevine
While South Main Street is geared to the adult crowd, there are several activities kids might enjoy in Historic Downtown Grapevine.
The Grapevine Glockenspiel Clock Tower features two animatronic robbers – Nat Barrett and Willy Majors – that make appearances several times a day.
The Grapevine Vintage Railroad allows guests to ride in vintage trains travelling along the Cotton Belt Route from Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Train fans will learn how the locomotives were operated years ago and how they are maintained today. If the Fort Worth Stockyards in on your to-do list, this would be a good way to get there as trains run daily from Downtown Grapevine.
Resorts with Indoor Waterparks
If your family’s visit to Grapevine includes an overnight stay, you might be interested in booking a room at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center or Great Wolf Lodge. Both hotels have waterparks which make them a favourite destination for visitors with kids.
The Gaylord Texan is home to Paradise Springs – a 10-acre indoor waterpark featuers a winding lazy river, a 6,000-square-foot family-friendly lagoon, a 27,000-foot waterslide, and a kiddie pool.
Great Wolf Lodge has over 600 suites done in a classic cabin feel – many of which include bunk beds for the kids. Their 80,000-square-foot waterpark features six pools, nine waterslides, and a lazy river. For those who want to play in the water outdoors, there’s also an 84,000-square-foot outdoor waterpark. Great Wolf Lodge offers an onsite breakfast buffet, Starbucks, a kid-only spa, and daily story time and dance party.
If your family is interested in a relaxing afternoon near the water, head to Lake Grapevine – just a short drive away from the Gaylord Texan and Great Wolf Lodge. This 8,000-acre recreational lake offers families plenty to do including boat, bike and water ski rentals, segway tours, and sunset and sunrise cruises. There’s playgrounds for little ones as well as hiking and biking trails. Pack a picnic for a fun time that everyone in the family will enjoy.
Dining with Kids in Grapevine
What would a visit to Texas be without a few good meals?
There’s Rainforest Cafe (American fare) at Grapevine Mills, and several kid-friendly spots in Historic Downtown – A.J.’s on Main (BBQ), Main Street Bistro & Bakery (French cuisine and pastries), and Napoli’s Italian Cafe (Italian food and gelato).
Getting Around Grapevine, Texas
Families don’t need to worry about renting a car in Grapevine. The Grapevine Visitors Shuttle will take tourists to and from hotels, attractions and restaurants several times a day, seven days a week. Day passes are $5/person or $10/family. For schedule times and routes, click here.
*Thanks to Grapevine CVB and Texas Tourism for showing me around Grapevine, Texas.