Not long ago, I had the opportunity to meet lots of fabulous family travel bloggers, like Rebecca at R We There Yet Mom? and Jessica of Suitcases and Sippy Cups, at the Family Travel Conference in Dallas. Not only did the conference offer the opportunity to meet fellow travelers, but it opened my eyes to a city that was new to me, a city that proved to be so much more family-oriented than I expected.
Before flying in to DFW in mid-November I assumed that Dallas was all about big hair, big hats and oil wells. Toddlers & Tiaras also came to mind when I thought of Dallas. Fortunately, I quickly realized that none of these were truths when I arrived. There’s lots to do for families, and here are a few of my must-do’s for your next trip to Dallas.
Dallas Zoo: Visit with the only koalas in Texas, feed the giraffes and ride a camel. You can also take a 20-minute narrated monorail tour through six African habitats and spend time at the children’s zoo where little ones can pet baby sheep and ride ponies. The Dallas Zoo also offers overnight programs, evening hikes and even photo safaris.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center: Sure, we all know about LEGOLAND theme parks in Florida and California, but the discovery centers, which are designed to encourage hands-on play with LEGO bricks are still relatively new. Kids can visit the LEGO fire academy, join Professor Brick-a-Brack for a guided tour of the LEGO factory and build and test the strength of the tallest towers they can build.
Traveling Man Sculptures: The three Traveling Man sculptures in Dallas are made entirely out of steel and sit just outside the Deep Ellum rail station. The largest of the sculptures is 38 feet tall and weighs 35,000 pounds. Kids will love his huge guitar-shaped head, which is a nod to the community’s musical presence.
Perot Museum of Nature & Science: You and your family could easily spend the entire day here. Little ones will love the Little Urban Farm where they can learn all about the world of agriculture and how milk, vegetables and eggs make it to the table. Meanwhile, monthly Discovery Days programs engage families in learning through hands-on experiments and performances.
Mary Kay Cosmetics: Spot a pink Cadillac anywhere and you’ll instantly know that a Mary Kay saleswoman must be nearby. Head to Dallas to get your Mary Kay fix and take a tour of the plant where all those lipsticks, blushes and powders are made. Spend time in the museum to learn the Mary Kay story. Tours are offered only a few times each week, so call ahead before you visit.
Dallas World Aquarium: Various exhibits at the aquarium allow visitors to see so much more than fish. In the South Africa exhibit, families can get close to black-footed penguin. Or, head to Borneo to see Australasian birds and mammals. And, of course, the four-story, 20,000 gallon aquarium is not to be missed, especially for the walk-through tunnel exhibit in which fish swim overhead and all around.
Photo Credit: Angel McVay