Dallas (Big D) & Surrounding Cities (The Metroplex)

by Kate Murphy

Editor’s Note: Top Twelve Travel Tipsheet is a series on favorite FAMILY-FRIENDLY places and activities outside Houston. Kate Murphy is a Houston SuperMom with one daughter. She lived in the Dallas area, in Richardson, before moving to Houston. She attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.


8525 Garland Road, Dallas, 214-515-6500
This 66-acre array of gardens invites all ages to come and enjoy beautiful flowers, art and explore the knowledge of horticulture. There are several dining areas to choose from but check times especially during festivals or you can bring your own food and have a picnic amongst the manicured and diverse plant life throughout the many gardens.


1800 East Lamar Boulevard, Arlington, 817-265-3356
You can surely beat the heat by heading to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park. You can soak up the sun, head to Boogie Beach with the little ones or dare to attempt “The Dive Bomber” opening up this summer along with at least 20 more slides and rides to choose from. Plus Six Flags Park is just down the street with roller coasters, shows and much more.


1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, 817-778-1000
Further north of Dallas, in Grapevine stay a night or weekend at the Gaylord Texan’s western-themed 10-acre resort pool & 600-ft lazy river complex called Paradise Springs. Rated #1 Top Aquatic resort in Water parks and Resorts Today in 2011. The complex has golf, a European-inspired spa, six restaurants, seven lounges and a game pavilion that offers bocce ball, croquet, tossers, shuffleboard, and a large campfire pit.


3701 S. Custer, McKinney, 972-369-0874
The Storybook Ranch just might be the place to spark your adventurous side. The ranch has horse camps, lesson, trail- rides and campfires. There is a weight and age requirement on some activities so call and check before you head out there. Storybook Ranch has also been hosting parties, picnics and intimate gathering for over 20 years and hopes to keep the Old West alive.


National Historic District, Fort Worth, 817-624-4741
From Championship rodeo to Cowtown Cattlepen Maze on to the Stockyards Stables or the Petting Zoo, the Fort Worth Stockyards has a full day of attractions and entertainment. With lots of restaurants, music, animals and cowboy fun the kids won’t have a chance to get bored.


8300 East Lawther Drive, Dallas, 214-670-8740
White Rock Lake is a beautiful lake in the middle of Dallas where you can have a picnic, take a boat ride or even volunteer on Second Saturday Spruce up to help keep the park clean. The park is home to over seven playgrounds, a dog park and nature trails. Spend a day in nature at White Rock Lake.


1010 S. Pearl Expressway, Dallas, 214-670-5880
The year-round farmer’s market is a fabulous place to take your kids to sample and pick out some delicious local produce and other delectables. The market has grown significantly over the past century to become the booming and blooming place it is today. A great place to learn where food comes from, take cooking lessons or just take a stroll through.


2001 Flora Street, Dallas, 214-242-5151
What a great place to spark the imagination with a trip to the Nasher Sculpture Center to view modern and contemporary sculptures. Its indoor galleries and outdoor sculpture garden feature a rotating selection of works. Admission is free for children under 12.


1801 North Griffin Street, Dallas, 214-720-2224
After the Nasher Sculpture Center head over to the Dallas World Aquarium and enter a different world of birds, bats, animals, amphibians and of course amazing fish and sea life. Kids can watch feedings and listen to talks on many of the species. June 8th celebrate World Oceans Day!


5938 Skillman Street, Dallas 214-740-0051
If indoor activities are more of what you have in mind, try the Dallas Children’s Theater where the plays and productions are familiar stories, literary works, histories, and biographies. The plays that are selected each season are enriching and educational. The productions promote moral integrity and social values, and reflect the cultural diversity of the community.


245 Cedar Sage Drive, Garland, 972-675-1041
A one million square foot Main Street style shopping, dining and entertainment center with a great little park for younger children to ride the train then off to Dessertapalooza only hop, skip and a jump away, where you can frost your own cupcake and add lots of toppings all while watching a movie on a giant ottoman.


6505 W. Park Boulevard, Plano, 972-378-5867
Multiple locations in the U.S. Jump, jump, jump in the morning or afternoon with endless jumping on Jumpstreets’ trampolines. Trampolines for big kids, little kids and adults. Outside trampolines, there are also mazes, an arcade, a bull ride plus many more activities.

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