We have now lived in this city for just over 9 months. With summer upon us, we have been researching and buying season passes, finding things that we would enjoy as a family.
And, at long last, I feel like we finally have a handle on some of the fun activities for kids in Dallas! If our kids were a little bit older (pre-teens) there would be a world of other options, but these are the things that we will be utilizing this summer. You can too, if you ever want to visit!
Here is our list:
Dallas Zoo: I put this one at the top of the list because we were just there on a 90+ day, and it was so shaded that it was totally doable for all but the hottest days this summer! They have different rotating exhibits (currently they have a Jurassic Park one!), and a family membership is really reasonably priced and comes with free parking. The park is HUGE (I’ve been to San Francisco’s and Sacramento’s for comparison) and has water misters and fans everywhere if you need them!
The Arboretum/Children’s Garden: This place is amazing. We just upgraded our general Arboretum membership to include the Children’s Garden because it is just a mile away from our house and we go all of the time. The Children’s Garden is full of fun hands-on and educational activities for kids, and even has a splash pad! They do homeschool/story reading events year round as well. They even have a giant Disneyland-esque treehouse!
Our FAVORITE part about the Arboretum right now is the underground parking garage across the street. It’s free (with membership) and has an underground walkway that takes you right to the front entrance. When you come back to your car after a hot day, it’s still nice and cool inside!
Trolley Rides in Uptown: Our kids love riding the free trolleys in Uptown, and they’re kind of a neat stroll through history at the same time! The line begins at Uptown Station near Lemmon Ave. and loops all the way through downtown and then back up again. We like to park right near the Dog Park on Lemmon, watch the trolley arrive and use the turntable, then we jump on and ride it to Klyde Warren or any fun place we’re eating at in the West Village or Uptown!
Covered Parks: We all know that even a slightly sunny day can make slides really hot for little kids. Luckily, Dallas has lots of parks completely covered by awnings! Our favorite right now is Reverchon (which is also right on the Katy Trail, a long shaded trail that runs through Dallas!)
Super Hot Day:
In Dallas, July/August and the first half of September are high 90s temps and miserable for the outdoors unless you’re in some sort of water. Luckily, Dallas has a TON of free/cheap stuff to do!
YMCA: We just joined our neighborhood YMCA because their pool has a large shallow area/splash pad/slide area! For the price of our gym membership (that comes with free childcare, parents-night-outs-babysitting, and sports league discounts), we have a “waterpark” just down the road!
Klyde Warren Park: This park is the #1 free place to go when it’s hot. They have several giant splash pad areas, along with a shaded playground that is all gated. And the food trucks/live music almost every night a week are an added bonus for parents! Parking is a bit tricky, but if you park far away the free trolley line will take you right to the park (and back again).
Community pools/splashpads: Dallas has several free community pools and splash pads at several of their parks. We haven’t been to them yet, but I’m guessing they will be a bit crowded on super hot days! Still, I’m keeping it on the list 🙂
Burger’s Lake: This is in Fort Worth, and a little pricey at $10-15/person. Still, it sounds awesome, so if we’re ever in the mood to splurge we’ll probably try it. There are slides, sandy beaches, and even a trapeze! You can bring your own picnic and grill too!
Bad weather (too hot, snow, thunderstorms or rain):
Galleria Mall: Just outside of Nordstroms on the 3rd level is a HUGE indoor kids playspace! It’s built for ages 6 and under, which might be a limitation for some. For us, it’s the perfect set-up– my friends and I bring our coffee and sit on the benches in the cool air-conditioned indoors while we watch the kids play! Win!
If your kids are older, there’s a large year-round ice skating rink inside too!
Northpark Mall: This mall is where friends and I go to walk around (they have a “stroller/fitness” trail!) and let the boys play with legos at the Lego Store. They have a small library within the mall (how cool is that?) where they do puppet shows and story times daily! The entire mall is fashioned as a giant rectangle with a large lawn area in the middle for kids to run around on. They also have a free Mommy and Me yoga class!
The Perot Museum: We are going to wait until our kids are a bit older to get a membership here, but we hear that it’s awesome. The basement level is all for kids, and they even had a Sherlock Holmes exhibit where you have to find clues and solve a mystery! They have a ton of science and summer camps for kids.
Indoor Trampoline Park/Arcade: This one is little too old for our kids, so it wouldn’t be worth the money for us until they are older. But it looks like something for us to keep in mind in a few years!
For lots of other activities (including the best arcades, orchard picking, and even river rafting!) here’s a good list.