● CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE PLANO
Plano | 469/642-2901
Create melted wax spin-art and think outside the Crayon box at 22 activity stations inside Crayola’s new family attraction, open every day of the year at The Shops at Willow Bend.
● DALLAS ARBORETUM
Dallas | 214/515-6615
Reconnect with nature on a stroll through the manicured flower gardens overlooking White Rock Lake, learn about the life and earth sciences through play in the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, and mark your calendars for the Dallas Blooms festival each spring, elaborate pumpkin displays in the fall and unmatched holiday exhibits.
● FAIR PARK
Dallas | 214/421-9600
This art deco venue is not only home to the State Fair of Texas each fall but also to special events all year, Broadway musicals at the Music Hall and permanent family attractions like the Children’s Aquarium and Texas Discovery Gardens.
● FORT WORTH BOTANIC GARDEN
Fort Worth | 817/392-5510
Stroll through the Japanese Garden or Native Texas Boardwalk (educational stations along the way) at your leisure, and come back for children’s programming held in the Backyard Vegetable Garden and other areas in partnership with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.
● FORT WORTH NATURE CENTER & REFUGE
Fort Worth | 817/392-7410
Explore more than 20 miles of trails, sign up for a guided hike or kayak trip, and attend family programs about local wildlife at one of the country’s largest city-owned nature centers. Don’t forget to visit the bison herd.
● FORT WORTH STOCKYARDS
Fort Worth | 817/624-4741
Here’s how Cowtown stays true to its reputation: with the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive of Texas longhorns, the Cattlepen Maze, weekend rodeos and more family-friendly entertainment such as goat yoga.
● GONDOLA ADVENTURES
Irving | 972/506-8037
For date night with your better half or a special treat for the kids, hop in for this Texas-version of a Venetian boat ride, steered by gondoliers through Irving’s Mandalay Canal.
● KLYDE WARREN PARK
Dallas | 214/716-4500
Enjoy an ever-changing roster of always-free entertainment for kids and adults at the urban bridge park, built over the freeway and bridging downtown to Uptown. In the summer, bring swimsuits for the interactive fountains in the Children’s Park. Open daily from 6am–11pm.
● LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER
Grapevine | 469/444-3050
Experience those tiny blocks on a grand scale inside Legoland, open daily with 12 family attractions including a 4D theater and the summertime Pirate Beach splash pad, plus frequent special events starring master model builders.
● MEDIEVAL TIMES DINNER & TOURNAMENT
Dallas | 214/761-1801
Modern-day knights battle barbarian invaders and compete in actual jousting tournaments in a sand arena—all while you eat dinner with your hands.
● PANTHER ISLAND PAVILION
Fort Worth | 817/698-0700
Only here can you listen to live tunes from a riverfront stage while floating the river in an inner tube. Rent kayaks and water sports equipment during special events or wade in from the sandy beach that’s open daily.
● REUNION TOWER GEO-DECK
Dallas | 214/712-7040
Feel the breeze at 470 feet in the air and take in 360-degree views of the Dallas skyline—during the day to spot the landmarks or after dark to admire the city lights. Check the calendar for special events like Animal Adventures with the Dallas Zoo.
● SANDY LAKE AMUSEMENT PARK
Carrollton | 972/242-7449
This family-run theme park offers old-fashioned fun on carnival rides, a classic carousel and the mini choo-choo train March–September.
● SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS
Arlington | 817/640-8900
Claim your place in line on board the new, extraevil thrill rides in the Gotham City section of the park: the first-ever Harley Quinn Spinsanity, a gyroscope-esque ride, and the 12-story-tall Joker roller coaster. If your brood’s not tall enough yet, head to Bugs Bunny Boomtown for thrills on a small scale.
● TEXAS DISCOVERY GARDENS
Dallas | 214/428-7476
On your next visit to the two-story glass butterfly house, spend extra hours outdoors exploring the new Eco Discovery Adventure & Playscape featuring a swing bridge, rock climb and sand pit designed for preschoolers, plus educational zones throughout.
● CHILDREN’S AQUARIUM AT FAIR PARK
Dallas | 469/554-7340
Lean over the 8,000-gallon touch tank to pet cownose stingrays, watch daily feedings and visit MJ, a rare, blue-eyed loggerhead sea turtle at this aquarium designed for younger, shorter patrons and run by the Dallas Zoo.
● THE DALLAS WORLD AQUARIUM
Dallas | 214/720-2224
See exotic creatures native to Central and South America and the world over inside a warehouse-turned-rainforest in the heart of downtown Dallas.
● SEA LIFE GRAPEVINE AQUARIUM
Grapevine | 469/444-3050
In May 2018, this world-class aquarium inside Grapevine Mills (and next door to Legoland Discovery Center) debuted its allnew center for sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation,accessible as a permanent exhibit
that allows kids to role-play as rescuers.
● SEAQUEST INTERACTIVE AQUARIUM
Fort Worth | 682/235-5752
Snorkel with stingrays inside this new aquarium, open inside Ridgmar Mall since November 2017. Overnights and behind-the-scenes tours available for even more interaction with exotic creatures from the rainforest, desert and sea.
● THE ACTORS CONSERVATORY THEATRE
Lewisville | 972/436-8228
Become part of this community children’s theater by auditioning for the cast, signing up for academy classes or camps, or purchasing tickets for the season of fun plays and musicals.
● DENTON COMMUNITY THEATRE
Denton | 940/382-7014
See DCT’s youth theater program productions and Main Stage shows (some of which are kid-friendly) on stage inside the 1949 Campus Theatre venue downtown.
● GEPPETTO’S MARIONETTE THEATER
Dallas | 469/442-1925
Geppetto’s Theater keeps the marionette art form alive and thriving in Dallas at this dedicated theater in the sub-level of the Hilton Anatole. Book your tickets to see fairy-tale and holiday shows for all ages starring handcarved and hand-painted marionettes.
● IRVING ARTS CENTER
Irving | 972/252-7558
Free kids’ art programming recurs on the first Thursday and second Sunday of the month. Subscribe to the center’s e-newsletters for reminders about upcoming special performances and art gallery exhibits.
● MAINSTAGE IRVING-LAS COLINAS
Irving | 972/594-6104
The all-volunteer community theater performs a full season of comedies, dramas and musicals at the Irving Arts Center. Ratings vary by show.
● MEDICAL CITY LEWISVILLE GRAND THEATER
Lewisville | 972/219-8446
The entertainment venue in the heart of Old Town Lewisville hosts gallery art exhibits, fitness classes, live concerts, and dance and theater performances.
● STUDIO B PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Highland Village | 972/966-2787
Local kids hone their singing, dancing and acting chops in classes and camps. Watch from the audience as a family or encourage your kids to audition for roles in public performances.
● THEATRE COPPELL
Coppell | 972/745-7719
This community theater stages six shows each season, some of which are kid-friendly (past shows: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Annie) and with at least one production featuring young cast members.
Farms & Petting Zoos
● FRITZ PARK PETTING FARM
Irving | 972/721-2501
During the hot summer, give your kids their animal fix at this free, shaded petting zoo, a tradition since 1970. Open only in June and July.
● LATTE DA DAIRY
Flower Mound | 817/490-5004
In spring and fall, meet Latte Da’s family of dairy goats when the working farm opens to the public for tours.
● LAVENDER RIDGE FARMS
Gainesville | 940/665-6938
Breathe in the naturally scented air at this pick-your-own farm specializing in lavender, cut flowers and herbs one hour north of Dallas-Fort Worth. Open Friday–Sunday from 9am–5pm; 11am–3pm for the café with screened-in patio seating.
● NASH FARM
Grapevine | 817/410-3185
Pay a visit to the sheep and turkeys that live outside this restored 1869 farmhouse and farmstead lovingly maintained by real farmhands. Learn about 19th-century life through hands-on programming led by costumed docents.
● TEXAS TULIPS
Pilot Point | 940/230-6512
At the end of February, this family-owned farm with Dutch roots opens for tulip picking until mid-April. Bring a picnic to enjoy after you wander the rows of more than 90 tulip varieties.
● DENTON COUNTY MUSEUMS
Denton | 940/349-2850
Discover local history with guided or self-guided tours through the Bayless-Selby House and Quakertown House at the historical park on Mulberry Street and through the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum.
● DENTON FIREFIGHTERS’ MUSEUM
Denton | 940/349-8840
Try on an actual firefighter’s uniform and take an up-close look at antiquated gear and memorabilia dating back 150 years on display in the lobby of the historic Central Fire Station.
● AMON CARTER MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
Fort Worth | 817/738-1933
Admission is always free for children’s programming, special events outside on the lawn and access to the permanent collection, and special exhibits featuring photography, paintings and sculpture.
● CROW COLLECTION OF ASIAN ART
Dallas | 214/979-6430
The free arts-district destination takes on a new name—the Crow Museum of Asian Art—in October 2018 after the completion of a multimillion-dollar expansion featuring a new gallery, a reimagined Lotus Shop and an interactive “street-side” art studio.
● DALLAS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM
Dallas | 214/741-7500
Learn the significance of events on April 19, 1943, in the museum’s permanent exhibition, One Day in the Holocaust. Across the street, construction continues on the new 51,000-square-foot Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum coming fall 2019.
● DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART
Dallas | 214/922-1200
Download the DMA app for quick reference to the art museum’s special exhibits and robust programming for children and families, including the monthly Late Nights. Free admission to the permanent collection and most exhibits.
● EXPLORIUM DENTON
Denton | 940/595-4001
Though permitting has caused multiple delays in construction, keep this one on your radar and take a peek at the rendering online. The Explorium Denton Children’s Museum will open in North Denton as an educational play space with themed stations and space for birthday parties.
● FORT WORTH MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & HISTORY
Fort Worth | 817/255-9300
General admission covers access to nearly every attraction including special exhibits, the children’s museum and the new DinoGlow, where kids can create their own dinosaur on a 3D canvas using touch-screen controls.
● KIMBELL ART MUSEUM
Fort Worth | 817/332-8451
Marvel at masterpieces (including the museum’s architecture) on your next visit to see special exhibits or during the kids’ workshops inside the Piano Pavilion Education Studios.
● THE MODERN ART MUSEUM OF FORT WORTH
Fort Worth | 817/738-9215
Expand your mind with all sorts of art forms on display at this uber-modern art venue. Free Sunday admission and half-price Wednesdays resume in September 2018 after the closing of Takashi Murakami – The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg.
● THE MUSTANGS OF LAS COLINAS MUSEUM & SCULPTURE
Las Colinas | 972/869-9047
The wild horses of Texas live on forever in this life-size bronze sculpture of nine galloping mustangs near Lake Carolyn. Head inside the free museum to watch short films and learn more about how the statues were made.
● NASHER SCULPTURE CENTER
Dallas | 214/242-5100
Target First Saturdays mean prime time for families to come discover the Nasher. Explore a new “big idea” each month through an age-appropriate art project and full schedule of free family fun from 10am–2pm.
● PEROT MUSEUM OF NATURE & SCIENCE
Dallas | 214/428-5555
Conduct fun experiments during Discovery Days on the second Saturday of each month (except December), and on any day, explore the Moody Family Children’s Museum and 11 exhibit halls, including the newly renovated Being Human Hall.
● TEXAS FIRST LADIES HISTORIC COSTUME COLLECTION
Denton | 940/898-3644
Texas Woman’s University owns a collection of nearly 50 well-preserved gowns worn by the current and former first ladies of Texas dating back to the 1800s.
● GRAPEVINE VINTAGE RAILROAD
Grapevine | 817/410-3123
Take a one-hour excursion or a round trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards on board a vintage locomotive. Each spring, Thomas the Tank Engine stops in Grapevine for themed rides and extra family fun, and start planning in fall for holiday rides on the North Pole Express.
● MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN RAILROAD
Frisco | 214/428-0101
Call ahead for a guided walking tour of the vintage train car collection stationed behind the Frisco Discovery Center, and indoors experience the TrainTopia model train exhibit, expected to open summer 2018.
● COWTOWN COLISEUM
Fort Worth | 817/625-1025
Inside the world’s first indoor rodeo arena, brave kids take on mutton bustin’, and die-hard cowboys and cowgirls compete every weekend in the Stockyards Championship Rodeo and put on historic reenactments of Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show.
● FORT WORTH STOCK SHOW & RODEO
Fort Worth | 817/877-2400
The three-week rodeo festival returns every January and February to the Will Rogers Memorial Center as Cowtown’s biggest attraction, including the All-Western Parade through downtown Fort Worth, Kids Gone Wild Day and endless family fun.
● NORTH TEXAS FAIR & RODEO
Denton | 940/387-2632
Sign up in advance for the mutton bustin’ competition open to kids ages 3–7, and enjoy live country music, carnival rides and the kids’ tractor pull at Denton’s annual rodeo festival in August.
● AT&T STADIUM
Arlington | 817/892-5000
Cheer on the Dallas Cowboys from the stands inside this world-class NFL stadium with a glass retractable roof and mega screen over the field. Look forward soon to a new entertainment venue opening later in 2018 between AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park called Texas Live!
● DR PEPPER BALLPARK
Frisco | 972/731-9200
What could be more satisfying for sports fans than relaxing in the stands at a Frisco RoughRiders minor league game? That would be floating in the Choctaw Lazy River behind the outfield at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Single-game tickets available on Thursdays and Sundays.
● GLOBE LIFE PARK
Arlington | 817/273-5222
A family trip to the Texas Rangers’ ballpark is incomplete without a stop at the kids zone playground. Stay tuned for the $1.1 billion Globe Life Field (sporting a retractable roof!) coming in 2021, and Texas Live!, an entertainment venue set to open in 2018.
● LONE STAR PARK
Grand Prairie | 972/263-7223
Whether you come to play the ponies or purely to admire their speed and agility, kids are welcome at the racetrack, offering bounce houses and a petting zoo during the thoroughbred racing season April–July. Check the schedule for special events, such as exotic animal races with camels, ostriches and zebras, and a July Fourth fireworks show.
● THE STAR IN FRISCO
Frisco | 972/497-4800
The world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys is no mere administrative center but a whole entertainment district lined with restaurants and shops, the Omni hotel, green space and the Ford Center, a state-of-the-art indoor football stadium.
● TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Fort Worth | 817/215-8500
Feel the stands shake from the vibrations of pro NASCAR drivers speeding around the 1.5- mile oval. Download the mobile app for schedules, maps and news about driver appearances and autograph sessions prior to the race.
● EPIC WATERS INDOOR WATERPARK
Grand Prairie | 972/337-3131
Swim year-round at the world’s largest indoor water park under a single curved retractable roof. The aptly named Epic Waters, which debuted in December 2017, features 11 slides, a two-lane FlowRider surfing simulator, a lazy river and the Rascal’s Round-Up children’s splash area.
● HAWAIIAN FALLS
Garland | 972/675-8888
Mansfield | 817/853-0050
Roanoke | 817/853-0099
The Colony | 972/370-4327
Adrenaline junkies welcome on Hawaiian Falls’ epic water slides, like the four-storyhigh Torpedo and the Hawaiian Halfpipe. For all-ages thrills closer to the ground, splash around the geysers, pulleys and water buckets at Keiki Kove.
● NRH2O FAMILY WATER PARK
North Richland Hills | 817/427-6500
In additional to mega thrill rides (and more serene scenes like the pool’s sand beach), NRH2O hosts special events all summer, from fireworks and zoo animal visits to movies over the wave pool.
● SIX FLAGS HURRICANE HARBOR
Arlington | 817/640-8900
As of May 2018, the largest water park in North Texas stretches even bigger with the new Splashwater Beach, a tropical oasis with nearly 40 interactive water features for young children and an additional lounge space for families.
● DALLAS ZOO
Dallas | 469/554-7500
You could justifiably spend half the day inside the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo, but don’t miss out on the Simmons Hippo Outpost, opened last year. For closer encounters, sign up for a Backstage Safari with penguins and African elephants.
● FORT WORTH ZOO
Fort Worth | 817/759-7555
Visit the Safari Splash park (open all summer) and the new African Savanna exhibit, featuring over- and underwater viewing of the hippos’ lazy river and an elevated deck for giraffe feeding.
● FRANK BUCK ZOO
Gainesville | 940/668-4539
Visit cheetahs, foxes, hedgehogs and more exotic species at this zoo open daily yearround and located about 30 miles north of Denton. Kids age 6 and older are welcome to feed flamingos by hand during special experiences (max of five people per day).
● SHARKAROSA WILDLIFE RANCH
Pilot Point | 940/686-4600
Hop on the safari tram ride to see camels, zebra and more. Open year-round on Saturday and Sunday, grab dinner at the Bears Den, the zoo’s very own pizza place with a direct view of rescued black bears Barnaby and Bailey.