Ready to get out of town? Whether you’re looking to jet away to a faraway destination or stay a little closer to home, family fun awaits you at these great escapes.
Your Next Safari is Not So Far Away
Go a little wild today at Caldwell Zoo
Walk on the wild side without wandering too far from home with a day trip to Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas. Located just east of Dallas-Fort Worth, Caldwell Zoo houses animals from around the world! Stop in at the South American Habitat to say hello to squirrel monkeys, Chilean flamingos and giant anteaters, and be sure to hit the North American Habitat to pay a visit to mountain lions, river otters and some good old Texas longhorns.
The newly remodeled African Overlook is a can’t-miss. Visitors enjoy a panoramic view of the 3-acre savanna, which is home to cheetahs, giraffes, lions, African hoof stock and an elephant. While there, fuel up with a burger or nachos at the Chakula Café, and ask for outdoor seating to look out on the African Exhibit while eating. Ready to go? Avoid the line by purchasing tickets online, and be sure to take advantage of the Zoo’s free parking.
Big Summer Fun in Your Own Backyard!
The ultimate staycation is closer than you think
Locals will not have to go far this summer to transport themselves to the ultimate summer destination at the grandest resort in the Lone Star State during Gaylord Texan Resort’s 15th annual SummerFest featuring The Smurfs! The resort features a variety of family-friendly activities and entertainment including scavenger hunts, escape rooms, canvas painting, cupcake decorating and even an interactive wizard camp! Back by popular demand, the resort will offer a series of Junior Chefs Camps led by three of Gaylord Texan’s top chefs for kids ages 8–16. During the weekends, families can experience Breakfast with The Smurfs featuring a delicious breakfast buffet, Smurfberry punch and table visits from Papa Smurf, Smurfette and Grouchy Smurf. Guests staying overnight at the resort can splash into summer at Paradise Springs, the resort’s 10-acre water park. Paradise Springs includes a 600-foot lazy river, a 6,000-square-foot family lagoon with a 27-foot-tall winding waterslide, a 25-foot-long zip line and a multilevel, Texas-themed interactive water treehouse with three winding waterslides! Don’t miss the fun happening now through September 3!
On Island Time
Enjoy an oceanfront escape without leaving Texas
An adventure fit for the whole family awaits at two of Texas’ most thrilling destinations: Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and Kemah Boardwalk! Located just south of Houston, each offers the best of nonstop fun with amusement rides, midway games, waterfront dining and specialty shopping. If you’re headed for Pleasure Pier, be sure to hit the two most popular rides, the Texas Star Flyer (towering swings that suspend you more than 230 feet above sea level!) and the Iron Shark Roller Coaster, with a 100-foot vertical lift! In Kemah, be brave on the Boardwalk Bullet Roller Coaster, or stop by the Stingray Reef at the Aquarium, where kiddos can touch and feed the stingrays. You’ll also find fish, sharks, snakes, turtles and other tropic creatures. Stick around for lunch or dinner to enjoy a meal amidst a 50,000-gallon aquarium featuring over 100 species of fish. Make the most of your trip by staying at the Boardwalk Inn in Kemah—with waterfront views and close proximity to all of the action, it’s a great home base for families with littles.
The perfect outdoorsy vacay in North Little Rock
Climb into a World War II submarine, ride vintage streetcars to two entertainment districts and cool off at Wild River Country, Arkansas’ largest water park. Burn off some energy with a guided kayak tour, ride bikes on the Arkansas River Trail or play at the 1,700-acre Burns Park, home to a new all-inclusive playground. After dinner in the Argenta Arts District, walk to The Joint Theater for a clean comedy show written by former SNL writers!
Sophisticated Charm, Big Amenities
Shop, sip and play in Grapevine
For sophisticated charm, head to Grapevine, Texas. Stroll along historic Main Street and enjoy more than 80 local shops and restaurants. Hop aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. Sip and savor along Grapevine’s Urban Winery and Craft Brewery Trail, or entertain the kids by exploring LEGOLAND® Discovery Center or SEA LIFE at Grapevine Mills. See Friday Night Fireworks over Lake Grapevine now through Labor Day. For more information about Grapevine, visit grapevinetexasusa.com.