It’s that time of year again: spring break! If you want to avoid long lines, airport meltdowns, sand and sunburns while still giving your kids an amazing school-free week—look no further. Consider us your travel planners to the ultimate Dallas Fort-Worth staycation!
The best part: each daily itinerary is mapped according to your kid’s interests in Dallas or Fort Worth, so it’s an easy drive home if things go south. (If you want a staycation away from home, check out our side bar the coolest kid-approved hotels in the Metroplex!)
Spend just one day or the whole week exploring the greatest destinations in art, culture and nature. Need more options? Check out our list of spring break camps.
ART & MUSEUMS
Inspire your precocious Picassos and kiddie Kandinskys with a day devoted to the arts.
Kids can explore the universe without ever leaving the ground, thanks to the city’s many science museums. Start your day at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The museum is offering spring break programming March 9-17 as part of their Art of the Brick exhibition, with daily on-theme crafts, story times and science shows throughout the museum. On select times during the week, kids can also get their hands in activities themed after Superhero Science, Fire and Ice, plus inspect fossils in new Paleo Lab. If your kiddos want some history with a side of fries, check out the music artifacts on display at the Hard Rock Café. Otherwise, grab some tacos at El Fenix or explore the food trucks at Klyde Warren Park.
For the arts-loving tot, plan your day across the street at the Dallas Museum of Art, which is hosting free spring break activities March 12-15. Kids can join story time, gallery tours and plenty of craft classes. If your little ones are not too exhausted, drop by the neighboring Nasher Sculpture Center. Explore the current exhibitions, Sterling Ruby: Sculpture and Foundations: Sterling Ruby, featuring stand-out, larger-than-life pieces, such as a large mobile with random hanging items.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
2201 N. Field St., Dallas; 214/428-5555
Admission: adults ($20), youth 2-12 ($13)
Art of the Brick: adults ($10), youth 2-12 ($8)
Hard Rock Café
2211 N. Houston St., Dallas; 469/341-7625
1601 McKinney Ave., Dallas; 214/747-1121
Klyde Warren Park
2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy., Dallas; 214/716-4500
Dallas Museum of Art
1717 N. Harwood St., Dallas; 214/922-1200
Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora St., Dallas; 214/242-5100
Admission: adults ($10), youth under 12 (Free)
Cowtown is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best places to see art in the country. A day museum hopping is easy in Fort Worth, as a bulk of museums are within walking distance from each other—the only problem is which destinations to choose!
To inspire your mini Monets, begin at the Kimbell Art Museum. Be sure to drop by the Kahn Building information desk and say the magic phrase “Kimbell Kids” and a museum rule (here’s one for free: don’t touch the art!) for a free sticker. Swing by Steel City Pops or Sweet Sammies—both are a 10-minute walk from Kimbell—to grab a cool treat before you make your way over to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The Modern is offering a Spring Break Wonders program March 11-14, where kids can join in on hands-on projects themed after the museum’s collection and a docent-led tour. Plus, kiddos get a free sketchbook at the admission desk.
There’s plenty of history in Fort Worth—from its cattle-ranchin’ Stockyards days to even millions of years back when dinosaurs roamed Cowtown. Educate your little ones about the city’s rich past with a day at Fort Worth’s historic museums. Tip your hat to the western women celebrated at the National Cowgirl Museum, then make your way over to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Exhibits DinoLabs and DinoDig allow kiddos to get to know the prehistoric creatures discovered in North Texas and even try to dig for fossils like the official Texas State Dinosaur, Paluxysaurus jonesi.
For kids who are out-of-this-world, visit the Noble Planetarium at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, then hop in the car for a 20-minute drive over to the Vintage Flying Museum. Learn about aviation history and tour planes that flew in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam era. Be sure to check out the nearby Fort Worth Aviation Museum, which offers a “petting zoo” of 26 North Texas aircrafts that date from 1943 to the present.
Kimbell Art Museum
3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; 817/332-8451
General admission: free
Admission to special exhibitions: adults ($18), youth 6-11 ($14), youth under 6 (free)
Steel City Pops
908 Currie St., Fort Worth; 817/381-7791
825 Currie St., Fort Worth; 817/332-0022
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth; 817/738-9215
Admission: adults ($16), youth under 18 (free)
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth; 817/255-9300
Admission: adults ($16), youth 2-18 ($13)
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
1720 Gendy St., Fort Worth; 817/336-4475
Admission: adults ($5) youth 4-12 ($3.50) youth 3 and under (free)
Vintage Flying Museum
505 NW 38th St. Hangar 33 South, Fort Worth; 817/624-1935
Admission: adults ($10), teens ($8) youth 6-13 ($5), youth under 6 (free)
Fort Worth Aviation Museum
3300 Ross Ave., Fort Worth; 855/733-8627
Admission: adults ($7), youth 6-16 ($2), youth under 6 (free)
CULTURE & HISTORY
Experience the rich culture deep in the heart of Texas.
Families can learn about one of the sadder chapters in Dallas history by taking a tour of Dealey Plaza before visiting The Sixth Floor Museum. Then, expand your horizons by taking in the cityscape views at the GeO-Deck at the nearby Reunion Tower. Be sure to check out the GeO-Deck’s new interactive experience: the Reunion Tower Constellation. This allows visitors to add their names to one of the constellation stars—your little ones will leave knowing they’ve left their mark 470 feet up in the air.
To see the city from another perspective—and to get your steps in for the day!—take a guided tour of Dallas architecture. Walking tours are available for the historic Dallas Arts District and Main Street District, as well as the ‘birthplace’ of Dallas, the West End District. Children under 12 are welcome and can take the tour free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Just a few blocks down from the iconic West End District sign is the Old Red Museum. The Old Red’s building is a historic piece itself, once serving as the Dallas County Courthouse back in 1892. Your kiddos can choose from 49 interactive computer models that take them through the museum and touch on different pieces of Dallas history.
If you and your clan would like to venture a little out of the downtown-Dallas area, make a pilgrimage to the Bishop Arts District. Though the neighborhood dates back to the 1930s, it’s become trendy yet again thanks to plenty of independently owned shops and eateries. Cap off your day by scoring a coveted seat for your brood at the popular Oddfellows or strolling through DFW Mantiques, where all kinds of antiques and knickknacks are sold, including toys.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
411 Elm St., Dallas; 214/747-6660
Admission: adults ($16), youth 6-18 ($13), youth 0-5 (free)
Reunion Tower GeO-Deck
300 Reunion Blvd., Dallas; 214/712-7040
Admission: adults ($17), youth 4-12 ($8)
Architecture Tour of Dallas
Admission: adults ($15), youth under 12 (free)
*Private tours require a $100 minimum
The Old Red Museum
100 S. Houston St. Dallas; 214/745-1100
Admission: adults ($10), youth 3-16 ($7), youth under 3 (free)
The Bishop Arts District
419 N. Bishop Ave., Dallas
316 W. 7th St., Dallas; 214/944-5958
You could spend a whole day in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square and never be bored. With 21 stores, 34 restaurants and 17 cultural attractions and events, the possibilities are quite endless. Venture half a block north of the Square and enjoy fun events just for your little ones like Sid’s Story Time at the Sid Richardson Museum, featuring There Once was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant. This free event for ages 3-8 is on March 14.
If you and your brood are in the mood for something a little more rustic, dress your little ones in their cowboy boots and hats and head to the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, only five minutes away from the Square. The Stockyards’ history dates back to 1866, when herdsmen brought in cattle through the city—it’s been called Cowtown ever since. Then reward them with candy from The Candy Barrel Store. And, for more fun history lessons take your kids to see one of the early fire stations in Fort Worth dating back to 1907.
201 Main St, Fort Worth; 817/255-5700
Sid Richardson Museum
309 Main St., Fort Worth; 817/332-6554
Fort Worth Stockyards
130 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth; 817/624-4741
Fire Station No. 1
215 Commerce St., Fort Worth
Kiddos will love communing with nature in the urban jungle.
Katy Trail has long been a favorite way to get around Dallas. Park along Knox Street and grab a bite to eat (we recommend the chips and queso at the Katy Trail Ice House) before making your way to the trail. Plenty of bike-share cycles line the path available for rent, or enjoy the stroll from the north to south end of the park.
Do your kiddos still have an itch for fun in the sun? Just 20 minutes by car is the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Their spring lineup includes Mommy & Me Mondays and Tiny Tot Tuesdays for little ones, and weekly garden tours and concert series for the whole family to enjoy.
If your little ones are curious about life under the sea, take a trip to the Dallas World Aquarium. Check the feeding schedule online to plan when your kid’s favorite sea creatures—like otters, penguins and sharks—will chow down.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
8525 Garland Rd., Dallas; 214/515-6615
Admission: adults ($15), youth 3-12 ($10)
Dallas World Aquarium
1801 N. Griffin St., Dallas; 214/720-2224
Admission: adults ($21), youth 2-12 ($15), youth under 2 (free)
Start your day in bloom at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. March 15-23 marks the inaugural Bats in the Garden, a live animal program that teaches kids about these nocturnal creatures. Though most of the garden is free admission, this special event runs $15 for adults and $10 for youth 3-15. After buzzing about the garden, drive 10 minutes to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Kids will be amazed walking on water at the wonderful Philip Johnson-designed urban park, featuring three different pools of water (quiet, aerating and active).
Consider spending the day at the Fort Worth Zoo. Practice your best animal sounds during the road trip over there so that your brood can visit with the over 540 species currently living at the Zoo. If the weather is nice enough, be sure to pack swimsuits—the Safari Splash offers 14,000 square feet of aquatic fun for kiddos, while Mom can relax on a shaded lounge chair.
Fort Worth Botanic Garden
3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth; 817-392-5510
Fort Worth Water Gardens
1502 Commerce St., Fort Worth; 817/392-7111
Fort Worth Zoo
Admission: adults ($16), youth 3-12 ($12), plus $5 for Safari Splash entry
This article was originally published in March 2018, with updates this year.