here’s adventure around every corner at the Old Red Courthouse in downtown Dallas. Although it was built in 1892, this 119-year-old building isn’t a piece of dead history; through amazing renovations and displays it has come back to life, and it’s a fantastic place to bring the kiddos for a mid-week or weekend field trip! The courthouse is dedicated to inspiring and educating citizens of all ages on the rich history of Dallas.
From hands-on sensory exhibits and a restored courtroom to an entire area dedicated to kids and their amazing imaginations, you and your children can have a memorable time discovering all the Old Red Courthouse Museum has to offer.
While the first-floor exhibits are ever-changing based on the season, the entire second floor of this historic building is dedicated to exhibits such as the Early Years (prehistory to 1873), the Trading Center (1874 to 1917), Big “D” (1918 to 1945) and World Crossroads (1946 to 2007). All the exhibits are visual in nature, and there are movie theaters that go along with each section, offering a chance to rest weary feet for an 8-to-10-minute movie about each era. Little TVs and “listening” spots are set up throughout each exhibit for curious little minds to delve into history, and activity carts line the walls with interactive elements that give a hands-on look at what that era would have looked, felt and smelled like – from lavender soaps to original stones used to make the building.
Engage With History
For a chance to interact with history, the Old Red Courthouse Museum created a room designed specifically with kids in mind: the Crystal Charity Ball Children’s Education Center. This room celebrates Dallas County’s rich heritage with toys from long ago that children can play with; dress-up clothes from each era; and 12 TEKS-based touch-screens to let children interact with history. Everything from pioneer life, toys and games and even modern culture are up for grabs.
Tour With A Group
If you get a group of 20 or more people together, the courthouse will help plan a specific route for what you have in mind, including a mock trial in a restored courtroom (hats and script included!). The courtroom is off-limits during normal hours except at 2pm when they open it to visitors, included with the price of admission.