The amazing thing about Dallas is that it’s so close! You can quite often get cheap airfares ($100 and up depending on route, flight times, etc) and make this an inexpensive family trip.
But what is there to do in Dallas?
I think a more important question is “what can you do in Dallas that you can’t do in Denver?” To be sure, Denver does have some great restaurants and some excellent shopping, but Dallas puts a unique spin on everything it does – isn’t the saying that “Everything’s bigger in Texas?”.
So, here are our favorites from our stay. I really can’t say enough about these places but we’d make a special trip back to visit each of these places – yep! They were that good!
One of my biggest surprises in Dallas was how eco-conscious and pro-sustainability they are. Most of our favorite places contained a heavy Eco-friendly angle.
1. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Wow! There just isn’t a better word for this amazing museum. My daughter and I got a sneak preview a few weeks before it’s official opening on December 1st, 2012 and all my twelve year old daughter could say while going through it was “when can we come back?!”
This amazing state of the art Museum of Nature and Science brings new levels to high tech and interactive. This state of the art museum boasts five floors of public space for public usage including eleven permanent exhibit halls including a children’s museum, a sports hall (with amazing interactive exhibits), the “being human hall” and “Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation hall” which were the most high tech exhibits we’ve ever seen, featuring robots and fantastic technological experiments to boggle the mind (we seriously could have spent a whole day in this room alone). The “Dynamic Earth Hall”, “Gems and Minerals Hall” (including interactive Ipads for information on each gem display), “Energy Hall”, “Life then and Now hall” with dinosaurs and natural history museum offerings, plus the “Rose Hall of Birds” (really beautiful).
All of this was wrapped up in an architecturally beautiful and environmentally groundbreaking building. The building itself is a teaching tool that provides “living” examples of engineering, sustainability and technology at work.
Admission is reasonable at $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors and $10 for children.
For more info: www.perotmuseum.org or call 214-428-5555
The Dallas Arboretum
And if the Perot museum wasn’t enough, we were blown away by the Dallas Arboretum. Much more than a garden, they are opening a Children’s section May 2013 that will be spectacular (check out the video below).
When we were there, they featured the works of Dale Chihuly and so fabulous glass artwork was scattered through a large section of the gardens (which at this writing only has 3 days left. Sad to see it go). The facility is an urban oasis boasting sixty-six lush acres of fabulous blooms throughout the year and features two historic mansions. The blooming throughout the year is just one great reason that Denver visitors would love this!
The Children’s Garden, currently under construction, is designed for preschool to middle school children to address the state and national standards for life and earth science. It is really an 8 acre laboratory with 17 outdoor and indoor galleries, each designed around a key science theme. The children will be immersed in nature; walking on boardwalks through grass tunnels, exploring a full-acre wetlands, walking along the Texas Skywalk through the tree canopy and under a waterfall. They will explore a “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” world where everything is giant-sized, learn that their food comes from plants and the critical people-plant-animal connections – outdoors where nature is real. The indoor Discovery Center will enable children to discover even more using technology and the tools of science. They will visit a plant lab, a soil lab, a 3-D mini theater; solve a CSI mystery and much more.
For more info: www.dallasarboretum.org
My daughter got to spend her twelfth birthday dinner here and was made to feel so special. For Denver folks, this is a great way to harness our Renaissance Fair passions year around. It’s a spectacularly fun show and all ages will love this experience.
Picture a dinner theater that throws you back so you can be one of the Knights of the round table!
From high above King Philippe and his daughter-in-law, Princess Leonore preside over a delicious four-course feast. Below, privileged royal guests are transported to faraway lands including a romantic snowy rendezvous in the woods and an authentic medieval tournament for the Battle of Champions ® — with the help of Hollywood-caliber special effects, of course.
During the two-hour Tournament a four-course medieval feast is served to all guests including Garlic Bread, Tomato Bisque Soup, Roasted Chicken, Spare Rib, Herb-Basted Potato, Pastry, and Beverages. A vegetarian meal is available upon request.
The first Medieval Times castle opened in Majorca, Spain, in 1973. Ten short years later, Medieval Times ventured overseas and into North America with its Kissimmee, Florida, Castle. Dallas is the closest location to Denver although there are locations in Chicago and Atlanta.
For more info: Medieval Times
The Dallas Zoo
Founded in 1888, the Dallas Zoo was the first Zoo in Texas, and although there are zoos everywhere, this zoo definitely stood out for it’s family friendly qualities, fun and interactivity. The Dallas Zoo is home to over four hundred species and more than two thousand animals not including invertebrates, such as the residents of Bug U. It’s also the only zoo in Texas and one of only ten zoos in the nation to have koalas.
Our favorite exhibits included an “up close and personal” with the lions as well as an opportunity to feed the giraffes who are looking for a handout – especially when it contains a fresh green leaf of romaine lettuce or a rye cracker.
The Dallas Zoo put on a spectacular dinner for our group – and they are fabulous at accommodating large parties and doing the catering (the food was amazing and kid friendly!).
For more info: www.dallaszoo.com
Shop and Eat in Downtown Dallas
We got to make a stop at the Historic Wild Bills Western Wear which was a treat of Dallas-sized proportions. We were fitted for Stetsons and welcomed with proper Texas Charm. The shopping downtown looks amazing – a lot of the shops were dressing up for the holidays and we drove through the historic Dallas Farmer’s Market – I wouldn’t shop anywhere else if I lived there.
For dining we had the wonderful experience of dining at Texas Spice in the Omni Dallas Hotel (which is also amazing and I’d highly recommend). The Texas Spice is a Two Star certified Green Restaurant. A lot of the food is provided locally from the Dallas Farmers Market, the entire restaurant is constructed with salvaged wood and recycled material and they have an extensive recycling program. But most important, the food is fantastic. We really enjoyed our dinner there.
So, we highly recommend that you not only plan a trip to Dallas, but plan enough time to really enjoy it. We had fabulous experiences that didn’t even make the list here. For up to date information on happenings, be sure to check out VisitDallas.com