So you’re planning to toddle around one of the nation’s largest cities, Dallas, Texas, with young ones in tow. Madness? Not necessarily. Provided you make use of the city’s extensive selection of kid-friendly facilities and frequent its parks, there’s no good reason to leave this major metropolitan area anything but done (in).
Topping the list of places to mix educational experience with entertainment is the Fort Worth Zoo. Penguins, primates, big cats and Texas Wild! compete with a shark-infested coral reef for attention at this big zoo; and if you like zoos but don’t want to drive, there’s also the Dallas Zoo (with its own children’s zoo) a stone’s throw from downtown.
If it’s the sharks that your young ones really dig, consider also a trip to the Dallas World Aquarium or check out the great interactive exhibits at the renovated Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park Dallas. Dallas, Texas, might be miles from open water, but hey, when there are manatees down the street, who’s counting?
And finally, if you’re in the Dallas area equipped with a set of wheels, the worthwhile detour of the day is out to Glen Rose, where the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center offers guests the chance to take a scenic drive (guided or self-guided) through a park of free-roaming animals. Think close-up encounter with a giraffe - definitely one for the photo album.
If the roaming wildlife has your offspring itching to do some roaming of their own, take them to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. With 66 acres of conscientious landscaping beside White Rock Lake at your disposal, your children can run untrammeled while you deep-breathe and enjoy the scenery. Stay tuned: they’re planning to open a children’s garden sometime in 2012.
And finally, the focus might be livestock but there are many good things to be said for an all-in day at the annual State Fair of Texas. Running from the end of September through late October, this is one of those full-on events that should earn everyone a very sound night’s sleep. As if you needed any help.