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Kid-friendly activities in Dallas

We’re highlighting the best kid-approved activities that Dallas has to offer — complete with art exploration, animal encounters, and outdoor fun.

A group of five children sit at a table outside at the Nasher Sculpture Center coloring on pieces of paper.

Nasher Sculpture Center has a rotating schedule of things to see + do for kids — they’re going to love it there.

Photo via Kayla Oudthone

We’re not kiddin’ around. From major attractions like the Nasher Sculpture Center and The Dallas World Aquarium to hidden gems like the Dallas Firefighters Museum, there’s something in Dallas for children of all ages. You’ll have no trouble entertaining the youngsters with this list + interactive map of 36 kid-friendly activities around our city.

All about the arts

Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood | 🎟️ Individual memberships + Family Forum memberships available
The museum’s Family Programs include hands-on workshops, Wee Wednesdays for kids ages 5 and under, and open studio art projects on weekends. Kids will remember spotting Arturo, the museum’s blue macaw mascot, because it means something fun for kids is nearby.

Two people walk outside at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas — there's a huge tree in the background, plus fountains and lush green landscaping.

Nasher Sculpture Center makes for an excellent outing with the kiddos.

Photo via Kayla Oudthone

Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St. | 🎟️ Memberships available
Mark your calendar for Free First Saturdays — a rotating schedule of things to see + do for families. Kids will remember exploring the 300+ sculptures and strolling the beautiful garden.

Museum of Illusions, 701 Ross Ave.
You’re seeing things — this museum boasts 40+ exhibits featuring optical illusions (think holograms, stereograms, and immersive elements), visual tricks, and interactive displays. Kids will remember the Illusion Rooms like the Tilted Room where nothing is quite as it seems.

Studio Arts Dallas, 10051 Shoreview Rd.
Have a budding artist on your hands? This studio offers art classes for kids + teens, plus summer programs and camps. Kids will remember exploring mediums and techniques to put together their own masterpiece.

Pigment School of the Arts, 11023 Snow White Dr.
Offering art classes for kids of all ages + skill levels, your little one could find their creative outlet through drawing, painting, and ceramics. Kids will remember expressing themselves to create the ultimate masterpiece for the fridge + beyond.

Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving | 🎟️ Art Connection memberships available
Take the kids to explore the latest exhibitions or Sculpture Garden, or snag tickets to a play or concert. Kids will remember the family arts and crafts activities during Second Sunday Funday, plus the guided gallery tour.

The plaza and entrance to the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden; there are pink flowers out front and the gate is covered in decorative butterflies and flowers.

Kids will appreciate the whimsical vibes of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum.

Great outdoors

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Rd. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
With 66 acres, 11 gardens, and special events year-round, the Dallas Arboretum is perfect for outdoor explorers. Kids will remember the interactive exhibits, STEM activities, and whimsical vibes of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Located in historic Fair Park, this 7.5-acre garden boasts kid-approved surprises at every corner — from the playscape complete with a rock climbing wall to the snake + reptile shack. Kids will remember watching butterflies glide through the Rosine Smith Butterfly House and Insectarium and the adorable Garden Trains.

An art installation depicting giant potted plants at the Dallas Arboretum. The plants are bright green; there's also a pink and orange flower with a fake bee pollinating the piece.

There’s a lot to see at the 66-acre Dallas Arboretum, including special events year-round.

Texas Buckeye Trail, 7000 Bexar St.
Take the little ones to get some fresh air on this 1-mile trail along Trinity River. Kids will remember the stand of massive Texas buckeye trees at the end of the path — the largest and most resilient stand of trees in the US, according to the city.

Sheila and Jody Grant Children’s Park, Klyde Warren Park between Harwood and St. Paul streets
Kids 12 and under can get the wiggles out at this 18,000-sqft park featuring a 35-ft climbing tower + slide, splash areas, a climbing wall, and lots of other play equipment. Kids will remember the tree-top lookout — if they ever get off the climbing tower, that is.

An aerial view of Harwood Park in downtown Dallas, an urban park featuring a play structure shaped like a mammoth, plus walking paths + sports courts.

The mammoth-themed playground at Harwood Park is a sight to behold.

Trinity River Audubon Center, 6500 Great Trinity Forest Way | 🎟️ Memberships available
The nature preserve in southeast Dallas is a perfect way to explore the plants and wildlife of the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest. Kids will remember the trails through all sorts of ecosystems — hardwood forests, wetlands, and prairies.

Harwood Park, 408 S. Harwood St.
This East Quarter park features a mammoth-themed playground, picnic areas, and multi-use courts. Kids will remember the splash pad on those hot summer days and sliding through the “trunk” of the mammoth.

A habitat at The Dallas World Museum where visitors can walk through an arched tunnel and see sharks through the glass. There's a large shark overhead.

Kids will love marveling at the sea creatures at The Dallas World Aquarium.

Photo via Kellie Kay Photography

Animal encounters

Dallas Zoo, 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway | 🎟️ Family memberships available
More than 2,000 animals representing 406 species call this zoo home, and parents and kids alike will love checking out the habitats. Kids will remember feeding the giraffes at the Diane and Hal Brierley Giraffe Ridge ($6-$10) and the live animal presentations on the Wild Encounters Stage.

The Dallas World Aquarium, 1801 N. Griffin St. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
There’s so much to see and learn at this downtown facility — a hot spot for K-12 field trips. Kids will remember marveling at the sea creatures, from the pot-bellied seahorse to the moon jellyfish. Pro tip: Opt for a morning visit and stay for lunch at one of the on-site restaurants.

Children’s Aquarium Dallas, 1462 First Ave. | 🎟️ Memberships available
With 55 exhibits, 256 species, and hourly animal talks from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there’s plenty here to keep the little ones busy. Kids will remember petting and feeding the stingrays that live at Stingray Bay in the outdoor pavilion.

The entrance to the Children's Aquarium in Dallas; there's a sculpture of an octopus near a rock garden, plus banners lining the path. The Fair Park Ferris wheel sits near the entrance.

The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park features 55 exhibits and 256 species to learn about.

Trail Riding at River Ranch, 811 Pemberton Hill Rd., Building 2
This one’s for the older kids ages 12+. If you’ve got a budding equestrian, make an appointment for a 1-hour, guided trail ride. Kids will remember learning the safety basics and the feeling of riding through the serene trail.

Rocky Ridge Drive Thru Safari, 3350 FM1256, Eustace
Located about an hour south of Dallas, this wild experience invites visitors to drive through a 200-acre animal refuge, safari-style. Kids will remember feeding the animals right from your car — each admission includes 1-pound of feed, and you can add on more.

Heritage Farmstead Museum, 1900 W. 15th St., Plano | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Located ~21 miles from Dallas (and also a favorite of school field trips), this museum highlights agricultural history and Blackland Prairie life in North Texas. Little Farmer Fridays are designed for kids ages 2-5 and their grownups and offer a chance to meet the livestock. In addition to visiting the animals, kids will remember the one-room schoolhouse exhibit.

John Bunker Sands Wetland Center, 655 Martin Lane, Combine
Trek a half-hour southeast of Dallas to this nature center on the East Fork of the Trinity River to see the eagles and other wildlife that call this habitat home. Kids 10+ will remember the First Saturday Walk and Talk Bird Tour (bring binoculars) and the Bat Week Celebration typically held close to Halloween.

A smiling family wearing swimsuits walks through the water at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas.

Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine is a perfect, splashy getaway for the family.

Splash Around

Bahama Beach Waterpark, 1895 Campfire Circle | 🎟️ Season passes available
This waterpark is typically open from late-May to mid-August and boasts attractions for kids of all ages. Younger kids will love wading at Coconut Cove, while older thrill-seekers will get a rush from Boomerango. Kids will remember drifting down the Calypso Cooler Lazy River — everyone loves a lazy river.

The Cove at Fretz Park, 14778 Hillcrest Rd.
This Dallas Aquatics facility (one of three “Coves” open to the public) makes for an easy, breezy summertime outing. We love the options here — from a toddler pool and lazy river, to a slide and water basketball. Kids will love the lap pool and diving board; bring a picnic and make a whole day of it.

A public swimming pool with red and yellow circles that people can step on, and a net above those circles to hang onto.

The Cove at Fretz Park sure makes a splash with kids.

Photo via Dallas Aquatics

Kidd Springs Aquatic Center, 807 W. Canty St.
Another Dallas Aquatics offering, this laid-back community facility offers two public swim sessions four days a week — 12:30-3:30 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. — and features a slide and toddler pool. Kids will remember the climbing wall, a perfect way to get out all that energy.

The entrance to Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine; there are wolf statues out front and the building looks like a mountain lodge.

It’s a howlin’ good time at this waterpark + resort in Grapevine.

Great Wolf Lodge, 100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine
Book a day pass or stay overnight at this 80,000-sqft indoor waterpark that keeps its water at a perfect 84° year-round. Kids will remember catching the waves at Slap Tail Pond and hitting the Totem Towers water slides at the top of Fort MacKenzie.

King Spa & Waterpark Dallas, 2154 Royal Lane
OK, so maybe this one is a little more for you than the kids but hey, we won’t judge. This Korean-inspired spa offers relaxing sauna rooms, while the waterpark portion features play pools and all sorts of ways to splash around. Kids will remember the 30-ft slide — and how important it is for the family to slow down and relax.

Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark, 2970 Epic Place, Grand Prairie | 🎟️ Annual + seasonal passes available
Located a half-hour west of Dallas, Epic Waters is billed as the largest indoor waterpark in North Texas. With loads of slides, pools, rides, restaurants, and even an arcade, this is a full-day outing. Kids will remember learning to boogie board + surf on those gnarly Flowrider waves — wiping out is half the fun.

Hawaiian Waters, 4550 N. Garland Ave., Garland | 🎟️ Season passes available
This North Texas waterpark is an oasis of fun with attractions like laid-back tubing in the Kona Kooler lazy river and the twists and turns of the Bonsai Pipeline slides. Kids will remember waiting for the huge pail of water to drop on them at Keiki Kove — and you’ll remember their giggles.

The entrance to The Shed, the building where the Dallas Farmers Market takes place on weekends. Customers are walking around, visiting vendors.

Kids will love helping you select your fresh haul at the Dallas Farmers Market at The Shed, open on weekends.

Photo via Kevin Marple

Foodie families

Dallas Farmers Market at The Shed, 1010 S. Pearl Expressway
This weekend farmers market features vendors who grow, raise, and make their products right here in Dallas. Kids will remember carefully selecting their haul of fresh goodies to take home. Pro tip: You should also check out The Market Building, the 26,000-sqft food hall + vendor market with views of the Dallas skyline; it’s open daily and kids will love a treat from the Cone Creamery.

Uptown Eats! Trolley Tour, Uptown Dallas
Food Tours of America runs this family-friendly culinary tour featuring 10+ tastings across three local restaurants, plus a shopping stop to select a sweet treat. Kids will remember learning the history of the McKinney Avenue Trolley “Car Barn” between tastings — they’ll even get to meet a trolley conductor and hop aboard a vintage trolley for a ride to the West Village Shopping District.

The Farmers Market at Bonton Farms, 6915 Bexar St.
You gotta teach ‘em early — shopping local is important. Shop everything from handmade soap to honey butter at this buzzy market. Kids will love ordering a snack from the Market Cafe and enjoying it on the patio, or walking across the way to grab a treat from the Coffee House.

Maple St. Hall, 4711 Maple Ave.
Have a little foodie on your hands? This food hall offers a curated collection of vendors, including Mai Eats specializing in Lao cuisine + La Calle, known for its incredible tortillas. Kids will remember the fun vibes in the dining room and trying new dishes.

The Exchange Food Hall, 211 S. Akard St.
This downtown Dallas food hall features 10+ vendors offering everything from breakfast items to Lebanese cuisine. Kids will love trying a handcrafted Belgian waffle from Press Waffle Co. and then taking a short, 5-minute walk to Main Street to check out the 30-ft Giant Eyeball landmark.

The concrete, gray entrance to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science; the building features multiple square and rectangle shapes, set against other large buildings.

Little scientists will learn so much at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Educational activities

Dallas Firefighters Museum, 3801 Parry Ave.
Sound the alarm — the kids are going to love this museum operated by active-duty and retired firefighters working to preserve the history of the Dallas Fire Department. Kids will remember exploring the evolution of firefighting equipment over the decades — including the 1884 steam engine nicknamed “Old Tige” — and trying on the firefighter uniforms.

A family looks in awe at a dinosaur exhibit at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

The exhibits at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will fascinate the whole family.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, 2201 N. Field St. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Young scientists will be enthralled by permanent exhibits like the dinosaur discoveries displayed at “T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall.” Kids ages 5 and under will remember the Moody Family Children’s Museum on the lower level featuring all kinds of hands-on activities.

Frontiers of Flight Museum, 6911 Lemmon Ave. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Let your child’s imagination soar as they learn unforgettable stories of aviation and space flight at this museum at Dallas Love Field. Kids will remember the “Dreamers & Early Flyers” exhibit, a display highlighting early aspiring aviators like the Wright Brothers.

The ornate entrance to Ripley's Believe It or Not Grand Prairie features purple and pink flags and dome buildings covered in gold-toned detail.

The quirky and unusual await inside at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Grand Prairie.

Play Street Museum, 7130 Skillman St., Ste. 150
This downtown Dallas museum — designed for kids ages 1-8 — is all about creative play, discovery, and problem solving. Kids will love using their imagination to play pretend while making new friends. Pro tip: Book your playtime reservation depending on the enrichment programs that correspond with each day, from Music Monday to Discovery Day Friday.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, 601 E. Palace Parkway, Grand Prairie
Marvel at hundreds of unusual artifacts and unbelievable displays at this fun museum located ~20 minutes west of downtown Dallas. Kids will remember the twists + turns of the 7D Moving Theater and getting lost in the labyrinth of the Mirror Maze.

A laughing family attempts to navigate the Enchanted Mirror Maze at Ripley's Believe It or Not Grand Prairie; they're touching the glass, trying to figure out a way out.

The labyrinth of the Enchanted Mirror Maze at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Grand Prairie

Be prepared

Shop some of our favorite kid-friendly essentials to keep the whole family happy, hydrated, and ready to make memories.

  • Owala Kids Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler | This tumbler has a spill-resistant straw (yes, that’s a thing) and is top-rack dishwasher safe.
  • Bentgo Kids 5-Compartment Lunch Box | Pack snacks for kids in a popular Bentgo box that’s BPA-free and dishwasher safe.
  • Nintendo Switch | You just can’t beat a handheld gaming device for keeping kids quiet, happy, and entertained during car rides around town.
  • Hap Tim Travel Backpack | Keep everything in a backpack that’s got good padding on the straps, plenty of compartments, a wide mouth opening, and a rain-resistant exterior.
  • Kids sketch pad | Kids can sketch, take notes, and feel connected to your adventures with a sketchbook meant to inspire creativity.
  • Disposable cameras | Kids will have a ton of fun + stay entertained by taking their own pictures of what they see during your adventures.
  • KeepGoing Travel First Aid Kit for Kids | Be prepared for minor scrapes or bruises that could slow your day down — this kit contains 60 pieces of essential first aid supplies.
  • Sunscreen stick | Have a portable sunscreen stick handy for outdoor adventures.

Ready to visit these local attractions but don’t know where to start? We’ve created this handy map so you can find all of these featured activities.

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