Weekend Getaway With A Toddler: Dallas

One of the largest cities in the Lone Star State, Dallas offers plenty to do for toddlers and parents alike, making it an enticing place to go for a weekend away from your ordinary routine. If you’re there during the holiday season, see the tallest indoor Christmas tree in the U.S. at the Galleria Mall. Adorned with about 250,000 lights, it’ll surely dazzle your little one. There are also lots of stroller-friendly places to jog, such as the Katy Trail.

Dallas, TX skyline at night

Dallas, TX skyline at night

Don’t Delay When Checking Out These Dallas Destinations

Dallas is packed with fun possibilities to consider planning where to take your toddler and keep him or her entertained without getting bored yourself. One of them is the Dallas World Aquarium. Home to creatures that live on land and in the sea, this attraction provides glimpses of animals such as the:

  • Ribboned seadragon, a close relative of seahorses
  • Red-capped manakin, a bird with a vibrant, cherry-colored head
  • Desert cottontail rabbit
  • Tree kangaroo
  • Jaguar

Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving, the Dallas World Aquarium admits children under two for free and kids from age two through 12 are charged $14.95. The regular adult ticket price is $20.95 but there is a special rate of $16.95 for senior citizens aged 65 or over, which is good news if you’ve brought a grandparent along.

Also, let kids burn off excess energy at Pump It Up. Located in North Dallas, it’s a huge inflatable play place where they can bounce on trampoline-like structures, crawl through blow-up tunnels and more. Most often used for birthday parties, Pump It Up also offers many open sessions anyone can attend, so be sure to check the schedule for dates and prices before visiting.

Photo: Pump it Up

Photo: Pump it Up

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is also worth a going to because although it offers plenty of interesting things for adults, the price of admission includes access to the Moody Family Children’s Museum, a controlled area designed especially for kids under five and their caregivers.  Attractions include:

  • An area where kids can dig for dinosaur fossil replicas
  • A themed section where kids can pretend to be Dallas Farmer’s Market vendors
  • A simulated forest and terrarium area that includes snakes, frogs, geckos and spiders
  • An art lab

General admission tickets let you go through the museum’s 10 other exhibit halls in addition to the kid-specific one described above. Prices for adults are $18 and there is a senior rate of $12. Kids from age two to 17 are admitted for $11 younger children are free. You can also save two dollars off the admission price for all tickets by purchasing them online.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science Kid's Club. Photo: Nasher Sculpture Center

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science Kid's Club. Photo: Nasher Sculpture Center

Picture-Perfect Spots for Selfies and Group Shots

You definitely shouldn’t leave Dallas without seeking out awesome places to snap family photographs. One great place to start is the Dallas Arts District downtown.

The Nasher Sculpture Center is an ideal attraction where you can go to click the camera’s shutter to your heart’s content. Designed by world-famous architect Renzo Piano, this attraction includes a 1.4-acre sculpture garden where you can pose with inspiring artistic efforts. Admission is $10 for adults but you won’t have to pay a cent for your toddler because kids under 12 get in free.

Nasher Sculpture Center. Photo: Expedia

Nasher Sculpture Center. Photo: Expedia

Fountain Place, a 60-story skyscraper with a prismatic exterior, is another great place to capture memorable family photos. Because the building has slanted sides, it has different profiles depending on various viewing angles.

This landmark got its name because there is a plaza at the building’s base that features 172 fountains. Many Dallas visitors and residents alike come here for short, relaxing breaks and it won’t be hard to approach one of them and ask for help snapping a picture.

Kid-Friendly Places to Chow Down

Meal times can be stressful for both you and your toddler if the staff isn’t used to accommodating younger visitors. Fortunately, Dallas has lots of delicious places to eat that make kids feel at ease and simultaneously cause parents to sigh with relief

One of them is the Magic Time Machine Restaurant, a place where employees dress up in costumes and really get into their respective roles, which could include pirates or princesses. The restaurant is split into unique and well-defined themes and there’s even a carousel.

All entreés come with bread and access to the salad bar. Upon visiting the latter, you’ll see it’s been modified to look like a red 1952 MG-TD roadster and is appropriately and affectionately referred to as the “salad car”. Food options for adults range from New York strip steaks to fresh-broiled salmon.

The children’s menu features tasty choices like popcorn shrimp, a bowl of pasta topped with alfredo or marinara sauce, chicken tenders and cheese pizza. Kids also get to go up and pick their choice of salads, which could help if your toddler starts to show signs of crankiness due to hunger.

You might also make your way to the Hopdoddy Burger Bar, an establishment that served highly regarded burgers made with locally sourced beef that’s free from hormones and antibiotics. This chain restaurant has Dallas locations at Preston Center and on Mckinney Avenue and has a casual setting so it’s a good place to go if you’re worried your tot might get a little fidgety.

If you appreciate inventive burger toppings, try creations such as the Magic Shroom, which includes Texas goat cheese, basil pesto, field mushrooms and red leaf lettuce. When ordering for your toddler, it’s probably best to stick with the Classic Burger, which has more familiar condiments. Be sure to order a side of hand-cut fries and wash everything down with an Oreo or Chocolate Pretzel milkshake.

Magic Shroom Burger at Hopdoddy Burger Bar. Photo: Phoenix New Times

Magic Shroom Burger at Hopdoddy Burger Bar. Photo: Phoenix New Times

Stress Less and Smile More With These Final Pointers

The summer months can be quite hot in Dallas, with temperatures often getting above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts often say the best months of the year to visit are September, October and November because the weather is not as extreme then and you won’t have to deal with as much tourist traffic.

Clearly, Dallas is a destination toddlers and their parents love. Now you have all the information needed to start planning a fantastic weekend away.

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