Dallas with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

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Dallas with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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Dallas, Texas may look industrial, but hiding beneath the large buildings are tourist hotspots that are fun for the whole family. During your vacation with tweens in Dallas, you may be inclined to think that everything is either too young or too old for them, which is not the case. There is an abundance of fun things to do in Dallas with no age limit on enjoyment. You should plan to spend at least a day in Dallas in order to visit these hot spots with your family, and you may find that you will all be coming back for more. Here are the some of the best activities for your trip to Dallas with tweens.

Morning


Start the day off with a ride on the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) train. For your first stop, you should ride the DART Red Line to the Dallas Zoo Station. The Dallas Zoo opens at 9AM, and you will probably want to get there early to beat the crowds and heat of the day (if you are going in the spring or summer). The zoo is filled with fun activities for the whole family. First, visit the ZooNorth area where you can see a wide array of animal exhibits, including tigers, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, monkeys and apes, birds, and reptiles. After viewing the numerous exhibits here, take a break at the Zoofari Food Court for lunch and enjoy everything from a hamburger to a salad and top your meal off with a hand-dipped ice cream cone. Next, make your way to the Wilds of Africa exhibit. You can either catch the monorail for a 20-minute ride through the six African habitat areas or walk at your own pace. You will see African penguins, crocodiles, chimpanzees, storks, meerkats, and many other wild animals native to Africa. The Dallas Zoo is open from 9am to 5pm daily (closed Christmas) and ticket prices are $12 for adults (ages 12-64), $9 for children (ages 3-11), $9 for seniors (ages 65 and up), and free for children under 2 and members of the Dallas Zoological Society. The best family vacation with your tweens starts at the Dallas Zoo.

The Dallas Zoo
650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway
Dallas, TX 75203
214-670-5656


Afternoon

After an event-filled time at the zoo, ride the DART train to Fair Park, which is a cultural and entertainment center housing nine museums and six performance facilities. Fair Park is a National Historic Landmark, and it hosts the State Fair of Texas every year. About 3.5 million people attend the fair each year, which is held for three weeks every fall. The fair features entertainment, rides, an auto show, creative arts, livestock shows, and great food, and it will surely provide lasting memories of your family vacation in Dallas with tweens.

State Fair of Texas at Fair Park
3921 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Dallas, TX 75210
214-565-9931

After you visit the fair, you'll be looking for another great attraction for the family. Travel to the Dallas Aquarium, which is housed in a historic Art Deco facility. At the aquarium, you will find many multi-sensory experiences and see a wide array of aquatic creatures. There are tidal touch pools, coral, many different fish species, and marine life from around the world. The aquarium will be an excellent addition to your vacation in Dallas with tweens. Please note that the aquarium is currently being remodeled and is scheduled to reopen sometime in 2010. Check the website before your visit.

The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park
650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway
Dallas, TX 75203
214-670-6826

Fair Park is also the home of the Museum of Nature and Science. The best family vacation in Dallas is not complete without a visit to this museum, which features three different buildings: the Nature Building, the Science Building, and the Planetarium Building. There are many different exhibits at the Museum of Nature and Science, including traveling exhibits (call the museum for a schedule of these). The museum's many permanent exhibits include: The Children's Museum, Putting DNA to Work, Your Incredible Body, Paleontology Lab, Ice Age Dallas, Ocean Dallas, Texas Dinosaurs, and Mineral Majesty. Some include hands-on activities. The museum also has collections of live birds and a bird library, animals, insects, different mammal species, land and freshwater gastropods, and thousands specimens of rocks and minerals.

After exploring some (or all) of these, make your way to the planetarium, which offers many different programs and exhibits as well. The Museum of Nature and Science also includes an IMAX, a 79-foot domed theater with excellent sound and graphics. Movie experiences include a trip through outer space, the Grand Canyon and the ocean. The Nature Building, Science Building, and Planetarium Building are open Monday-Saturday from 10AM to 5PM and Sunday from 12PM to 5PM, with extended hours in the summer. Admission is $10 for adults 18 and over, $7 for children 2-11, and free for children under 2 and museum members.

Museum of Nature & Science
3535 Grand Avenue
Dallas, TX 75203
214-428-5555


Evening

For an entertaining dinner to end your day, go to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. A fun addition to your family vacation in Dallas with tweens, Medieval Times is a dinner attraction based on life in the 11th century, complete with a castle, a moat filled with koi, feasts, medieval games and jousting tournaments. There are knights that compete, and members of the court include the king, prince and princess, a royal falconer, and a lord. The delicious bill of fare includes garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, oven-roasted chicken, spare ribs, herb-basted potatoes, pastries, and vegetarian meals. Ticket rates are $58.95 for adults and $39.95 for children 12 and under.

Medieval Times
2021 N Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, TX 75207
866-731-9313

After spending a day visiting all of these Dallas hot spots with your tweens, you will definitely be ready to close your eyes for a great night's sleep. If you are too tired to make it back home (which is likely after such a long day), you should stay at one of the many hotels with a swimming pool. Either way, you will most likely have a great rest after such a fun and eventful day filled with hands-on activities and entertainment enjoyed by the whole family.

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