Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Favorite Activities in DFW with Kids (Revisited)

Happy Wednesday! Last year, I wrote about some favorite activities to do in DFW with kids, and I covered it in 2015, too. Having grown up in a small town with limited activities for kids (although I'd love for my kids to have the same small-town upbringing I had), it's nice to have a myriad of activities to choose from in both Dallas and Fort Worth -- and all the suburbs surrounding them. 


As my kids have gotten older, and as we've moved, we've been able to add new activities and, sadly, subtract a few due to age and/or interest. So since the boys are 4.5 and 2.5, I wanted to revisit this topic, as I've had many people coming to visit Dallas and/or Fort Worth and ask me what are good things to do with kids. Of course, this list will vary depending on season (most of our outdoor public water parks and pools are open here from Memorial Day - Labor Day, give or take). 



In no particular order based on the following categories: cheap or free and then paid admission. 

Free:

{1} Indoor Play Places
If the weather is yucky {meaning too hot or too cold or just yucky rainy}, there are plenty of free indoor play places to keep your little one occupied. Some favorites of ours include: The Ark at GracePoint Coppell, The Tubes at Irving Bible Church, Playzone at Milestone Church, KIDZ Indoor Playground at Prestonwood Baptist Church, Wesley's Playground at White's Chapel UMC, BubbleLand at Gateway Church (Southlake Campus) and the Galleria Dallas Indoor Play Place

{2} Outdoor Play Places/Parks/Splash Pads
Fritz Park Petting Farm: Only open June 1-July 31, Fritz Park Petting Farm is a free petting zoo owned and operated by the City of Irving. There aren't a ton of animals, but toddlers -- especially animal-loving ones -- won't care a lick! 

DFW Airport's Founders Plaza: Our little plane-loving boys absolutely adore Founders Plaza, an outdoor area near the DFW Airport where you can sit and watch airplanes of all shapes and sizes take off and land. They have speakers where you can hear the control tower communicating with the pilots during the final approach; picnic tables to have a meal or a snack; and a big hill kiddos can run up and down. It's so fun, especially on days with good weather. We will often pack a picnic lunch and just sit and watch the planes.

Coppell Farmer's Market Splash Pad: The water is on from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sundays-Fridays beginning in April and through late September. There's an awesome playground right there, too, and I joke that many times I'll put a swimsuit on the boys, slather them with sunscreen...and instead of playing at the splash pad, they'll play on the playground. We like to bring a picnic lunch and eat at the splash pad if we're able. There's also a ton of newly-opened restaurants around this area, including: Twisted Root, Quincy's Chicken Shack, Dodie's, Frost Cupcakery and George's Coffee + Provisions.

Dove Park: Dove Park is an awesome park and splash pad located in Grapevine. The park is open year-round and the spray park is open May-September each year from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Admission is $2 per person for Grapevine residents and $5 per person for non-residents; 12 months and under are free. 

Parr Park: Parr Park is also a park and splash pad combo located in a gorgeous area of old Grapevine. The park is open year-round and the spray park is open May-September each year from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. and is free! 

Bicentennial Park: This is probably one of our favorite parks! It has everything from a giant playground for big kids, a smaller area for little ones, a huge sandbox, a water feature running through the park and a splash pad that's open May-September. There's also ample covered pavilion picnic space. 

{3} Public Libraries
I love taking the boys to the library for obvious reasons, but so many libraries here offer free story times (some are themed, some are geared toward toddlers only, some are for older kids and some have special summertime activities) so be sure to check their websites/calendars for those specific things. 

But my favorite library in the DFW area, hands down, is the Grapevine Public Library. They have an adorable Music & Movement Story Time year-round, but also offer amazing events throughout the summer. Lewisville Public Library is a close second with their story time offerings, as well as a "Learning Garden!" 

{4} White Rock Lake 

White Rock Lake will forever hold a special place in my heart, as it's where we got engaged more than eight years ago. With everything from a lake where you can boat and kayak, to a 9.33-mile-long hike and bike trail, to a dog park, to a children's area to picnic areas...White Rock has it all. Brandon and I love to walk the trails and gaze at the beautiful homes along our walk, and it's the perfect place to let the kiddos run some energy off! 

Paid Admission: 

{1} Water Parks 
+ Paradise Springs at Gaylord Texan 
You can only access this outdoor waterpark if you're a guest of the Gaylord Texan Hotel, but it is worth every penny of the hotel stay to use this amazing 10-acre facility! It's open Memorial Day-Labor Day. 

Hawaiian Falls
There are many different Hawaiian Falls locations across the Metroplex (Garland, The Colony, Mansfield and Roanoke) and it's a fun water park! It does get very crowded on the weekends, so be prepared for that. They have a wave pool, lazy river, a few rides and lots of slides! 

Epic Waters Indoor Water Park
This is a very new, 80,000-sq. ft. indoor/outdoor water park in Grand Prairie and is open year-round. There are 11 different slides, an outdoor wave pool and the roof is even retractable! Here's all the info you need to know before you go. 

{2} Play Street Museums
With many locations across the Metroplex {Allen, Flower Mound, Frisco, Irving, Lake Highlands, McKinney, Plano and new locations coming soon in Fort Worth, Keller, Prosper and Richardson}, Play Street Museum is awesome! It's basically a tiny town for young kids, and we love it! It's $11 for each child ages 1-8; children younger or older receive a free admission if accompanied by a paying sibling; they receive one wooden "coin" to get a healthy snack after they play. With everything from an art station, to a Moon Sand station, to a fun little interactive "town," it's everything a kid could want. They're open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m....and I'd suggest getting there early {especially in the summer and during Spring Break} so you don't have to wait.  

{3} Peek N Play + Small World, Big Imagination
I'm grouping these together because they're very similar to Play Street Museum and are located in Grapevine and Southlake, respectively. They're indoor plat places with little "towns" for the kids to play in, plus tables to color, LEGOs, crafts, etc. 

{4} Dallas Zoo and Fort Worth Zoo
Both very amazing zoos, I'd suggest making time to see one of them if you visit the area. (I'm so thankful we have to amazing zoos in the Metroplex!) In addition to seeing all the animals, we like to ride the carousel and the Monorail at the Dallas Zoo and the Yellow Rose Train at the Fort Worth Zoo. 

{5} Dallas World Aquarium and SeaLife Grapevine Aquarium
Again, I'm grouping these two aquariums together, but they're both very different. The Dallas World Aquarium is a lot bigger and honestly a little pricey to me, The SeaLife Aquarium is located inside Grapevine Mills Mall. They have "Toddler Tuesdays," where tickets are cheaper {$15 for one adult and two toddlers, through age 4}. It's a small place, enough to walk through for about an hour in a stroller, and it's very kid-friendly. 

{6} Crayola Experience 
While our first visit was a little less than stellar due to complete overcrowding, the Crayola Experience is definitely a fun little place (located inside The Shops at Willow Bend). Kids can make their own crayon wrappers, play on their two indoor playgrounds, have a meal, and play on their various Crayola-themed arts and crafts stations. 

{7} Klyde Warren Park 
Even though Klyde Warren Park is a free park right in the heart of downtown Dallas, I wanted to include it in the "paid" section. Admission to the park is free, but be sure to check their website for parking options. Not only are there a ton of food trucks to get a bite to eat, but there are always fun events for kids and adults alike to partake in. There's also a Children's Park with interactive fountains, a story-telling tree, a playground and a kid-sized amphitheater. Not everything is free here and you will spend some money on parking and food {unless you walk or find free parking somewhere and don't eat!}. 

{8} Dallas Arboretum
We love the Dallas Arboretum and are so thankful for how it's equally adult- and kid-friendly. My parents gifted us with an Arboretum membership and it's been so nice to take the boys to the special events (Pumpkin Patch, 12 Days of Christmas, Blooms, etc.), but also just to go whenever we wanted to play in the rather new Children's Adventure Garden. Even if you aren't a member, it's worth it to explore this gorgeous place and take your little one(s) to the children's area. 

{9} Reunion Tower
If you're not local, Reunion Tower is the "big ball" in the Dallas skyline. It offers 360* views of Dallas, and it's really a pretty neat (and unique) thing to do for the older little ones. Here's information about the GeO-Deck. You can cap off your day with lunch at the Cloud Nine CafĂ© and for something fancy and fun (for adults), try Wolfgang Puck Five Sixty located at the very top of Reunion Tower. 

{10} Six Flags Over Texas
I'll admit that I've never, ever been to Six Flags Over Texas. I grew up near Houston, so our go-to growing up was the now-defunct Astroworld (RIP). But my husband, who grew up in the DFW area, has been here numerous times and has begged for us to go with the boys multiple times. It's a huge place with thrill rides, family rides, kid rides and some fun entertainment. (And bonus points that it's located right next to Globe Life Park, where the Texas Rangers play, and AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play, so if you wanted to catch a game before or after, it's a great location in which to do so.)  

{11} Professional, Minor League or College Sporting Game 
Try to see a professional sporting event while you're in town! We have the Texas Rangers (baseball), Dallas Cowboys (football), Dallas Mavericks (basketball), Dallas Stars (hockey) and FC Dallas (soccer) when it comes to professional sporting events. For minor leagues, we have: Frisco Roughriders (baseball), Grand Prairie AirHogs (baseball), Fort Worth Cats (baseball). You could also catch a college sporting event, as DFW is home to many colleges/universities, including: TCU, SMU, Dallas Baptist, and University of North Texas, to name a few. 

{12} Medieval Times
Brandon and Walker went a few months ago, and I can assure you that those two guys had a ball. To be honest, it's not my cup of tea, but I've seen lines wrapping around the building, so it's definitely lots of other people's cups of tea! It's basically a dinner theater that features staged medieval-style games, jousting and sword fighting inside a replica 11th-century castle. They offer lots of specials year-round, so be sure to check their website for those. It's definitely something fun for kids! 

{13} Grapevine Vintage Railroad
Our boys love the Grapevine Vintage Railroad! Our favorite thing is the "Grapevine Fun Train," which is a little 30-minute ride up and back through Grapevine. It's the perfect amount of time for little ones before they get antsy. ;) The Fun Train only runs on Saturdays from March-November, but thereafter they do it during the week at various times. They also have fun events throughout the year, including the North Pole Express, Day Out with Thomas, an Easter Train, etc. Check their website for pricing. 

This is such a fun, well-done museum! The children's area (located on the bottom floor) is so precious, with a water-station, a little miniature playground, a pretend shopping area and more. (And not to mention the water/splash area outside before you even walk in.) It's a wonderful museum for adults and kids alike, and the layout/views of Dallas are amazing. Highly recommend visiting this place. 

{15} Fort Worth Museum of Science and History 
 This is an amazing museum with a wonderfully done children's museum and Dino Dig! It's $15 per adult; $12 per child ages 2-18 and parking is limited and pricey. But it's very fun and has a ton of exhibits, IMAX and a cute children's area that my boys both love. 

{16} The Coop
This is an indoor play place, but it's so much fun that I had to include it here. It's located in cute downtown Frisco and is very clean, which my germophobe self loves. For parents, there's an espresso bar and free Wi-Fi, and for the kids, there's a giant ball pit, a huge slide, climbing tunnel, tee-pee, interactive gaming floor and more.  

{17} Paradise Pond
A ministry of First Baptist Church Grapevine, Paradise Pond is only open Thursday and Friday mornings from 9-11 a.m. and a $1 fee per person (children and adults) is charged to enter. They have super cute "stations"/centers and also have bounce houses. It isn't the cleanest place I've ever been, but it's perfect for a rainy or super cold (or super hot) day. 

{18} Luv 2 Play 
We recently visited this indoor play place and it's awesome! It is a little pricey (and be sure to bring socks for everyone), but it's awesome and has everything from a gigantic indoor play structure, an arcade, climbing wall, snack bar, free Wi-Fi, party rooms, and two separate play areas for tiny babies and toddlers. I also liked that they had a tiny potty in the bathrooms for little kids to use. 

{19} Trampoline Parks
There are a myriad of trampoline parks across the Metroplex, but our favorites are Altitude Trampoline Park in Grapevine and Urban Air in both Coppell and Southlake. 

Altitude offers "Toddler Time" every Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. for little ones ages six years old and younger. The park is closed to anyone older than that, which I love. Each child is $6.95 and a parent is $2. 

Urban Air offers "Jumperoo" during the school year for children ages five years old and younger. The park is closed to anyone older than that, which I love. Each child is $8 and parents jump free. The Coppell park offers it on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and Urban Air Southlake offers it also on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and each child is $5 while parents jump for free. 

{20} Pumpkin Patches
This time of the year is pumpkin patch mania! We absolutely adore Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch. It was train rides for kids (weekends only), bounce houses, hay rides, pumpkins and food for purchase and plenty of photo opportunities; these people really do it up. It's $5 per car on the week days and $10 per car on the weekends and is open weather permitting. All other activities are free! There is also Hall's Pumpkin Farm in Grapevine that's good and the GentleZoo Pumpkin Patch in Forney. 

Places we haven't been yet but have heard are great:

I personally haven't been to the following places, so I don't want to vouch for them. However, I've heard they're great and wanted to include them here just so you'll have them as options: 

+ CooCoos
+ Free Play 
+ Jungle Joe's 
+ Kid Mania
+ Little Humans, Big Fun
+ Obstacle Warrior Kids
+ Pump It Up 
+ Safari Run 
+ The Happy Lark
+ The Playdate Co.  


Do y'all have any other places you love in DFW with kids? 


Linking up with Jessi and Jenn 

3 comments:

  1. I want to come visit ... like this weekend! Great round-up!

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  2. Just bookmarked this post.. did not know about all these free indoor play spaces. Love Dove park, we used to live down the street and we went there all the time.

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  3. Definitely saving this list! We're heading down to Dallas in November with friends and don't have much free time but I wanted to try to sneak in fun things for Tatum whenever we do!

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