Guide to Dallas with Kids: Fall Edition is a sponsored converstaion with Visit Dallas, all opinions are my own.
I love visiting Dallas any time of year but there is something special about being there in the Fall. It’s still warm to see kids playing in the fountains downtown, yet there is a different mood about the city as people aren’t rushing inside to escape the blistering heat of July and August. This year we made a trip the last weekend of Septemeber, the weather was amazing! We walked 90% of everywhere we went around downtown and even welcomed a morning with a few sprinkles of rain. I’ve put together a few ideas to help you plan your is visit in this guide to Dallas with kids: Fall edition.
Where to stay:
Hilton Garden Inn Downtown is a centrally located hotel in the heart of downtown. From this location we were able to walk to all of our activites and restaurants. The hotel is located across from Thanksgiving Square and accessible by the DART system. The hotel has a beautiful roof top pool that we took advantage of even in late September. Valet parking will make your arrival and departure simple especially if you are traveling with kids. The hotel provided a portabe crib for us at our request, the rooms are spacious and the extra crib did not hender our movement around the room at all. The room came with a mini fridge which was perfect for all those left overs from the kids menu that we came back with each night. Both the Mister and I took turns in the gym and it was equipped with all of the equipment we could ask for. In the lobby of the hotel is a new up and coming restaurant, Greyson Social House, which allows you to enjoy Southern Fare without even leaving the hotel.
Where to Eat:
Campisi’s Restaurant which was directly across from the Hilton Garden Inn served up their iconic, award winning pizza that did not disapoint. We had the classic pepperoine and while I typically am hesitant about pizzas that are not round, this was perfect. Crispy thin crust, packe with flavor and just the right amount for 2 adults to share. Of course the kids menu was also perfect with a favorite of buttered noodles which were devoured. Great service, even with our mid week late evening arrival. The staff was friendly and full of humor.
The Woolworth, another great spot within walking distant of the recommended hotel, boasted a patio and happy hour specials. The beautiful weather beconned us outside to the patio. While this was not a restaurant geared towards children they had a menu that would make anyone drool. We elected to share a few of their small plate offerings and a happy hour drink special. Everyone including the little one enjoyed the truffle fries and the adults shared a plate of Nana’s Toast and a plate of Philly Chesse Egg Rolls. My mouth is watering just thinking about these dishes. As far as the Happy hour special, I sipped a glass of, That’s what she said and fun fruity bubbly cocktail. Save room for the desert because the Colosal Chocolate Cake is just that and comes with a side of vanilla bean ice cream and macerated strawberries.
What to Do:
The Perot Museum, loved by kids and adults alike. This amazing museum of nature and science can keep the whole family entertained and learning for the better part of a day. The museum contains 11 permanent exhibit halls, exciting special exhibits, hands-on activities, amazing films (we saw the Dinosaures in 3D film), live science demonstrations, and more! On the first floor you will find the museum entrance where you purchase your tickets or exchange your Dallas City Pass for a ticket, select your movie and time. The theater is also located on the 1st floor as well as the cafe and amazing gift shop. Next we visited the Discovering Life Exhibt, where we learned all about how life begins with single cells and how species adapt over time. We especially liked learning about the land and animals that are native to Texas.
The Human Hall was next, this one was really enjoyed by the grown ups but had lots of activities for the kids to enjoy as well. Here we learned about human anatomy and physiology through various experiments and exercises. We used a strong beam of light to reveal the intricate network of blood vessels beneath the skin, identify the hot and cool points of your body through the color-coded image of a thermal camera, engaged in a multimedia game that illustrates how lifestyle choices can affect your life expectancy and explore movement through motion-capture technology. There was even a BIO Lab for the kids to learn how to swab their cheek for cells, extract DNA from wheat germ, test germ killers and isolate the chromosones of fruit flies. Each activity geared towards a different group. Kids wear a lab coat, gloves and goggles in this area to get a feel for what an actual science lab is like.
In the Innovation and Engineering Hall we experimented with building a complex structure with various working parts, configured towers with the volunteer engineers and learned about how things work! The Dynamic Earth Hall was full of immersive exhibits, engaging multimedia stations and powerful footage of real-world Texas weather events. Experience the shaking of an earthquake and the winds of a Texas tornado. While visiting the Energy Hall we learned about the various fuel types we use and how they are obtained. Explore galleries of working rigs all over the world, see and touch real drill bits designed for different mining jobs and how perating the valves of a full-sized wellhead work.
I loved the Gems and Minerals Hall, it was filled with beautiful geodes, some as big as 5 feet! In this Hall you are able to open a geode to discover the crystals, learn all about the scratch test to determine hardness and watch various films to learn about how crystals are formed. The Expanding Universe Hall taught all about space and planets, a hot topic at our house currently. We watched a 3D animated journey through the solar system — complete with a rest stop on Mars, viewed stunning images of space as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope and used a planisphere to identify stars and constellations illuminating the exhibit hall. We talked about the final exhibt for days before our visit and weeks since. The Life Now and Then Hall is filled with towering dinosaurs, rare fossils and virtual paleo-habitats.
While every floor of the Perot Museum has things that the kids will love there is one area that is special just for them. On the lower level of the musuem is the Moody Family Children’s Museum, this area is dedicated to the little ones and is filled with fun, interactive activities. Explore flora and fauna of the Trinity River corridor, grab a field guide and binoculars to become a junior wildlife biologist, try on different costumes to imagine the world from an animal’s point of view and learn how staff members care for our terrarium animals, including frogs, toads, anoles, geckos, spiders and snakes. Kids can pretend to be a vendor, customer or delivery person at the biggest little farmers market in town, arrange and rearrange artificial flower bouquets, listen to the stories of real people who buy or sell produce at the Dallas Farmers Market, climb stairs and ramps to explore a child-sized version of the Dallas skyline and cross over a small-scale model of the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge. The Dino Park allows kids to get in on a hands-on dinosaur dig is inspired by real fossil digs from the Big Bend area of Texas. They will put on a field vest and join our team of junior paleontologists, use scoops, shovels and rakes to dig for replica fossils in our shaded outdoor dig area to make new discoveries.
Reunion Tower GeO-Deck accesible through the Hyatt Regency hotel, you can travel 470 feet in the air in a 68-second elevator ride to the GeO-Deck where the views go on forever. You can enjoy a cocktail or snacks in the Cloud 9 Cafe and chart your visit on the interactive map. Make sure to tag your pictures with #reuniontower on social. We’ve visited the tower in the evening and during the day, both provide amazing views of the city. During your visit to Dallas with kids you will make some great memories and this is one they will love for sure. Tickets to the tower can be purchased at entrace or through your Dallas City Pass.
The Sixth Floor Museum where you can step back in history by visiting the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository, where significant evidence of a sniper was found connected to the assasination of President JFK. You will relive the story of President Kennedy’s assassination through hundreds of historic television and radio broadcasts, films, photographs and artifacts and see in person the sniper’s perch and the area where a rifle was found, preserved as they appeared on November 22, 1963. This was a hit with the adults and a great history lesson for older children/young adults.
The State Fair of Texas runs from late September through the end of October each year and is the perfect reason to visit Dallas with kids in the Fall. This year we planned to be there for opening day and it was so fun to know we were the first ones on the rides this year. The fair has daily concerts, livestock shows, shopping, exhibits, petting zoo, rides and the best in fair foods. We started our morning with a welcome visit to the iconic Big Tex and snapped our annual pictures. We made our way down the mid way full of color prizes from your favorite games on both sides of us. We made it the children’s ride area as it opened and jumped on the first rides of the fair season. My favorite is always the Star of Texas Ferris Wheel where you can see the entire fair ground from the top. After the rides we visited the exhibts and checked out all of the new cars that are coming our next year. Its the no pressure way to learn everything you could want to know about a new car straight from the pros. Now the best part of the fair, the food! Every year new foods are added to the line up and best in fair awards are given out. We have a few staples for when we visit. I have to have a funnel cake topped with powdered sugar, an ice cold root beer from the barrel and Fletcher’s corn dogs are a must!