Little firefighters in the making can explore the exhibits, engines, facts and faces of Dallas fire fighters and learn about the history of firetrucks at the Dallas Firefighters Museum. Touring the museum allows you to explore authentic firefighting equipment through the ages. It opens the door to opportunities for fire prevention and safety education, especially for children. Open Wednesday through Saturday.
The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection
One for the older kids and lovers of weapons and swordcraft, the Samurai Collection offers centuries of Samurai masterpieces, including suits of armor, helmets, masks, horse armor and weaponry. The private collection is one of the largest collections of Samurai armor outside of Japan. Best part? Admission to the museum is always free!
While Fair Park is hardly a secret spot, it gets more attention as the site for the annual State Fair of Texas and football games at Cotton Bowl Stadium. However, Fair Park also offers excellent attractions and museums all year to keep the family entertained. Located on lush grounds perfect for a picnic, Texas Discovery Gardens has an axolotl tank for your Minecraft-loving kiddos and a beautiful butterfly house. Hand feed stingrays at the small but interactive Dallas Children’s Aquarium, and then take in culture and history at the African American Museum. Fair Park is the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world, so there’s plenty to learn by just walking the grounds and admiring the art and buildings.
Dallas Cultural Centers
Dallas offers an abundance of culture, and you can explore it all through our city’s cultural centers. The Latino Cultural Center, Oak Cliff Cultural Center and South Dallas Cultural Center all offer a range of excellent exhibitions, workshops, and art for all ages. Take the family to the Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House to learn about an important piece of Dallas history. It’s the preserved home of and iconic African-American woman who helped define the modern Civil Rights Movement. Currently open by appointment only.
Dallas Public Library
The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, located Downtown, is an interesting stop for history buffs. An original copy of the Declaration of Independence is on permanent display on the seventh floor. Sometimes referred to as the “Lost Copy,” it was re-discovered in 1968 during the closing of Leary’s Book Store in Philadelphia, where it languished in storage for more than 100 years. It is the only copy located west of the Mississippi and is considered one of the finer examples available to the public to view because of its condition.
The Cidercade brings out the nostalgic kid in everyone. With vintage arcade games for the kids and local cider on tap, it’s a win-win for everyone. Children are welcome until 8 p.m., and the $10 cover charge provides unlimited play and eliminates squabbling over quarters.
Parents love taking their families to places where they can eat and drink while the kids can be entertained with games and activities. The Grove at Harwood is a spacious outdoor destination with sand volleyball courts, bocce, and giant Jenga and Connect Four. There are cocktails for the parents, snow cones for the kids, and happiness for the whole family.
Teddy Bear Park
Located at Lakeside Park, across a footbridge, are a collection of giant granite teddy bears. Once you discover them tucked away across the small lake, you’ll find that this whimsical area is perfect for a sweet photo moment. Beautiful Lakeside Park sits on over 14 acres of exceptionally landscaped grounds along Turtle Creek, located between Beverly Drive and Armstrong Parkway.