Kid Friendly Downtown Dallas

My favorite part of living down here is that walking around our neighborhood we always find something different. Yes, some days it’s a homeless person trying to low-ride his pants, but… he forgot his underwear that day. But other days it’s a one man puppet show.

Puppet Show at Pegasus Plaza

Creepy? Maybe a little. But entertaining? Surprisingly so!! Some days it’s the Christmas tree lighting event at The Main Street Gardens Park or a Holiday Parade. Those you should definitely not let your little ones miss out on!

But besides the street events, downtown Dallas has plenty of kid friendly attractions worth hopping on the DART for! In fact, the DART is it’s own kid friendly attraction, one of Miles’ favorites!

Since Miles has the attention span of, well, a 1 and 1/2 year old boy, his interests range from – ‘is there somewhere he can push his Hot Wheels cars around’, to – ‘are there any stairs that he can climb up, then down, then back up, then back down again 300 times until I finally pull him away screaming.’  Because of this we haven’t taken advantage of all that downtown has to offer for kids. So I’ve separated Dallas attractions into things we’ve tried and things on our list to try…

Here’s some of our favorite places we love to visit with Miles, Nick and Izzy!

Pioneer Park — This is first on my list because we take the puppy here every single day! Both puppy and kids love it. It’s got a waterfall, small stream with stones to hop across, pond, rocks to climb, grass to run around in, and bronze Buffalo’s to climb (if the security guards don’t catch you).  People are always there taking in the awesome view of Dallas and enjoying the park.

Pioneer Park

Dallas World Aquarium — We took the kids here over New Years weekend. Sadly, Miles fell asleep halfway through, but everyone else had a blast! The aquarium is beautiful, with sharks, sting rays, a jaguar, alligators, and even a penguin exhibit! It’s a tad pricy, especially for large families, but definitely worth it as a special event!

Main Street Gardens Park — A park with bathrooms and a restaurant where you can buy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Yes please! This is another place Miles has frequented and loved since he was born. It’s got a water feature, big grassy area to play around on, a play ground, and a doggy run. Obviously a favorite for us!

Main Street Gardens Park

JFK Grassy Knoll — When I used to drive past here for work, I was always surprised by the amount of people there every single day. It’s a great place to learn about some Dallas and US history right in our backyard! Don’t forget to stop by the gift store nearby, they have great memorabilia and a nice (but small) clean bathroom!

The West End — Not nearly as bustling as it was in its glory days, The West End still has some life left in it. Most exciting are the events they still put on – most with food, live music, and fun stuff for the kids! There’s a few good restaurants to eat at, including a Chiptole, which our kiddos love. This is also where you can sign up for Segway tours should you be feeling so brave!

AT&T Performing Arts Center – If your little one is too young to take to a performance (like mine is) then you may just want to go one spring day to enjoy the beautiful water feature they have outside. We haven’t been since last summer, but the kids loved it! If you go on a Sunday morning you’ll find street vendors selling hot dogs, churros, and some ice cold drinks!

AT&T Performing Arts Center

And here’s a list of kid friendly places we haven’t braved with Miles yet, but are on our list as soon as we think he’ll appreciate them a little more. (I keep hearing we’re right on the cusp of a developmental leap… and I am SO ready for it!)

Dallas Museum of Art – First Tuesdays are free of every month and geared for children 5 and under! Each month is a different theme. And gosh those kids in the pictures on their website look happy to be there!!

Nasher Sculpture Center — First Saturdays are free and full of kid activities — including art, scavenger hunts, family tours, yoga, reading time, and a Live! performance. Events run from 10 am to 2 pm.

The Museum of Nature & Science at Fair Park — Not technically in downtown, but this is first on our list to try next… I think Miles may just be ready for it! It’s a great place for kids to play and learn on a rainy TX day. Tickets are reasonable, and it’s just a few stops for us on the DART at Fair Park!

That’s all I can think of now, but I’m sure I’m missing some.  Is there anything you love to do in downtown that you can recommend?  Let us know it the comments!  I’m always up for trying something new!

About Amanda

~Amanda never thought she wanted kids. Now she's got two pretty awesome step-kids - Nick and Izzy, one crazy toddler - Miles, and a brand new baby girl - Natalie! Her and her husband Tony recently moved the family out of their one room loft in downtown Dallas and are trying to acclimate to suburbia in Frisco, TX. There she is busy chasing a toddler around Chick-Fil-A, nursing the baby night and day, teaching pilates, reading, writing and spending too much time on Facebook and Pinterest! You can follow along with their new adventures in suburbia at Lots of Little Lauros. Or you can follow her on Pinterest to see meals Amanda will probably never cook or Instagram to see way too many pictures of her kids!

12 Responses to Kid Friendly Downtown Dallas

  1. britt February 16, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    i really wish i would have known about all of these awesome (baby-friendly) places before i left dallas. this just makes me want to move back even more!

    • Amanda February 17, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      Come back for a visit! Anytime!! :)

  2. IttyBittyFoodies Mama February 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Both our kids were born downtown and we loved every minute of it. It’s where our kids learnt how to count and recognize numbers at an early age (living in a high rise); Thanksgiving Square was our backyard, during the holidays we could visit the Neimans windows EVERYDAY, walk to a museum every weekend, get inspired by art and sculptures, listened to David Sanborn live and free @ the ATT Performing arts Center by chance as we did our little walkabout, do taste tests at the Farmers’ Markets etc.

    This is where they also learnt compassion & charity as we help the homeless.

    • Amanda February 17, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      Love hearing about other kids growing up in the city! There are so many opportunities to learn and grow from living here. I’m especially grateful we get to share this with my husbands two kids who live in the burbs. It’s such a great mix for them!

      We do love Thanksgiving Square too, we don’t go there nearly enough though!!

      Thanks for your other suggestions too!

  3. The T-Shirt Mama February 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    Thank you for posting this list! I don’t live in downtown, but I’m close enough that it makes for a really fun outing during the week for a change of scenery. I’ve done the Nasher (
    http://www.thetshirtmama.com/2011/08/first-saturdays-at-nasher.html ) but I CAN’T wait to try some of the ones you suggested. I didn’t even know such parks existed!  

    I hope people comment on their favorite things to do  because I’d love to know more! 

    • Amanda February 17, 2012 at 10:52 am #

      It surprised us how many parks there are down here. And they are currently working on 2 new parks, one of them one block away from us! I completely recommend taking the DART if you can, it’s less stress about parking and navigating, plus it’s so much fun for the little ones. Miles LOVES it because it means – no carseat!! :)

  4. Heather Schmidt February 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    Hi, friend!  I just wanted to add that the Museum of Nature & Science is a major favorite for our boys (I think Miles would love the Children’s Museum!).  One major perk of getting a family membership is FREE admission for all of us to the State Fair every year!!  Not sure if they will continue with that once the new building is open, but it’s been awesome.  

    Thanks for all the fun tips!!

    • Amanda February 17, 2012 at 10:49 am #

      That’s awesome to know! Looks like we will be getting a membership! Thanks for reading Heather! :)

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