From museums and aquariums to play places, here are more than a dozen places to entertain children inside.
Fun is always in season in Dallas-Fort Worth, even when the weather doesn’t cooperate. If it’s too chilly or rainy to be outside, families can find plenty of North Texas options for indoor fun — particularly if they want to learn something, too. From museums and aquariums to play places and an indoor water park, here are more than a dozen places to entertain children inside. (Keep this list for the hot and sunny months because it works then, as well.)
Cavanaugh Flight Museum
Families can tour displays of historic and military aircraft on their own or through a guided tour. The museum has planes and other vehicles, including a Sherman tank, from World Wars I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park
Designed with kids in mind, this aquarium offers eye-level interactive zones and six exhibit areas of aquatic life. Kids can enjoy feeding the stingrays; food is available for $2 per two pieces. Built in 1936 and owned by the city of Dallas, the aquarium received an $8 million renovation in 2010.
Crayola Experience Plano
Kids can see how crayons are made and check out 21 other attractions at the Crayola Experience in the Shops at Willow Bend. Hands-on activities include creating a keepsake out of a crayon at the Melt and Mold station, working on themed crafts in the Paint Palette and making designs using melted wax at the Drip Art Station. There are also playgrounds for tots and older kids.
Dallas World Aquarium
This attraction offers so much more than sea life that it feels more like a zoo. The space includes several habitats to explore, including Mundo Maya, Orinoco, South Africa and Borneo, each with aquarium tanks and animals such as penguins and tree kangaroos. Of special interest for kids are feedings and talks, such as “Sloths Are for Kids.”
Grand Prairie’s 80,000-square-foot water park stays open year-round with the indoor section’s temperature maintained at 85 degrees. Attractions include the Lassoloop water slide, a 600-foot lazy river with periodic wave surges to simulate a real river, a FlowRider surfing simulator and an area for children under 42 inches tall. The facility also has an arcade, concession stand, picnic areas and a full bar. Tiny Tot Time is offered Monday mornings through March 2.
Explorium Denton Children’s Museum
Designed for children 12 and younger, the Explorium offers several hands-on areas where families can create, build, climb and explore. Special activities include sensory-friendly hours on the second Saturday of each month and camps on school holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 5800 Interstate 35, Denton. $5. exploriumdenton.org.
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Children up to age 8 can enjoy the Children’s Museum gallery, which features reptiles and amphibians in living environments where children can observe them closely and an indoor block- building site where kids can construct a train. The museum’s other galleries include North Texas dinosaurs, the Cattle Raisers Museum, an exhibit about space travel (see Page 24) and more. There’s also kid-friendly programming in the adjoining Omni Theater Imax Dome and Noble Planetarium.
Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and select Mondays at 1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth. General admission is $16, $13 for ages 2-18. Imax films and planetarium shows cost extra. From Jan.17 through Feb. 8, admission is included with Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo tickets. fwmuseum.org.
Frontiers of Flight Museum
Planes hang overhead at this museum that celebrates all things aviation. Kids can check out 13 historical galleries featuring more than 35,000 flight-related artifacts, from a model of the Wright Flyer to warbirds to spacecraft. Special educational events include an Engineer Week day on Feb. 20 and Girls in STEM Texas Day on March 1.
Children try on jobs during focused playtime at this Stonebriar Centre attraction. After checking in like at an airport, kids 6-14 can try being a news anchor, an optometrist, a pilot and a police officer, and visit banks, restaurants, hospitals and other businesses. Each experience lasts around 20 to 30 minutes.
Legoland Discovery Center
Billed as “the Ultimate Indoor Lego Playground,” this center at Grapevine Mills mall offers 10 Lego build-and-play zones, three rides, a 4D cinema and a virtual reality experience. Kids can also meet and take photos with their favorite Lego characters. The center is geared for ages 3-10, but there is a Duplo Village area suitable for younger ones.
Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine. $25.95. Discounts available online. dallasfw.legolanddiscoverycenter.com.
National Videogame Museum
This is the place where gamers can learn everything about video games through artifacts and opportunities to play games. Current exhibits include “The Timeline of Consoles,” showing home gaming systems; an ’80s-themed arcade with token-based play; and a playable giant Pong console.
Peppa Pig World of Play
Kids who love the popular Nick Jr. cartoon Peppa Pig will be in heaven at this play place aimed at preschool-age kids at Grapevine Mills mall. Peppa, who is British, goes on adventures with her mummy, daddy and little brother George in the cartoon, and here kids can experience the show’s characters in 14 areas full of physical and sensory activities.
Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine. $22.50 online for one adult plus one child (ages 1-8), $15 per additional child, $5 per additional adult. (Adult prices apply to ages 9 and older.) peppapigworldofplay.com.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
The Perot Museum welcomes little explorers with its Moody Family Children’s Museum, a place where kids 5 and younger (with an adult companion) can roam, play and discover in a pint-size world featuring a farmers market, a water play table and crawling spaces. For older kids, the Perot offers permanent exhibits including a Sports Hall, a Hall of Birds and a Being Human section. The special exhibit “Origins: Fossils From the Cradle of Humankind” is on display through March 22. Kid films are in the mix shown in its Hoglund Foundation Theater.
Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2201 N. Field St., Dallas. General admission is $20, $18 for ages 65 and older, $13 for ages for ages 2-12. Special exhibits and films cost extra. perotmuseum.org.
Sci-Tech Discovery Center
Located in the Frisco Discovery Center near the National Videogame Museum, this is an interactive children’s museum that focuses on science, math and technology with hands-on experiences for pre-K through sixth grade. Kids can learn to design games, fly a drone simulator, experience building challenges, create giant bubbles and explore how bodies work.
Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. at 8004 Dallas Parkway, Frisco. $10 for ages 3 and older, $8.50 for seniors, military and teachers. mindstretchingfun.org.
Sea Life Grapevine
Learn about thousands of aquatic creatures through interactive touch pools and a 360-degree ocean tunnel. Located across from Legoland in Grapevine Mills mall, the aquarium has a sea turtle rescue center, a shipwreck area that’s home to a green moray eel, a jellyfish nursery, a stingray bay and more. Daily talks on turtles, stingrays, seahorses, jellyfish and more are offered.
Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine. $23.95, $18.95 for children 3-12. Discounts available online. visitsealife.com/grapevine.
SeaQuest Fort Worth
Located in Ridgmar Mall, Sea Quest is a petting zoo aquarium where children of all ages can watch, feed and hold creatures from five continents. In addition to fish, you may be able to meet sharks, iguanas, seahorses, octopus, snakes, sloths, otters and capybara. Interactive activities available for extra fees include snorkeling with stingrays, meetups with sloths and otters, sleeping with sharks and more.
Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. at 1974 Green Oaks Road, Fort Worth. $16.95, $13.95 for ages 55 and older, $10.95 for children 2-11. Discounts available online. fortworth.visitseaquest.com.
Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park
The certified organic gardens are great for exploring when the weather’s nice, but every day is a good day for visiting the two-story Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium. Wander through tropical plants mimicking the natural habitats of the house’s hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Each day at noon, watch more butterflies being released.
4:00 AM on Jan 10, 2020