Located in Pilot Point, Texas, Sharkarosa is the only zoo in Denton County. Sharkarosa houses animals that have been rescued or confiscated by the USDA or Texas Parks and Wildlife. Your experience at Sharkarosa will be interactive (!!!) making this trip different than the trip you take with your children to the big city zoo. A day at Sharkarosa will start with a 30-minute tram ride, on which you can feed the animals yourself! You will even be able to pet many of the animals. After the tram ride, spend the rest of your day learning from Sharkarosa’s presentations, playing at the playground, or bonding with the animals at the petting zoo. Pony rides and animal encounters are additional options for your day at Sharkarosa!
Epic Waters in Grand Prairie might actually be my favorite water park I’ve ever been to. My family had a blast here! You can read the specifics of our trip on my blog (if you do check out this blog post, be sure to read “The Orange Slide Story”… it’s a good one!). Between the massive kid’s water play structures, the wave simulator, the thrill-seeker waterslides, the food, and the arcade, there is enough here to entertain all ages for hours on end.
My son’s preschool teacher asked him, “If you could drive a bus to anywhere in the world, where would you go?” He answered “The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History!” This place is like four museums in one. It includes a planetarium, the Cattle Rancher’s Museum, a children’s exhibit, and more. I spent an entire day here with my two little boys and we didn’t even get through everything. Yes, you can expect to spend a lot of time in the children’s exhibits with your small ones, but don’t write off the rest of the museum! My one-year-old was enthralled by the Cattle Rancher’s Museum, and my four-year-old said the planetarium was his favorite part!
Shop, eat, sight-see, and play around Downtown Dallas via the M-Line Trolley! Adults love the history, kids love the excitement of riding a trolley, and all ages love what is offered around downtown! Check out my complete guide to riding the trolley as a family for tips on where to park, places to stop and other things to know before you go.
Did you know there is a waterfall DFW? Of course, there are plenty of pretty, man-made waterfalls, but there’s an actual natural waterfall in Fort Worth! Who knew?! I didn’t find out about this until I had lived in the area for about eighteen months! Airfield Falls can be found at Airfield Falls Conservation Park. An easy stroll on a paved, stream-lined trail will quickly take you to the falls. It is a quaint attraction that will give you your outdoor fix. Your family can even picnic here while skipping rocks or getting their feet wet!
This adventure is sure to put you on a high…ropes course! Between ziplines and military-style obstacles, anyone ages 4 and up can come here to test their limits. Trinity Forest Adventure Park offers self-guided tours as well as team building packages. This outdoor park is open on weekends year-round, offering a fun family escape during any season!
This is an experience you can’t miss. I was surprised to learn that this horse-racing venue is so family friendly! For a casual, outdoor experience, purchase general admission tickets (just $5 and $3 for kids!) then indulge in concessions at a picnic table while cheering on your bet. If your family appreciates a beautiful setting and fine dining, opt for the silks dining experience, where you can watch the races from a fourth-floor buffet-style dining hall.
My four-year-old did not want to want our silks dining experience to end. He was consumed by the races, and enjoyed being able to choose his own plate of food while we watched! My one-year-old, on the other hand, would have preferred the outdoor picnic tables with a closer look at the horses and more space to run around. Lone Star Park has two racing seasons every year, and throughout the summer, race days can include fireworks, bounce houses, and even exotic animals! Keep tabs on their calendar for specifics.
8. DALLAS ZOO
We have been to the Dallas Zoo a handful of times, and it never gets old! There is so much here to keep your family busy. The Dallas Zoo offers a tram ride, a carousel, a petting zoo, bird shows, reptile shows and more. Our favorite exhibits at the zoo are the “Wilds of Africa” and the “Children’s Zoo”. Pro tip: If you’d like to feed the giraffes at the “Wilds of Africa” exhibit (which is highly recommended by yours truly), head there first thing! In my personal experience, the giraffes are more interested in eating earlier in the day.
For a day of thrill, head to the original Six Flags amusement park in Arlington, Six Flags Over Texas! The kiddie area offers plenty of rides for the smallest visitors. Check out my friend Kelsey’s guide to visiting with a toddler for pro tips on what to see and do. The rest of the park is full of roller coasters that will give butterflies to even experienced roller coaster riders! Six Flags Over Texas boasts a variety of almost 50 rides. My husband and I need some help handling the spinning rides, but we LOVE the high-to-low roller coasters that make our stomachs drop! You can check out some of Six Flags Over Texas’ best thrill rides here.
If you want to spend a day on the trails but don’t have time to drive very far, head to Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA): a nature preserve on Lewisville Lake! The visitors center is only open on weekends, but during the week you can simply show up between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., pay $5 (cash only) and pick a trail! The trails are simple enough that you can hike multiple routes in one day. Although most LLELA trails are not stroller friendly (I learned this the hard way), a visit here is still a LOT of fun. Along with trails, there are kayaking routes (BYOK), campgrounds, kids’ classes, birding tours, and other field experiences to enjoy. I’d suggest starting your LLELA adventure by taking the short Green Dragon Trail to the Minor-Porter Log House and letting your family explore the historic site!