- July 5, 2016

Things to do in Dallas with Kids + Marriott Hotel Stay Giveaway!


Now through September 5, 2016, participating Marriott properties in Texas are offering a Splash Down Texas promotion, to encourage families to get out and explore our great state! JW Marriott, Renaissance Hotels and Marriott Hotels are helping vacationers dig deep into the heart of Texas by giving access to fabulous destinations while earning reward points faster. This week, we will be giving away hotel stays at Marriott hotels in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, and sharing fun things families can do while vacationing in those cities. Today, we’re sharing things to do in Dallas with kids, and we are giving away a two-night stay at Dallas Marriott City Center!

Dallas Big

Main Street Garden Park

After years of driving around Dallas on our way to other places, we finally made a point to stop in Big D, to see all the fun we’d been missing out on. We checked in to the centrally located Dallas Marriott City Center hotel, and spent two days packing in as many activities as one mom and four kids could handle in 97-degree heat. Here are some highlights from our visit (and then, of course, a chance to win your own stay at Dallas Marriott City Center!).

Things to do in Dallas with Kids

Since my goal was to hit all the major tourist attractions on this trip, we got the Dallas CityPASS, which granted us admission to the Dallas Zoo, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and Reunion Tower GeO-Deck. In between those big adventures, we also stopped to check out parks, playgrounds, food trucks, sculptures, murals, and splash pads. It was a great, full (exhausting) weekend! These were a few of our favorite stops.

Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo Children’s Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is incredible. We hustled in between exhibits, determined to see the entire 106-acre zoo in half a day, but there were so many interactive areas that we always found it hard to leave one area for another. My kids especially loved the Children’s Zoo, where they got to hand-feed birds and ride a pony. They also played in the stream (pictured above), climbed a rope spider web, and visited a petting zoo there.

Tip: The Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorail costs $5 extra, but it’s worth it to be able to sit down in an air conditioned, elevated car and enjoy a unique, narrated tour. The train loops around the back side of the zoo, showing visitors six habitats not accessible by foot: mountain, woodlands, river, arid, semi-arid and bush.

Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo Monorail

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Dallas Arboretum

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden Kaleidoscope

We went straight from the zoo to the Dallas Arboretum, which might not have been the best plan, given that they are both outdoors. But, fortunately, the Arboretum’s Children’s Adventure Garden was so exciting, my kids didn’t seem to mind the heat. They made giant bubbles with volunteers, got drenched in the splash pad, learned about DNA in an interactive workshop, tried the mesmerizing kaleidoscope, followed clues in The Amazing Secret Garden, experimented with hydro and solar power, and more. There was so much to see and touch and try in the Children’s Adventure Garden, we spent three hours there and never even made it to the rest of the Botanical Garden.

Tips: The Children’s Adventure Garden has its own entrance. If that is your primary destination, you can park in the parking garage–located at 8720 Garland Road–and follow the tunnel under the street to that entrance. Parking is cheaper if you pay online, in advance. Also, the Arboretum rents wagons, but wagons are not allowed in the Children’s Adventure Garden. Bring your own stroller, as these are allowed (and you will do a lot of walking – the place is huge!).

Dallas Arboretum

T. Boone Pickens Pure Energy

Main Street Park

Dallas Main Street Garden Park

Main Street Garden Park

While driving in search of the giant eyeball (as you do), we spotted this fun park! It had a great splash pad, Tot Lot, and dog park. We stopped and played for at least an hour. For more Dallas splash pads, check out this list.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Leap Frog Forest Perot Museum of Nature and Science

I have been looking forward to checking out the Perot Museum since it opened four years ago, and it did not disappoint. We explored 11 exhibit halls spread across six levels, and finished our morning with the incredible 20-minute film Tiny Giants 3D.

Tip: There is a cafe inside the Perot, but you can also walk across the street to enjoy a Tex-Mex lunch at El Fenix. We had a great meal there, before heading further up the road to the Dallas Museum of Art and Klyde Warren Park.

Klyde Warren Park

Dallas Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park has it all! You can borrow magazines, books, or board games to play for free – just leave your license. Order lunch and sno cones from a food truck, and eat at any of the plentiful cafe tables scattered throughout the park. Try any of the park’s four splash pads, explore the playgrounds, and kick a ball around the fields. Or, come for yoga, storytime, or a free concert in the park.

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 4.05.41 PM

One of the splash pads in Klyde Warren Park

Tip: Try eFrogs shuttles for easy downtown transportation. Text (469) 432-4055 and ask if they are available to take you from point A to point B (for example: Perot Museum to Klyde Warren Park), and mention how many passengers you have. The rides are free; you just tip your driver! The only catch is that sometimes no drivers are available, so you might get stuck walking.

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 4.05.57 PM

Another splash pad in Klyde Warren Park

Dallas Museum of Art

Admission to the Dallas Museum of Art is free and they have special summer activities for families!

Tip: Closed on Mondays. I found this out when we tried to visit on a Monday. Good thing Klyde Warren Park is nearby!

Where to Stay: Marriott Dallas City Center

Dallas Marriott City Center is located in the heart of Dallas with easy access to the Dallas Arts District, DART public transportation and numerous city attractions. Guests have easy access to the Dallas Museum of Art, Klyde Warren Park, Perot Museum, Nasher Sculpture Center, plus plenty of restaurants and shopping close by. Also, the hotel had free peanut M&Ms in the lobby the night we checked in, so my kids fell in love at first sight. 

Texas Summer Marriott Deal

Marriott wants to insure travelers have a very rewarding summer! It’s time to hit the highways and celebrate the relaxing summer season Texas has to offer. Marriott Rewards® members will find earning points easier this summer by staying at participating Marriott properties in Texas.

From Houston’s NASA Space Center to Austin’s live music scene to San Antonio’s Alamo Mission, then north to Dallas for world-class shopping and art and don’t forget Fort Worth’s Stockyards and renowned art museums, travelers will enjoy more points with more stays. Marriott Rewards® members can pack their bags and take a road trip driving to several destinations while racking up points to use at future destinations.

Now through September 5, 2016, stay at a participating Marriott property and Marriott Rewards® members can earn 2,000 Marriott Reward® points. It’s free to join the program and points are earned right away. Members also enjoy free standard in-room Wi-Fi and other exclusive offers and promotions just by registering for the program. Click here for more information.

Enter to Win

Would you like to win a two-night stay at Dallas Marriott City Center? Just fill out the form below for your chance to win! One winner will be selected at random on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 and notified by email. One entry per person, please. Official Rules