51 Essential Kid-Friendly Activities to Do in DFW this Summer


Sometimes being a kid (or a parent) when school is out means doing everything you possibly can to avoid those two little words: “I’m bored!” Parents hate constantly repeating “read a book!” almost as much as kids hate hearing it. Don’t let this summer vacation be a drag. Here are 51 creative and fun things for kids to do in DFW to fill all those lazy dog days of summer.

1. Klyde Warren Park - The new park that bridges uptown and downtown has all kinds of activities, including a children’s park, a dog park, ping pong, croquet, a reading and board games area, and guitar lessons with the School of Rock every Friday. Web | Facebook | Twitter

2. Marshall Creek Ranch  -  Horseback riding is one of the greatest family fun activities, especially for city kids that have never experienced it. Take an evening ride with the kids and see beautiful sunset views by Lake Grapevine while on a guided trail tour through the woods at this Southlake-based ranch. This horseback riding experience is a truly hidden gem that will make a positive deposit in your children's memory banks for years to come. Web | Facebook

3. Arboretum - The Dallas Arboretum is more than just a great outdoor space for kids to run around and play. They have a pioneer village, life-sized playhouses, a variety of summer camp programs and the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden opening in September of 2013. Web | Facebook | Twitter

4. Adventure Landing - Adventure Landing is go-to place for go karts, laser tag, bumper boats, and more. With three 18-hole miniature golf courses, and a monster video and redemption gaming arcade, there is something for all ages. Web | Facebook | Twitter

5. Dallas Summer Musicals - Every summer, a little bit of Broadway comes to Fair Park with a different lineup of some of the nation’s most popular musical productions. This summer watch Sister Act and gear up for the Lion King in the Fall. There is also performing arts training specifically for kids.
Web | Facebook | Twitter

6. Perot Museum - Dallas’ newest science and natural history center is perfect for kids of all ages, including the kid at heart. With dinosaurs, an interactive space exploring the human mind and body, a sports hall and a special children’s area for the little ones, it has a little something for everyone. Web | Facebook | Twitter

Children learning about animal artifacts at the Perot Museum.

Children learning about animal artifacts at the Perot Museum.

7. Nickelmania - This place is a nickel arcade in Carrollton with over 125 of the latest arcade versions of classic and recent video games. For a $2.00 per person entry fee and a fist full of nickels, you and the family can play games all afternoon. They also have some good deals on exclusive parties. Web | Facebook | Twitter

8. Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park - With locations in Dallas, Plano, Cedar Park, Colleyville, and a new location in Allen. With over 20,000 square feet of wall-to wall-trampolines, trampoline dodge ball and other unique and fun activities, Jumpstreet is the perfect place to let your kids burn some energy by literally bouncing off the walls. Web | Facebook| Twitter

9. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor - Get your splashes in at DFW’s largest water park. If it has been awhile, you may remember it by its former name Wet N' Wild. Six Flags bought the water park in 1995 and eventually renamed it. This water wonderland has had its classic attractions like the Lazy River, the Black Hole, Surf Lagoon, and Der Stuka (which can be seen from the highway), and adds new attractions almost yearly. Web | Facebook | Twitter

10. Fair Park - In addition to the year-round activities at Fair Park (like the swan paddle boats and Texas Discovery Gardens), Fair Park has started opening up the Midway over the summer with rides, games, and a variety of entertainment They are calling it Summer Adventures in Fair Park and it looks like a great deal with some new rides appropriate for summer. Web | Facebook | Twitter

11. Summit Rock Climbing Gym - Summer is a great time to get in some physical activity. Summit has locations in Dallas, Carrollton, and Grapvine. With free yoga classes for members and indoor climbing at it's best, you can increase your rappelling skills without having to weather the elements. Web | Facebook | Twitter


One wall of many at Summit Rock Climbing Gym.

12. Dallas Library - Dallas’ main library's official name is J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. It isn't exactly a place to run around and scream, but it’s not necessarily a place to sit still and be quiet for hours on end either. The Children’s Center (2nd floor) is a whole floor of interactive resources and they offer tours geared towards kids and families.
Web | Facebook | Twitter

13. Cedar Hill State Park - This little natural area just outside of the city is a great place to explore the outdoors with hike and bike trails, picnic areas, camping and swimming, fishing and kayaking on Joe Pool Lake.
Web | Facebook | Twitter

14. Dallas Children’s Theater - In addition to children’s play, the Dallas Children’s Theater also offers classes in spring, summer and fall. Web | Facebook | Twitter

Creative Dramatics with Miss Natalie at the Dallas Children's Theater.

Creative Dramatics with Miss Natalie at the Dallas Children's Theater.

15. Dallas Zoo - In addition to the zoo’s typical year-round programs, they have concerts in the park every Saturday during June and July. Web | Facebook | Twitter

16. White Rock Lake - White Rock Lake offers numerous park and lake activities without leaving the city (although sorry kids, no swimming). There is a 10 mile loop for cycling and walking, a dog park, the Bath House Cultural Center right on the lake has seasonal plays and art exhibits, and you can rent kayaks, take rowing lessons, and even get free advice on Sunday afternoons. Web | Facebook | Twitter

17. Spray Parks - Several of Dallas’ area parks are “spray parks,” with water features that spray, squirt and bubble. There are no pools, only puddles, so it’s safe for all ages.

18. Dallas World Aquarium - The aquarium has both underwater and avian worlds to explore, as well as Grupo Pakal dance performances to native music every Saturday and Sunday. Check their schedule for feeding times! Web | Facebook

A manatee swimming at the Dallas World Aquarium Photo credit: Laura Seewoester-Bute

A manatee swimming at the Dallas World Aquarium Photo credit: Laura Seewoester-Bute

19. Galleria Ice Skating Center - Cool off at North Texas’ favorite ice skating rink. Web | Facebook

20. Grapevine Mills Mall - There’s something about summertime and hanging out at the mall. From the Rainforest Cafe to Legoland, Grapevine Mills is one of the most kid-tastic malls in the Metroplex. Web | Facebook | Twitter

21. Heard Natural Science Museum - The Heard Natural Science Museum in McKinney is outdoor “edu-tainment” at its best with nature trails, ropes courses and Summer “mini camps.” They are also getting the animatronic dinosaurs back in September. Web | Facebook | Twitter

22. Ranger’s Stadium - Everyone has to spend at least one day every season enjoying America’s greatest pastime. Web | Facebook | Twitter

23. In-Sync Exotics - See a variety of animals at this wild animal rescue center in Wylie that focuses on large exotic cats (in other words, tigers and the like!).
Web | Facebook | Twitter

24. Great Wolf Lodge - Great Wolf Lodge is the place to go when you want a water park experience, but don’t want your face to melt off in the process. It has 80,000 square feet of slides, North America's largest family of indoor waterpark resorts. All water is kept at a cool 84 degrees. Web | Facebook | Twitter

The Coyote Cannon slide at Great Wolf Lodge.

The Coyote Cannon slide at Great Wolf Lodge.

25. Medieval Times - Get served by a wench, not a waitress, eat without utensils, and then sit back and enjoy a show of jousting that’s so kitschy it’s fun times, as long as you roll with it. The knights WILL take back their flowers if mocked.
Web | Facebook | Twitter

26. Comic Book Wednesdays at Half Price Books - Every Wednesday at the Half Price Books on Northwest Highway all comic books have a $.50 discount. Web | Facebook | Twitter

27. Zero Gravity Thrill Park - Get an adrenaline rush with bungee jumping, sky coasting, or that backwards bungee jump slingshot thing. They’ll also let you jump off high things with no cord (over a net). Web | Facebook | Twitter

28. Bishop Arts Theater Center - TeCo Theatrical Productions together with the Bishop Arts Theater Center offers various visual and performing arts programs for kids and teens, most notably their summer theater camp and children’s performances. Web | Facebook

29. Jump Mania - A bounce house facility in Plano that you can rent or just show up and jump the day away. Web | Facebook

One of many indoor bounce houses at Jump Mania.

One of many indoor bounce houses at Jump Mania.

30. Highland Park Soda Fountain - Grab a shake at this old-school soda fountain and restaurant. HPSF recently celebrated their 100 year anniversary. Take the kids where they can see old-school lunch counters, drink house-made phosphates, and have a locally famous shake still served in a frosty glass.
Web | Facebook

31. Uptown Trolley Ride - See a little bit of one of Dallas’ most charming neighborhoods from an air-conditioned vintage trolley. Rides are always free. Web | Facebook | Twitter

32. Visit Dallas’ B&G’s - As part of a city campaign, the City of Dallas has place giant blue B’s and G’s around town. You stand in the middle to be the “i” (as in “Big D” get it?). Visit any or all of the BG’s and find creative ways to be the I. Web | Facebook | Twitter

The McGee family at the Kylde Warren Park Dallas BIG location.

The McGee family at the Kylde Warren Park Dallas BIG location.

33. Six Flags - Get your thrills at DFW’s biggest theme park, with roller coasters, rides and events that suit all ages, from kiddie to the kid at heart.
Web | Facebook | Twitter

34. Park Lane Equestrian Center - Offering lessons, not “pony rides.” Web | Facebook | Twitter

35. Summer Dive-In movies at the Fairmont - Book a staycation night at the Fairmont and take advantage of their summer dive-in movies, where you can watch a flick and swim at the same time every Saturday night. Check their calendar for show schedules. Web | Facebook | Twitter

36. Girls Rock Dallas - Girls Rock Dallas is a summer day rock ‘n roll camp for girls ages 8-17. Campers will be instructed in guitar, bass, keyboard, drums and vocals, form a band and write original songs. The camp wraps up with a performance at a live music venue in Dallas. Web | Facebook | Twitter

Bass instruction with Rah Stitchez and Kelly Hnot at Girls Rock Dallas.

Bass instruction with Rah Stitchez and Kelly Hnot at Girls Rock Dallas.

37. Frisco Discovery Center - The Frisco Discovery Center has an art gallery, children’s theater and interactive science center for kids to explore, learn and create. In early summer they host a butterfly exhibit and they offer various camps and programs all summer long focusing on everything from yoga to robotics.
Web | Facebook

38. Creative Motion - Creative Motion (presented by Circus Freaks) is a program that teaches kids and the kid at heart the art of clown skills, with “hooping, spinning, juggling and general tomfoolery.” Their classes are Tuesdays from 8 - 10 pm at Midtown Gallery at Valley View Center (at this location through the end of summer). All events are free and no dance or clowning background is required to clown around with these guys. Web | Facebook | Twitter

39. Fraternal Order of the Eagles Swimming Pool - The FOE is more than just a swimming pool; it’s a swimming pool stocked with good folks and family fun. They have a pool, park area, picnic tables, some light food and snacks, volley ball courts, grills and they generally host cool events (like crawfish broils and brunches) selectively throughout the year. They also have a bar, so it’s a good time for the parents too. Web | Facebook

The Fraternal Order of Eagles pool in East Dallas.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles pool in East Dallas.

40. Slappy’s Puppet Playhouse - Located in the Galleria, Slappy’s Puppet Playhouse is like a variety show for kids, with funny productions involving puppets and marionettes. Facebook

41. Fort Worth Stockyards - In addition to cool, saloon style boutiques and various “old west” activities, the Fort Worth Stockyards does a daily cattle drive at 11:30 am and 4 pm. Following the cattle drives during the summer weekends they also put on a gunfight show. Check their calendar for special events and holiday celebrations. Web | Facebook | Twitter

42. Log Cabin Village in Fort Worth - Head to Fort Worth for a little peek at what life was like over a hundred years ago as a pioneer and experience a little bit of log cabin culture. Web | Facebook | Twitter

43. IMAX Theatre - Snazz up the summer blockbusters by seeing it at the IMAX. In Dallas proper you can find an IMAX at Northpark Center and a one other location. Web | Facebook

44. Pokey O's - This mom and pop ice cream parlor in Dallas has been open since 2006 and offers a wide variety of flavors of homemade ice cream, cookies, flavored popcorn, and other delights. For something novel and delicious, try one of their new Ice Cream Tacos. The store is conveniently located off of Mockingbird and Central Expressway. Web | Facebook | Twitter

The ice cream taco at PokeyO's.

The ice cream taco at PokeyO's.

45. Dallas Heritage Village - Learn a little about past lives while walking through Victorian and pioneer homes. Website | Facebook

46. Trinity River Audubon Center - Celebrate all things nature and birds at the Trinity River Audubon Center. They have nature trails, education programs, summer camp opportunities and they even offer River Adventures (a two hour guided float trip on the Trinity River). Web | Facebook | Twitter

47. Henrietta Creek Orchard - In June and July, peaches are ripe for the pickin’ at this pick your own farm. Then head back in late summer and fall to pick your own apples. They also sell a few veggies and usually have fresh eggs. Web | Facebook

48. ATT Performing Arts Center - Most of the venues with the ATT Performing Arts Center run special plays and performances over the summer for kids.
Web | Facebook | Twitter

49. Sandy Lake Park - This amusement park in Carrollton has rides, a swimming pool, an arcade, paddle boats and putt putt. Web | Facebook

50. Fort Worth Museum of Science and History - Romp around in the Dino Labs or gaze at the stars in the Noble Planetarium at the FWMSH. They also have a children’s museum, a cattle raisers museum and rotating special exhibitions.
Web | Facebook

51. Night Bowling at 300 - This decidedly non-smoking bowling alley has blacklight night bowling and kids 12 and under get 2 free games per day all summer. Web | Facebook

The private room at 300 Dallas.

The private room at 300 Dallas.

Photo credit(s): Unless otherwise specified, all photos were sourced from the official website or Facebook page for each company or organization.

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