In Dallas and Fort Worth, more than a quarter of the population is under the age of 18. All these youngsters mean a lot of attractions and activities aimed at families, from kid-friendly wonderlands to outings designed for even the young at heart. From old favorites to brand-new additions—plus a few that may not seem so obvious—here’s where to head as a family.
Now in its 48th season, Shakespeare Dallas brings the Bard’s words to life under the stars at Samuell Grand Amphitheatre. From June 12-July 21, “Shakespeare in Love” (Tu, Sa-Su) and “As You Like It” (W, Th-F) alternate performances, with youth troupe Junior Players taking the stage July 30-Aug. 4 for its production of “Much Ado About Nothing.” It’s BYOB (bring your own blanket—and snacks!), and little ones will feel extra-special “passing the bucket” to collect donations before the show.
You may have heard of Grapevine’s Great Wolf Lodge and its impressive indoor water park, but only those who book a room at the hotel can access it. Enter the open-to-the-public Epic Waters and its 80,000 square feet of water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers, all under a retractable roof that makes the aquatic playground year-round. Three of its 11 slides are the first of their kind in the nation, including the tallest indoor Aqualoop, and there’s a massive interactive water fort just for smaller swimmers.
Budding artists might not believe their eyes at Crayola Experience, inside The Shops at Willow Bend. They can find themselves starring in a coloring page, naming and wrapping their very own crayon, or seeing how the rainbow wax cylinders are made during a live demonstration. Twenty-two hands-on attractions give pint-size Picassos plenty to play with over the installation’s 60,000 square feet.
If your child is obsessed with Peppa Pig (and whose isn’t?), let them climb into her tree house or ride the school bus with Madame Gazelle at Peppa Pig World of Play. Fourteen themed areas inside Grapevine Mills shopping center re-create the hit animated series’ world, from Rebecca Rabbit’s underground home to Granddad Dog’s garage, and give your own little piggies a place to perfect their British accent.
Dallas Zoo is the oldest and largest in Texas, and Fort Worth Zoo is ranked No. 4 in the nation by USA Today. Between the two you can experience acres of wildlife and nearly 1,000 different species (and through Sept. 2 in Dallas, even dinosaurs!). Visit adorable best buds Winspear, a cheetah, and Amani, a labrador retriever, in Dallas; they’ve been living together since they were babies when the pup became an emotional support pal for the endangered cat.