The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, often referred to as simply The Metroplex, is a gleaming business mecca that may not, at first, seem very kid-friendly. Look beyond the shiny skyscrapers and endless freeways, however, and you’ll find lots of engaging adventures for the wee ones.
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For families that enjoy falling from high places, the Zero Gravity Thrill Park will provide an unforgettable adrenaline rush. You can bungee-jump and drop seven stories. Or you could opt for Nothing but Net, which can’t really be described as a ride; they simply drop you 16 stories into a large net. The other attractions—Skycoaster, Blastoff, and Skyscraper—are all equally harrowing.
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The Dallas World Aquarium has expanded from its fishy origins to become an indoor zoo, complete with a rainforest habitat full of monkeys and birds. Daily feedings of otters, penguins, and sharks are always a big hit with the kiddos. This is an excellent place to take squirmy little ones during bad weather.
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Founded in 1888, the Dallas Zoo is the largest in Texas, covering 95 acres. You may not be able to see it all in one day, but don’t miss the Giants of the Savanna area. On an elevated deck, you can feed lettuce to giraffes. In the Serengeti Grill, you can eat right next to a large window that offers an up-close view of lions. The area near the window is cooled to encourage lion lounging. In the kid’s zoo, children can watch mole-rats crawl through burrows, and then they can crawl through their own kid-sized tunnels. There are also pony rides available and an area where overheated kids can splash through a creek.
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There are no utensils at this 11th century-themed dinner theater. What could be more fun for a kid than eating with his hands? Add real horses, damsels in distress, jousting knights, and melodrama, and you’ve got a raucous experience most children will love. A four-course banquet is served during the two-hour show.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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White Rock Lake Park
Let the kids burn off some steam on the nine-mile hike-and-bike trail while you enjoy watching the ducks and sailboats on the lake. If you’re lucky, you may spot a flock of green monk parakeets or a red fox. The 1,088-acre lake is also brimming with fish, including bass, crappie, and catfish. Sunset Bay on the eastern shore is a prime spot for picnics or watching the sunset.
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Restored antique trolleys offer free rides around the historic Uptown area. Hop on at the Cityplace train station. There are plenty of fun stops along the way, including sidewalk cafes, the Dallas Museum of Art, antique stores and art galleries. Drivers are well-versed in Dallas lore and will keep the children entertained.
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Young children will enjoy the interactive exhibits, where they can milk a fake cow or dig for dinosaur bones in a sand box. In the IMAX theater, the 79-foot dome-shaped screen delivers an immersive experience with state-of-the-art sound. Need more stimulation? Try the Electric Theater, where kids can be part of the show as performers demonstrate how electricity and magnetism work.
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Located halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth in Arlington, the Six Flags theme park has enough variety to satisfy teens and toddlers alike. For fearless types, who are over 48 inches tall, the Titan roller coaster climbs 25 stories and achieves drop speeds of 85 mph. The whole family can participate in the Roaring Rapids ride, which is basically a large, round bumper boat that splashes through man-made whitewater. For a mellow ride with a great view, head to the Cloud Bouncer, where you slowly spin as you climb higher and higher in the basket of a pretend hot-air balloon.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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From 1866 to 1890, more than 4 million cattle were driven through Fort Worth, on their way to points further north. In 1876, the railroad arrived, and Fort Worth became a major shipping hub for cattle sent by rail. The Fort Worth Stockyards were built to support this booming industry, and restaurants, bars, and hotels sprang up around the stockyards. Today, it’s a National Historic District and entertainment complex. There are still daily cattle drives, but they’re just for fun. Every Friday and Saturday night, there’s a rodeo, complete with bull riding, roping, and barrel racing.
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Located next to the Fort Worth Zoo, this living history museum allows kids to take a peek at life in the mid-1800s in Texas. Costumed historical interpreters make candles, work in the blacksmith shop and tend an herb garden. Each of the seven cabins includes authentic pieces from the era. The log smokehouse, with sausage hanging from the rafters, demonstrates how meat was prepared before refrigeration. Even if you’re not a history buff, you can take a relaxing stroll through the beautifully wooded grounds.