Today I discovered that Fair Park is more than just the home of the State Fair of Texas. Now before anyone in DFW freaks on me, let’s remember we’ve only been here for a year and a half. The only times I’ve been there were to see Hamilton and to go to the State Fair. Both times it was crowded and truly I didn’t think twice.
As soon as we entered the grounds, I was confused because I was driving on all the “walkways” that we walked on during the State Fair. I thought my dad was sending me to drive on a sidewalk! I don’t know how I didn’t realize then, that there was so much more to Fair Park than just the State Fair. On top of the 1,200 events and fairs they hold year round, it is also the home of the African American Museum, Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, The Hall of State, Texas Discovery Gardens, and South Dallas Cultural Center.
First we ventured to the Children’s Aquarium. It’s a cute little aquarium that is perfect for a half day or a short visit before or after lunch. This historic Art Deco building houses thousands of aquatic animals, among them: sharks, sting rays, a snapping turtle, electric eels and more. Entry is extremely affordable at $8 for adults and $6 for children 3-11. If you are a member of the Dallas Zoo you get two dollars off your admission. Annual passes are $20 for adults and $15 for children 3-11 and if you’re a member of the Dallas Zoo you get $5 off.
As we were walking out of the Children’s Aquarium a nice lady asked us if we had visited the Butterfly House at the Texas Discovery Gardens. We figured, since we hadn’t, that we should walk on over and check it out. Entry for adults is $10 and children 3-11 pay $5. There are a wide range of tiered memberships that start at $50 to $1200 that offer various add-ons at each level. We ended up only visiting the Butterfly House, but it was worth the admission. It’s a beautiful two story, glassed atrium filled with a tropical landscape that mimics butterflies’ native habitats. Every day at the gardens, they hold Toddler Talk at 11 AM, Butterfly Release at 12 PM, and Critter Encounter at 2 PM. Our favorite part of our visit was looking at the emergence chamber and touching the little butterflies that have lived their lives out. Next time we will plan to stay long enough to explore the Snakes of Texas and gardens. I have also emailed Whitney Mahan to schedule a butterfly release in memory of my mom on what would have been her 55th birthday. They are $50 and gives entry to two people and you get to release two butterflies into the Butterfly House.
All in all, it was quite fortunate that we discovered all these little gems in Fair Park. They were inexpensive, a cute little walk from each other, and small enough to keep littles entertained. If you’re looking for a little activity to do in the heart of Dallas with the kiddos, this is the ticket.
Until the next adventure,