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Kid-Approved Activities Near HGTV Smart Home 2019

No eyerolls or deep sighs on these Dallas adventures—everyone will be engaged!

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Photo: JerSean Golatt / Perot Museum of Nature and Science 

Inside and Outside

Dallas has plenty to do for its younger visitors and residents. Educational, creative and just plain fun are all on the agenda, with some kid-approved food to help us power up (or power down). Special pricing is often available for educators, seniors and military, and most places that charge admission are still free for tiny visitors (under 2). If you plan to hit a bunch in a row, check out CityPASS: discounts are substantial. Parking can be pricey downtown and most attractions that do offer it charge extra, so consider public transport and Lyft. Visit amusement parks early and on weekdays to avoid crowds, and do museums after 2pm to avoid competition with big school groups. Let’s head out!

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Photo: Mark Knight / Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Perot Museum of Science and Nature

A top Dallas attraction, the Perot Museum of Science and Nature is a huge space—11 permanent exhibit halls, a traveling exhibit hall and a 3D theater—but it is so well-designed that it’s easy to navigate and never seems that crowded. It has a dedicated little-kiddo wing in the Moody Family Children’s Museum, and older kids have a wealth of exploration options that are organized by STEM interest. Be overwhelmed by the Alamosaurus in the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall. Perform an actual experiment in the Bio Lab (ages 8 and over), part of the Being Human Hall. Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall lets kids race a cheetah, a T Rex or NFL running back Jamal Charles. Visit Earth Hall to feel an earthquake and touch a tornado. Plan to spend two to three hours at the museum and head over before noon or after 3pm to avoid crowds. Purchase tickets online in advance. Parking onsite. CityPASS discounts.

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Photo: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

The award-winning Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens on White Rock Lake is considered one of the top arboretums in the world and is a "must-visit" on parent lists and travel sites. The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is awesome for younger ones, offering exhibits where they can play and learn. Don’t miss the huge kaleidoscope, the Secret Garden maze and the tree-house-bounce-house Walk in the Clouds. The Arboretum is open daily. Check its website to see what’s on and buy tickets online (reservations are recommended) or call, as school groups can book up the place. Purchase parking online in advance for a price break. Kids under age 2 free. CityPASS discounts.

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Photo: Hypnotic Emporium

Hypnotic Emporium

While you’re near the Arboretum, reward good behavior with a visit to Hypnotic Emporium. It has delicious, locally made ice cream from Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Denton—as well as sundaes, milkshakes and classic candies. Also, the same owners have Hypnotic Donuts and Biscuits next door, so there’s something for everyone. Tip: Visit this place after the Arboretum unless you want to be associated with the sugar-crasher by the Koi Pond.

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