Dallas, Texas, families looking for a change of summer scenery and new found opportunities for adventure are in luck. There are five cities within a two hours drive of Dallas that serve up a wide variety of family friendly and affordable fun. Here they are:
Families will find the City of Rowlette to be wet, wild and affordable. Located less than 30 minutes away, it is home to both Lake Ray Hubbard and the Wet Zone Family Water Park. The Wet Zone is open Wednesday through Monday, May through August. The park opens at 11 am Wednesday through Saturday and at noon on Sundays. Admission is $10.50 per adult and children’s prices are based on the child’s height.
Just a short 30 minute drive from Dallas is the City of Plano. It is home to such family friendly attractions as Amazing Jakes, the Plano African American Museum, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, the Heritage Farmstead, Fairview Farms and the Interurban Railway Museum. Young child will particularly enjoy the live farm animals at the Heritage Farmstead. Self guided tours of the farmstead’s grounds are a steal at $2 per person. Families may also opt for more comprehensive, guided tours of the entire complex for a mere $5 per adult. The museum is open year round, Tuesday through Sunday, with guided tours starting promptly at 1:30 pm.
3. Forth Worth
The family-friendly City of Forth Worth is a mere 45 minutes from Dallas and offers families such entertaining options as the National Cowgirl Museum, the Fort Worth Stockyards, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and the Fort Worth Zoo.
The National Cowgirl Museum is open year round, Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 am until 6 pm. Admission is $10 per adult and $8 per child between the ages of 3 through 12. Children under 3 years of age are on the house. Highlights include a life size replica of a bronco that the kids can take for a spin. After the museum families would be remiss to forgo a visit to the Fort Worth Stockyards. The stockyards offer a twice daily glimpse at an authentic cattle drive, Wild West performances and special events like Cow Camp.
Families willing to make the one hour drive from Dallas to Greenville will find the Peace Garden, American Cotton Museum and the Mathews Prairie Nature Preserve. Perfect for baseball and military history fans, the American Cotton Museum is open year round, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 am until 5 pm. Admission is $6 per adult and $2 per child. Museum highlights include exhibits on Audie Murphy and Monty Stratton.
Located one hour and 40 minutes from Dallas, the petite City of Tyler packs a proverbial punch when it comes to affordable, family fun. For the history buffs there is the circa 1878 McClendon House and Camp Ford; one of the largest Confederate Prisoner of War Camps in Texas. For outdoor enthusiasts there is the 980 plus acre Tyler State Park and Fire Mountain Amusements. Both are open year round and offer up a variety of action packed activities.
Tyler State Park features a sublime 64 acre lake, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, fishing, boating, picnicking, special events and wild life viewing. It is open daily, year round and admission is $5 per person, ages 13 and older. Those less than 13 years of age are gratis.
Fire Mountain Amusements opens at 1 pm Tuesday through Sunday and features carnival rides, bumper boats, miniature golf, go karting and a colossal, indoor arcade. Ticket prices vary per ride so families that plan on making a day of it would be wise to consider purchasing wristbands, which range from $18 to $36 per person.
Other family friendly attractions in Tyler include the Discovery Science Place, the Caldwell Zoo, the Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge and Brookshire’s World of Wildlife Museum.
Wet Zone Family Water Park, “Park Information” Wet Zone Family Water Park
Heritage Farmstead, “Museum Location, Hours, and Fees” Heritage Farmstead
National Cowgirl Museum, “Home” National Cowgirl Museum
Forth Worth Stockyards, “The Herd’s Cow Camp” Fort Worth Stockyards
Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum, “Home” Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum
Camp Ford, “Camp Ford Notable Facts” Camp Ford
Texas Parks and Wildlife, “Tyler State Park” Texas Parks and Wildlife
Fire Mountain Amusements, “Home” Fire Mountain Amusements