Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dallas Activities Beyond the Rodeo

Beth MorleyBeth Morley is a full-time mom, part-time English professor, aspiring chef, and secret techno geek. She resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband David and her two kids Lucy & Max. You can read all about her domestic mishaps and social mistakes at Blog O' Beth. If you happen to be a resident of Dallas as well feel free to leave your own personal tips for enjoying the area, I'd love to hear them.

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I live in Dallas or “the Big D." I do not own a cowboy hat or cowboy boots. I do own a gun, but I don’t own bullets so I’m not sure if that still counts. Dallas is more than a football team, a TV show, 10-gallon hats and the spot where JFK was shot.

Places to Go Besides the Rodeo

If you’ve never been to a rodeo and it sounds like fun then yes, go to the rodeo. However, I’d like to suggest some other ideas. Skip the Texas Rangers baseball stadium. Instead, head north to the minor league baseball stadium.

The Frisco Rough Riders are about 35 minutes north of the city proper. The stadium is beautiful and every Friday game includes a fantastic fireworks show at the end. Plus, the lawn seats (which are so close you can see the player’s faces) are only $8 a piece – much cheaper than any major league stadium.

The Dallas World Aquarium is not the official city aquarium but privately owned and operated. However, it is more than just an aquarium it is a replica of the rain forest. Visitors start at the top of the rain forest canopy with monkeys and birds and gradually work their way through to the bottom. The aquarium includes everything from howler monkeys to jaguars to flamingos to sharks and manatees.

The aquarium is fully indoors and temperature controlled which makes it perfect for those really hot summer days. It is also the right size for smaller, younger kids. It isn’t too big, and therefore easy for small tykes to see the whole thing without too much complaining or exhaustion.

The down side to the aquarium is that it is far more expensive than a city aquarium, but well worth the cost of admission. It is also conveniently located 2 blocks from the “West End” which is the main tourist area of Dallas.

See the City

The Nasher Sculpture Center. One of the things I love most about living in Dallas is the city. It is a wonderfully diverse, beautiful, sophisticated city where it's comfortable to roam around. I have always felt safe in Dallas and indeed many of my friends work in the downtown area. This was refreshing to me coming from Detroit.

The Nasher Sculpture Center is one of the more unique attractions, it is a large outdoor sculpture garden right in the middle of the city. Dallas has a large and growing arts district and the Nasher is part of it. The sculptures are part of the private collection from the Nasher family and the garden has been nationally recognized for its beauty. The cost is minimal with only $10 per adult and children 12 and under free. It can be easily reached by commuter rail (if you are staying in the “burbs”) and it is close to a freeway exit if driving.

Oh, and JFK Was Shot Here

Lastly, go to the Sixth Floor Museum. It does garner a lot of press but it deserves it. I’m not much of a JFK historian myself but even I found the museum amazing and interesting. It is also a relatively short museum to get through but so fascinating you’ll be glad you went. It is also close to both the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Aquarium so it's easy to schedule in addition to another activity on the same day.

Southern Hospitality: The Truth

The best thing about Dallas is the people who live here. It is a large city with a very diverse population. It is one of the few cities in the United States where being white makes you a minority. And yet, it has never felt like a city divided to me. Most of the residents are transplants from other states and countries and this creates a melting pot atmosphere. The southern kindness and hospitality can be felt everywhere.

You can enter the Ritz Carlton and see tuxedos mixing with cowboy boots and nobody thinks a thing of it. Don’t be alarmed if strangers start talking to you. They are not trying to steal from you (as I thought early on) they are just friendly.

The summers in Dallas are brutal with temperatures frequently reaching into the triple digits. If you are a northerner then the best time to come is in April or May when it is still cold up north but rather pleasant down here. Nothing is more beautiful and stunning then Texas in spring. There are wildflowers planted on the side of every road and the blankets of blossoms always make me feel like I’m on my way to a wedding. Come on down y’all and we’ll have a grand time!

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If you'd like to write about the activities in your area you can see the details at Your Chance to Play Tour Guide.

Congratulations to last week's remaining two winners of the Touchstone Crystal Giveaway: Sadie from Dallas, Texas and Jill from Lynwood, Washington and Amanda? check you email to see if you won this weekend's Pepsi Ultimate Super Bowl Party Giveaway--I sent an email but haven't heard back. I need you to answer to get your prize shipped out in time for the game.

I have to say I had no idea the Super Bowl package would be that popular--and who knew there were so many Steelers fans lurking around? Obviously my son still has a bit to do to get me properly educated in football, Andrew pointed out that is wasn't Indiana that beat the Chargers as I said in my post, it was the Steelers. And that they shouldn't be called Indiana but "Indianapolis." I responded by saying that the last time I checked Indianapolis was still part of Indiana but that didn't matter. Apparently they're only called "the Colts" or "Indianapolis" by all god-fearing and upright people. Won't make THAT mistake again.

Sponsored by Little Window Shoppe--One of my favorite places for products and style.

Technorati tags: travel, activities, children, Dallas, Texas

12 comments:

Sage said...

I have an affection for Dallas since the days of the soap with JR and Sue-Ellen.. I am sure it isn't like the tv programme but I would love to visit the city and try some of those sights and sounds that Beth mentioned

cndymkr / jean said...

I love this "travel section".

Melissa said...

There's also a lot of shopping! Someone made a comment that shopping must be our favorite pasttime here after they visited and saw all of the shopping centers.

For families traveling with children, there is also the Museum of Nature and Science which includes a children's museum, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater, among other exhibits.

Lucy said...

I have never been to Dallas. I've been to all but three states including Texas. But never Dallas. I want to.

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

I was born in Denton, near Forth Worth, and then after my first year in college I stayed with a roommate's family for the summer. It was hot! And green! I loved the Dallas Museum of Art.

(the end). Great post, Beth!

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

Oh, I wanted to mention that Texas has such great "Mexican" food. I loved going to Taco Bueno (is that the name?). SO much better than Taco Bell!

Blog O' Beth said...

I have an entire post dedicated to Dallas food. I haven't done anything with it yet, but it may be coming soon. And yes, it is Taco Bueno. Texas food falls into two categories; "Mexican" which means anything Southwest and Barbecue. Sometimes we have steak just to mix things up.

Christine said...

I live in Tulsa, which is just a mere four hour drive from Dallas. I've got two sisters who live there and have visited many times. If you like shopping, one of my favorite malls is Grapevine Mills, just a little north of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. A great mix between and outlet and a non-outlet mall. And right near that, a fabulous hotel that brings the outdoors in is the Gaylord Texan. Simply beautiful!

My girlfriends and I are actually planning a trip to the Frisco area for a few days in May. I STRONGLY agree with your suggestion to go to Texas in the spring; summers can be downright hazardous!

Mommy Cracked said...

Great post! I recently discovered Beth's blog and even featured one of her posts in a list of great reads I do on my blog.

Lei said...

Dallas is a fantastic city. We love to visit. Nice to meet you, fellow Texan!

Hairline Fracture said...

Fort Worth girl, born and bred, here. I second all of Beth's suggestions and Melissa's endorsement of the FW Museum of Science and History. FTW also has the National Cowgirl Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum which has some great exhibits.

The Stock Show and Rodeo is going on now, if anyone wants to plan for next year. :-)

Lori said...

I live in Dallas as well! Yes, the Frisco Rough Riders baseball games are a blast. Very family friendly. So are the Frisco/Texas Tornados. Minor-league hockey. We absolutely love the Dallas Arboretum. It's such a wonderful gem within the city. The spring floweral display are amazing and the fall displays will put you in the holiday mood.