Road Trip: 5 Free Things to do in Dallas

Former Austinite Emilie Reimer recently moved to Dallas and started her own website for families, Free Fun Dallas! Today, she shares some of the fun you can get into when visiting the metropolis to our north.

Kid Friendly Dallas: Come Visit Us!

There are so many free and free-ish things to with kids in Dallas. The following are some that make me so proud of my new city. I hope you will agree!

1. KLYDE WARREN PARK

There’s a lot to appreciate about this urban oasis. The park is clean and safe and teeming with activity. There is open space, public art, board games and an outdoor reading room, group exercise, live music …. get it? We like to grab a snow cone and then use the cups to play in one of four splash pads. You can fly a kite. You can play a piano. There is a sit-down restaurant and a semi-upscale snack bar, but the fun food is over at the food trucks. Join a drum circle, drop-in on kid yoga, or just be part of the scenery. See upcoming events here.

2. McKINNEY “M-LINE” TROLLEY

If your little ones are into vehicles like mine are (airplane! choo-choo! racecar!), then don’t miss the opportunity to ride a restored vintage trolley. The trolley is completely free and runs every day of the year. Check out the full schedule and route map here. Each trolley has its name and history proudly displayed in the car. They are clean and charming. The trolley I rode last week, Rosie, was introduced in 1909! All but one of the trolleys is air conditioned. There are bumps and wobbles and it makes for a fun ride. You would have thought we paid a fortune for a ticket! Don’t forget to ask your operator if the kids can ring the bell.

3. FIRST SATURDAYS at the NASHER

Schedule your visit to coincide with Target-sponsored First Saturdays at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Each month focuses on a ‘big idea’ that encourages creative thought and allows your little ones to explore the world. The theme might be explored through art activities and demonstrations, scavenger hunts, family yoga, story time and tours. Free admission is from 10am – 5pm. Family activities run from 10am – 2pm. The Nasher is walking distance from Klyde Warren Park, the M-Line Trolley, and the Dallas Museum of Art. Did you miss First Saturday? Try Target Second Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center!

4. The Dallas Public Library’s BOOKMARKS Location in NORTHPARK CENTER

Between Nordstrom and Macy’s, next door to Forever 21

A kids-only library? YES! And you can sneak in some shopping too! Leave your stroller at the door and explore inside. You’ll find cozy cubbies, story time with props, puzzles, touch-screen computers with games, red chairs that spin, and of course, lots of books. Daily programming might include story times, crafts, yoga, or guests who stop by to perform magic, sing and read, and handle critters. The staff is like a team of happy characters out of a great kid’s book. And NorthPark Center is not just a bunch of stores. There are baby ducks in ponds, art, a huge central open air garden, and through August 17, 2014, check out CASA’s Parade of Playhouses. As an Austinite, you may not check any books out, but your kids will certainly remember this stop on your trip.

5. C3 at DALLAS MUSEUM of ART

“Museum” means be quiet and don’t touch, right? Wrong! At the Center for Creative Connections in the Dallas Museum of Art the rules are look, touch listen, read, make, and talk about art. The space is interactive and kids will come face-to-face with artworks and artists that inspire and engage them. While there, check out the Everyday Family Fun program where families are provided with Art-to-Go family tote bags containing activities that encourage families to discover, learn and talk about art together. General admission to DMA (and C3) is always free!

Did I mention that the DMA is across the street from Klyde Warren Park? Are you seeing a day trip here? Take the M-Line Trolley to the Dallas Museum of Art. Explore your creative side in the C3 Studio and see some world-class art in the museum. Head across the street to Klyde Warren Park and grab some grub. Play in the fountains and listen to music or grab Chutes-and-Ladders and kick back under a tree.

We can’t wait to see you in Dallas!

Emilie Reimer is the proud mom of twin toddlers. She has recently moved from Austin to Dallas where she enjoys exploring her new city. Read about her discoveries at Free Fun Dallas.

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