By Allison Tibaldi, Taking the Kids Correspondent
I woke up excited to further explore Dallas. My room at the Hyatt Regency Dallas was comfortable and quiet, the bed cozy.
My morning wake-up call was perfectly on time, as I wanted to arrive at the Dallas Arboretum bright and early. It is located just a few minutes from downtown on the shores of White Rock Lake. Its 66 acres feature 11 lush display gardens that offer changing colors and fragrance, according to the season.
The much-anticipated Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure had just opened, and big crowds were expected. The sprawling 8-acre interactive garden is an open-air science and nature museum. 17 galleries teach children about the natural world in a low-key, non-pressurized manner. Concepts such as photosynthesis and pollination are explored in an interactive, entertaining and age-appropriate fashion.
The team who created this garden clearly understands that children have a multitude of learning styles and learn best when concepts and information are expressed in a variety of different ways. All this teaching is done in a whimsical, indoor-outdoor setting loaded with enchanting features like mushroom-shaped seats, waterfalls and a babbling brook. 62 million dollars have been poured into this garden, and the results are spectacular.
Next stop was the Perot Museum of Science and Nature. It opened in late 2012 and is fast becoming one of the most popular family attractions in town. This state-of-the-art building houses 11 exhibit halls on five floors. Visitors explore science and nature through video, hands-on activities, interactive kiosks and learning labs. Curiosity will be stimulated no matter what age you are. Infants and toddlers have a dedicated space on the lower level, the Moody Family Children’s Museum.
School-aged kids shouldn’t miss the Rose Hall of Birds, where they can learn about these feathered creatures and actually try to fly. The Bio Lab, part of the Being Human Hall, should appeal to tweens. You can don a white lab coat and act as a research scientist, examining DNA extracted from your own cheek cells.
The Café is an excellent place to stop for lunch. The menu highlights local ingredients and the prices are very fair.
Dinner was at a new restaurant, Savor Gastropub. The vibe is hip and trendy, so at first look it might not appear kid-friendly. But the simply prepared, fresh, local foods should appeal to young palates. Chef Coleman is a father of three, and goes out of his way to cater to children’s taste buds. It is located in Klyde Warren Park, so if you choose outdoor seating the kids can play while you wait for your meal.
This new park is one of the most vibrant urban spaces I have ever encountered. This 5.2- acre space bridges the Arts District with the sleek Uptown neighborhood. Its hallmark is non-stop free programming everyday, all year. Concerts, yoga classes, ballroom dance lessons are all great ways to find your mojo when traveling tires you out.
There is a sparkling new playground with excellent equipment, a verdant lawn, botanical garden and a reading space with books to borrow. A dynamic and diverse food truck scene is on hand when you need a snack. It is a true gem and is quickly become the pride of the city.