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Attractions for Kids at Fair Park (Self Guided), Dallas

Fair Park is the biggest park in the city and one of historic and cultural significance. Established in 1880, this landmark is located not far from downtown Dallas. Fair Park offers plenty of cultural and entertainment facilities, especially for children. Here you will find many places of interest, including museums, exhibitions, performance stages, landscaped grounds, a big aquarium, and the splendid Texas Star.
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Attractions for Kids at Fair Park Map

Guide Name: Attractions for Kids at Fair Park
Guide Location: USA » Dallas (See other walking tours in Dallas)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: sylvia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Center
  • Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park
  • Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park
  • Leonhardt Lagoon
  • Fair Park Midway
1 Center

1) Center

This venue is located in Dallas, Texas, and is one of the biggest performing arts centers in the United States. It is designed to make it easy to have large events. There is a pavilion area that seats over 7,500 people. The lawn area can hold another 12,000. So, as you can imagine, this is a very popular venue for summer concerts. This location has been host to famous people like Jimmy Buffett, Kiss, Blink, and many more.

This complex used to be known as the Smirnoff Music Center, the Coca Cola Starplex, and the Starplex Amphitheater. It was opened to the general public in 1988, and has undergone a lot of changes over the years. It is owned by the City of Dallas, and was a viable part of the Fair Park system for years. Due to the popularity of the location, corporate sponsors eventually approached the city to rename the location. will be the sponsor for the immediate future.

The overall style of the center is deco art. It was a main venue site for the State Fair in 1936. Millions of fans have visited this location throughout the years. So, plan on attending an event, if you get the chance.
Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park

2) Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park

The Discovery Gardens constitute seven and a half acres of ground that has multiple styles of gardens and botanical displays. The location features one of the best collections of native Texas plants to be found anywhere. However, it also has plant collections from across the world to see. The local collection has been designed to be ecologically friendly to the local animals, bugs, birds and butterflies.

The exhibits inside feature a garden designed just for smell. It also has an heirloom garden full of wonderful native plants. You will also want to make sure and go see the butterfly habitat here. It also contains an insectarium. Another popular summer location here is the so called Shade Garden. In the hot Texas summers, this place offers the visitor a cooler spot to come and reflect upon life for just a bit.

The Discover Garden has something for all ages. It is located in the southeastern corner of Fair Park, adjacent to the Fair Park Band Shell.
Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park

3) Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park (must see)

The Children’s Aquarium is one of the most interesting exhibit venues in Fair Park. It is associated with the Dallas Zoo Family. It opened to the public in 1936, and was one of the feature exhibits of the Texas Centennial Celebration.

As part of the overall Park, it is done in a deco art style of architecture. The building holds thousands of different types of animals and fish. The location showcases an exhibit called the “Greatest Hits of the Sea.” In this exhibit, kids can see sting rays, eels, sea urchins, anemones, and a host of other wonderful creatures. There is also an outdoor display that is called Stingray Bay, where people can actually interact with a variety of sea creatures.

The Aquarium is located between the Giant Ferris Wheel and the Fair Park Band Shell. The park was recently updated, to the tune of eight million dollars, so it is definitely a modern facility. The park is open to the public daily from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Adults can get in for $8. Children age three to eleven are $6. Kids under age three are free.
Leonhardt Lagoon

4) Leonhardt Lagoon (must see)

The Leonhardt Lagoon is a very famous part of the Fair Park Midway. It has always been a great place for families to come and visit. Feeding the birds here has been a tradition for kids for years also.

The lagoon was created in 1936 by the Work Progress Administration (also called the WPA). The body of water gets its name from Dorothea Leonhardt, who was a famous philanthropist in the area.

The lagoon underwent a considerable bit of renovation during the 1980s. The whole thing was cleaned out, and access plants were removed. The location was then refilled with native Texas plants. So now, it is a modern day ecological haven for animals. Two serpentine style sculptures were also added in 1986. Designed by the famous Pat Johanson, they create a bridge that can be walked across, which also gives the visitor a great view of the new look of the lagoon.

If you are bringing kids, you may want to do the swan rides across the lagoon. There is also a Nature Walk that has twenty five different stops along the way. It is located between the Museum of Science and Nature and the Cotton Bowl.
Fair Park Midway

5) Fair Park Midway (must see)

The Fair Park is a large recreational and educational complex that is a must see. The 277 acre park is located in Dallas. It is registered as a historic landmark in the city, and also appears on the National Register of Historic Places. The complex is the location for nine museums, a large lagoon, and six separate performance venues. And in true Texas fashion, the largest Ferris wheel in the United States is located here too. It is also the home of the Texas State Fair each year.

The whole complex was designed and constructed in 1936. It was built to be the showcase of the Texas Centennial Exposition of the same year. That event drew over six million visitors. A great many of the buildings that were constructed for that event have survived, and have been restored to their original look and condition. In many respects, this set of buildings is also the best example of art deco design in all of Texas. George Dahl and Paul Cret were the designers.

The park was designated a National landmark in 1986, yet it is still as active a place now as it has ever been. Annually, there are over seven million people visiting the complex.

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