Bumper guide to the best activities the whole family will love this holiday season in Dallas.
Posted on Nov 16, 2018 By Cidonie Richards
'Tis the season to get out and experience Dallas for the holidays and while we may not always a get a white Christmas, Dallas always puts on a bright and action-packed holiday season. Whatever level of fun and festivities you and your little elves are looking for this year, Dallas has you thoroughly covered.
What's better than seeing dinosaur bones during the day? Seeing them illuminate at night! For the holidays season, come and see a breathtaking display of spectacular lights that will illuminate the imposing T. rex, Frenelopsis (a 110-million-year-old tree), the long-necked Alamosaurus, and more at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
When: Nov. 3 – Jan. 6
Not that Dallas locals need another excuse to visit the beautiful grounds of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, but for this holiday season families will love the 12 Days of Christmas at Night display. Featuring elaborate recreations of the beloved carol in 25-foot-tall gazebos, kids will love the enchanting displays and parents will enjoy taking a trip down memory lane in the gorgeous outdoor botanical environment.
When: Nov. 5 –Jan. 6
When is a zoo more than a zoo? When the animals head in for the evening, and you get to experience the Dallas Zoo transformed into a winter wonderland! Zoo Lights will dazzle with over one million twinkling lights illuminating the zoo, making for a fun night out for all ages throughout the holiday season. Discover realistic silk-covered lanterns in the shape of your favorite animals. All the Dallas Zoo lights display fun is included with your general admission ticket and free for members.
When: Nov. 16 – Jan. 1
While people travel from all over the country to take a ride on some of the highest drop towers and fastest rollercoasters in the world, Six Flags Over Texas is also renowned for its Holiday in the Park festivities. With a frosty snow hill, Santa visits, story time with Mrs Claus, Reindeer dance parties and more, this is the place to get your thrills this holiday season.
When: Select days from Nov. 16 –Dec. 30
It doesn't feel like holidays without ice skating, so be sure to take your little ones (and big ones) to experience the iconic 95-foot Christmas tree in the center of the ice rink at the Galleria Dallas. Not only is the skating experience a must-do fun item, but you'll also get to see Santa making an appearance on the ice-rink shooting fireworks from his skates.
When: Nov. 17 – Dec. 24
Families looking for an extra special way to tour neighborhood lights can book a horse-drawn carriage ride with Highland Park Carriage Tours to see the lights around Highland Park Village and surrounding neighbourhood streets.
When: Bookings throughout Dec – Jan. 1
Step back in time and sing along with strolling carollers with the annual Candlelight holiday celebration at Dallas Heritage Village. The village will be decked in festive lights and children will have the chance to take part in traditional holiday activities, period games and carriage rides pulled by their popular Mammoth Jack Donkeys.
When: Dec. 8 – Dec. 9
For the most iconic and memorable way to see the lights in Dallas, you can't miss the most majestic holiday tree lighting ceremony at Deck the Plaza on City Hall Plaza, with the lighting of a 40-foot-tall tree to classic and contemporary Christmas songs, hot cocoa and cider and a visit from Santa.
When: Nov. 30
Theatre & ballet performances
See the Texas Ballet Theater perform the Nutcracker in two locations at either the Winspear Opera House or Bass Performance Hall. See Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, Sugar Plum Fairies and the army of mice battle on stage and add some extra magic to your family's holiday memories. Also look out for some additional special package deals where you can take a backstage tour!
When: Nov. 23 –Dec. 24
For 35 years, the Dallas Children's Theater has been storytelling on stage, and this holiday season they have performances packed with humor and fun for the whole family. Be entertained with unique shows like The Snowy Day and A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens, based on the childhood popular chapter book, the Magic Tree.
When: The Snowy Day: Dec. 8 –Jan. 20; A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Dec. 8 – Jan. 20
For fans of Will Ferrell, and for those of you who loved his character Buddy in the movie Elf!, you'll love the chance to see the classic holiday movie adaption on stage as a musical at Music Hall at Fair Park. ELF The Musical is goofy and fun and will make the kids laugh, and parents chuckle with humor fit for the whole family.
When: Nov. 27- Dec. 2
Families wanting the ultimate Santa meet-and-greet and festive activities for the little ones won't want to miss all the fun at the Hilton Anatole when it transforms its space into Peppermint Park for the holidays. Kids will be enchanted with the magical train ride through the park, a chance to enrol into Elf school, predict the weather with Jack Frost, make slime with the Grinch and much more. Don't forget your letters to mail to Santa!
When: Peppermint Park is open to all hotel guests with selected packages from Dec. 7 – Dec. 23
For the past 15 years, The Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center has enthralled visitors with its spectacular winter wonderland, ICE! ®. Over 40 professional ice sculptors from Harbin in Northeast China, are flown to Dallas to hand-carve the 2 million pounds of ice. The 14,000-square-foot space will showcase a stunning display themed with Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. Be sure also to check out the other Lone Star Christmas events taking place including ice skating, snow tubing, visits from Santa, cookie making and more.
When: Nov. 9 – Jan. 1
Header photo credit Dallas Zoo