Family-Friendly Nature Activities

Dallas Now Blog

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See all the wildlife Dallas has to offer

From wildlife sightseeing to outdoor adventures, Dallas and its surrounding cities have plenty for the entire family to enjoy.

Dallas Zoo

Recognized as one of the country’s top 10 zoos by USA Today, the Dallas Zoo is the largest zoological experience in Texas, with a 106-acre park, thousands of animals and an education department that offers programs for all ages. Visit the Giants of the Savanna Exhibit, an 11-acre safari experience where visitors can get up close and personal with giraffes, elephants, lions, cheetahs and many other African species.

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Located about 30 minutes from Downtown Dallas in neighboring city McKinney, the 289-acre wildlife sanctuary and a natural science museum aims to educate visitors on the importance of preserving the environment. Fun interactive activities, like birdwatching and hiking trails, immerse visitors in the environment, in hopes of fostering greater appreciation for nature.

Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden

The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden features 66 acres with 11 lush display gardens that offer seasonal color all year long. Home of Dallas Blooms, the Southwest's largest outdoor floral festival, the Dallas Arboretum provides a tranquil oasis where visitors are surrounded by the beauty of all four seasons. The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden, designed to connect children with nature, has a central focus on their mission to teach life and earth science to children, teachers and families.

Texas Discovery Gardens

Located inside Fair Park, Texas Discovery Gardens is a 7.5-acre botanic garden featuring native and adapted plants. Witness nature's intricate web of life through guided walking tours that allow visitors to see birds, frogs and other native wildlife. Don’t miss the tropical Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House & Insectarium, home to dozens of different types of beautiful butterflies.

Epic Waters

To get your water park fix, look no further than Epic Waters. Located in Grand Prairie and 20 minutes from Downtown Dallas, the indoor/outdoor waterpark features a retractable roof that makes even a rainy summer day a waterpark day. There are also multiple waterslides, an outdoor wave pool and a lazy river.

Trinity Audobon Center

Take the family for a hike along the Trinity Audubon Center’s five miles of trails. Birdwatching is a popular activity at the center as well, and there’s also an indoor exhibit hall to learn more about the plants and animals that are native to the lands.

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Make it a day trip with an outing to Fossil Rim, an 1,800-acre conservation center near Glen Rose, Texas. The center is popular for its self-guided tours along a 7.2-mile scenic drive where you’ll see and meet the center’s ostriches, cheetahs, giraffes and other exotic residents from your car window. For more animal encounters, stop at the Children’s Animal Center to meet tortoises, parrots, macaws and others – all part of the center’s conversation efforts for threatened and endangered species.

Children's Aquarium at Fair Park

With six animal zones to explore, the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park is great for families interested in learning more about marine life. The Freshwater Zone teaches visitors about creatures that live in our lakes and streams, while Stingray Bay shows off its namesake and you can touch and feed them as well. Check the aquarium’s feeding schedule to make sure you’re there during your favorite animal’s lunch hour!


The two-story indoor aquarium lets you get up close to all the underwater creatures you can imagine – think sharks, sea turtles, jellyfish and many varieties of fish. Want to learn more? A behind-the-scenes tour ticket gets you special access to expert guides and interactive experiences to show you the work that goes into taking care of marine life. Find the aquarium near DFW International Airport inside Grapevine Mills, a shopping center 30 minutes from Downtown Dallas.

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Last updated on 06/13/2019.