My husband and I have always loved just being out and about and exploring new places. When I was in College (shoutout to Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA!) we would go out all the time. Whether it was taking a drive along the California Coast, exploring the San Gabriel Mountains, or walking down Hollywood Boulevard–we didn’t care. As long as we were out of the house and making memories–it didn’t matter.

We are still very much the same in that way. Except now, we love to have adventures with our children. DFW is not LA, but don’t be fooled. There is so much to do in the metroplex! Especially if you’re like us and are on a budget. I’ve compiled a list of 10 of our favorite things to do with our children in DFW. All but one of the things on this list are FREE. #ifitsfreeitsforme

1. Dallas Museum of ArtDMA may be one of Dallas’ biggest hidden gems for parents of small kids. This museum is open 6 days a week (closed on Mondays). The children’s area on the first floor is pretty impressive. There are things to do for older kids, and there is a play room available for babies and toddlers. DMA also hosts First Tuesdays on the first Tuesday of each month. This is an awesome free event that is geared toward children.

*side note: DMA parking is not free. Parking is $10.

Click this link to learn more about First Tuesday’s at DMA

2. Klyde Warren ParkWhile you’re there at DMA, go ahead and walk across the street to Klyde Warren Park. This place is amazing! It is nestled right in the heart of Downtown Dallas and is an oasis among the hustle and bustle that is usually associated with downtown areas. There is a really cute playground and plenty of wide open space for the entire family (dogs included) to run around and play. Klyde Warren Park is well known for its famous Food Truck Alley, with plenty of yummy food trucks to make any foodie smile. Be sure to check the events calendar on their website, they often host really cool events (free and paid).

Click here to learn more about events at Klyde Warren Park

3. Lakeside Park (Teddy Bear Park)

This is a fun one. I think if I was given the task of creating the most delightfully random space– it would definitely be the Teddy Bear Statues at Lakeside Park. Located in Highland Park, it is short walk over a small bridge and situated smack dab in the middle of a multimillion dollar neighborhood. It’s oh so random, but oh so cool. Pack a lunch when you go to enjoy a picnic amongst the beautiful outdoor scenery.

4. Founders Plaza Observation Area in Grapevine. If your little one(s) love planes as much as my son, they will LOVE Founders Plaza! Not only do you get a front row seat to planes taking off and landing, but you can also hear actual pilots talking in real time to air traffic controllers. There are also binoculars available so that you can get a closer look. It’s pretty awesome. This is another one that I’d suggest packing a lunch for to make the most of the experience.

Click here to learn more about DFW Founders Plaza

5. River Legacy Living Science CenterI first discovered River Legacy about 7 years ago. The science center has gone through an amazing remodel in recent years. The science center is small enough where you can keep an eye on your child from almost anywhere, making it perfect for play dates. The exhibits are so well done and on par with something that you would see at the Perot Museum, for a fraction of the cost. There are a few animals and a couple of smaller exhibits that you can experience for free. But, I would highly suggest visiting the interactive Discovery Room (pictured above). Admission for the Discovery Room is free for children 2 and younger.  It is $3 for children 3-12 and $5 for adults. While it is not entirely free, you really can’t beat the value.

*pro tip: if you can, visit on a weekday morning. It’s very low traffic and you will practically have the place to yourself.

6. Fish Feeding at Bass Pro Shop

If you’ve never taken your kids to Bass Pro Shop, I’d highly suggest making the trip. The store alone is amazingly massive and an adventure all on its own. The Bass Pro Shop in Grapevine hosts a Fish Feeding event each Wednesday and Saturday at 12:30pm. The fish tank is huge and filled with various fish of different sizes. The “Pro” is fitted with a microphone and he or she explains the different fish species, their temperament, and their diet. It’s a pretty interesting show. It’s worth the trip, and honestly there’s so much to do in grapevine anyway that you can hit up some other sites (see below) while you’re in the city.

7. Visit a Park

DFW is filled with so many absolutely fantastic parks. Visiting a park is great because it gives your children a chance to be in the great outdoors and get some fresh air all while they load up on vitamin D– and it’s also FREEEEEEE. I could do a top ten list of parks in the metroplex, but I’ll leave that for another post. However, some of our current favorites are Dream Park (located in Fort Worth), Dove Park (located in Grapevine), Frisco Commons Park (I feel like you’ll know where this one is located), and the playground at River Legacy (located in Arlington). I have not visited this park yet, but I’ll give an honorable mention to PlayGrand Adventures (located in Grand Prairie) because I hear such great things about it– I can’t wait to visit!

8. George Hawkes LibraryThe library in Downtown Arlington was remodeled a couple of years ago, and the children’s area is incredible. Every age range is covered, from the crawlers to the tweens. There is something for everybody. What I love about the children’s area is that it is so welcoming and kids are allowed to be kids. There is no push for the stereotypical library hush hush in that area. Baby/toddler story time is held once a week as well as other events geared towards older children. This library is a must see in Arlington.

Click this link to learn more

9. Fort Worth Water Gardens

The Fort Worth Water Gardens is just such a peaceful place. Your kids will love looking at the different water features and perhaps the water will also have a calming effect on them (wishful thinking haha). This site is located in downtown Fort Worth, and its probably one that you’ve driven by a million times without even realizing it was there. It’s easy to miss, but worth the discovery. You’ll want to hold your little one(s) hand through this one, it’s definitely not a place to run free.

*side note: this site is a popular filming location with stars such as Solange Knowles filming here.

10. Fort Worth Stockyards

Almost anytime we have family or friends visiting from out of town, we take them to the Fort Worth Stockyards. It’s probably one of the most “Texas” places in DFW, and it’s really just a fun place to visit. There are a few fun things you can pay for to do with your kids (train ride, petting zoo, etc.). But, they’ll also enjoy just walking around its cobble stoned streets. Oh, and I can’t forget the daily Cattle Drive. Every day at 11:30am and 4pm you can be transported back in time as cowboys lead beautiful longhorns down East Exchange Avenue. It’s very entertaining for kids and adults alike.

As I mentioned, this is just a small representation of the things that you can do with your kids on a budget. Is there any site on this list you’d never heard of before? Any site that you would add? Sound off in the comments! 😊

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