When you’re planning your trip to Dallas, include a trip to one (or more!) of the city’s many children’s museums. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is one of the best in the country. Or, perhaps, you’ve got a teen studying America in the ’60s – a visit to The Sixth Floor Museum is a must. Here are the top museums to check out on your next Texas vacation!
Dallas Children’s Museums
Move over Houston! You’ll find some of the best kid-friendly museums in Texas in Dallas-Fort Worth. Whether it’s a staycation or Texas road trip, pencil in some time visiting Dallas museums when you’re in North Texas — they’re some of the best things to do in Dallas with kids.
And best of all, several of the museums offer free admission for everyone, while others let kids in for free.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is the top museum in Dallas and one the whole family will love. Stroll the 11 permanent exhibit halls covering dinosaurs, minerals, energy and the earth. Includes a movie theater and lots of hands-on activities for kids and their adults. Running through April 24, 2022, is “Towers of Tomorrow”, 20 of America’s iconic skyscrapers crafted out of LEGO Bricks. Additionally, there are over 200,000 loose LEGOs for your kids to play with during your visit! (Admission to “Towers of Tomorrow” is in additional to regular museum entry.).
Admission includes the Moody Family Children’s Museum, which is geared toward kids 5 and under. The Children’s Museum has an indoor nature hike and water play area. And you can find a mini version of Reunion Tower too.
Located at 2201 N. Field St. Open Thursday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Saturday and Sunday, the museum opens one hour early for members. Due to Covid, admission tickets are timed so be sure to purchase in advance.
Adult admission is $20 and kids 3 to 12 is $13 with kids 2 and under free. Or use your Dallas CityPASS. If you are an educator, member of another museum, or first responder check here for Perot Museum discounts.
Coronavirus precautions are in place. Masks are required for everyone age 2 and above.
Closest and Best Hotel: The Fairmont Dallas is the closest hotel, but most Perot Museum visitors have kids, so we recommend the Hyatt House Dallas Uptown. Not only are these suite-style hotels complete with kitchenettes, but it’s on the “right” side of the highway for the museum; if you decide to stroll there you won’t be navigating an underpass.
Read More: Taking Kids to a Museum? Essential Tips for a Fun Visit
Learn more about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot the president from the sixth floor of the book depository. Walk through JFK’s visit to Texas and the morning of the assassination in this exhibit and then look out the window to imagine the presidential motorcade as it was that fateful day.
Due to the mature nature of this subject, The Sixth Floor Museum is best suited for tweens and teens. Talk to them before you visit so they have some understanding of the history.
Located at 411 Elm St. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Due to coronavirus, timed tickets are required, as are masks. Adult admission is $18, kids 6 to 18 $14 and kids 5 and under are free. Or use your Dallas CityPASS.
SheBuysTravel Tip: If a trip to the observation deck of Reunion Tower, a Dallas landmark, is on your itinerary, combine it with your trip to the The Sixth Floor Museum. They’re both located on the west side of the city.
Closest and Best Hotel: Splurge on the Omni Dallas. Not only is it centrally located but you’ll feel like you’ve landed in luxury. SheBuysTravel Nasreen Stump says she’s a sucker for the TV in the bathroom mirror (really!) and the patio games in the hotel bar.
The Southwest 737 sticking out of the building will grab the kids’ attention. That’s just one of the planes at the Frontiers of Flight Museum that are hanging from the rafters inside and parked outside.
As a bonus, head around back to see the Southwest jets take off and land at Love Field, one of its hubs. Find a Southwest jet that kids can walk through too. This is a great way to kill a little time before you head to the airport for a flight.
Located at 6911 Lemmon Ave., at the Dallas Love Field Airport. Open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $10 and kids 3 to 17 $7. Free parking. Covid-19 protocols can be found here.
Closest and Best Hotel: It’s not just because of the Doubletree cookie but the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Dallas-Love Field is clean, close and family-friendly.
Learn more about 9/11 in the Nation under Attack exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Then walk through a replica of the Oval Office where kids can take a picture behind the president’s desk.
This museum is better suited for tweens and teens since its collection is rich in recent history.
Located on the Southern Methodist University Campus at 2943 SMU Boulevard. Open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $26, kids 13 to 17 $24 and kids 5 to 12 $20. Or use your Dallas CityPASS.
Closest and Best Hotel: The Highland Hotel (a Curio Collection from
Walk a gallery or walk a floor, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) offers big city thrills with an extensive permanent collection to enjoy for free. And check out the special exhibitions for more to see. The museum is part of the Dallas arts districts with several art museums within walking distance.
If the kids need a break, head to the Center of Creative Connections for a space just for families. The Sculpture Garden offers another space to explore outdoors. Or, check out nearby Klyde Warren Park and grab a bite to eat from one of the vendors at its Food Truck Lane.
Located at 1717 North Harwood. Open Thursday and Friday from 2 to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission for collections is available but you do need a timed ticket due to limited capacity, special exhibitions are extra. Learn more about continued Covid rules (including mask requirements) and reserve your ticket here.
Closest and Best Hotel: Another
First off, what’s MADI? It’s non-representational, hard-edged 20th century art bursting out of the frame. And kids understand this medium better than adults, especially the Minecraft kids who build kingdoms of blocks. Explore the geometric works of art with your kids. It’s a fun twist on traditional art and science museums. Best of all, it’s free.
Located at 3109 Carlisle St., north of Downtown Dallas. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Free general admission, though donations are appreciated and encouraged.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Another great, hands-on children’s museum is the Thinkery in Austin. Check it out if your vacation extends beyond Dallas into Texas Hill Country.
Closest and Best Hotel: With its Uptown location, prices at nearby hotels can register sticker shock or be a little, shall we say, not kid-oriented? SheBuysTravel Nasreen Stump recommends driving over for your visit and staying in the Market Center area. A room at the Hilton Anatole will put you right near Medieval Times for dinner.
With an indoor and outdoor space, the Nasher Sculpture Center allows you to stroll among contemporary and modern sculpture. Find Matisse, Picasso and Giacometti among others. Nasher offers student tours and family programs to introduce kids to sculpture.
Located at 2001 Flora St. Open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $10. Free admission for military and first responders (with ID) and kids 12 and under. Due to Covid safety precautions, masks are required for ages 2 and up in both the museum and the gardens.
Closest and Best Hotel: With Nasher being so close to the Dallas Museum of Art the HALL Arts Hotel Dallas, is again the perfect choice. The lobby and bar feel like an extension of the museum with their curated art and modern furniture. Plus, you can take in the Dallas skyline from the rooftop pool.
Stroll the collections of the Crow Collection of Asian Art of the University of Texas at Dallas, with art from China, Japan, Vietnam and India among other countries. Included are ancient works to contemporary pieces. Find screens, lacquerware and samurai items among its permanent exhibits.
Located at 2010 Flora St. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free general admission, though donations accepted. Covid protocols can found here.
Closest and Best Hotel: Vote #3 for the HALL Arts Hotel Dallas. Staying here gives you easy access to the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher and the Crow Collection. The lobby and bar feel like an extension of the museum with their curated art and modern furniture. Plus, you can take in the Dallas skyline from the rooftop pool.
The permanent collection of the Meadows Museum features Spanish artists, with works from Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and Diego Velazquez.
Located at 5900 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Thursday, and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $12, seniors 65+ are $10, students are $4. Kids 12 and under are free. Admission is free after 5 p.m. on Thursdays. The Museum follows SMU’s Covid protocols which can be found here. Tickets are timed so be sure to purchase in advance and arrive for your time slot.
Closest and Best Hotel: The Highland Hotel (a Curio Collection from
See one of the largest collections of African American folk art in the country. In operation since 1974 when it began on the campus of Bishop College, the museum is home to more than 60 archival collections, more than 200 African artifacts and more than 150 paintings and sculptures.
Located at 3536 Grand Ave. in Historic Fair Park. Entry is through Gate 5. Open from Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum is free.
Closest and Best Hotel: There are no super close hotels, however the Home2 Suites Dallas Downtown at Baylor Scott and White is reasonably close. It will also give you access to the restaurants of Deep Ellum for dinner. Kudos go to the Freeman Cajun Cafe and Lounge. And if you can squeeze in a visit to Deep Ellum Brewing, it is worth it!
11. Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture
The Old Red Museum is currently undergoing a redesign. Updates can be found here. The home of the museum, a restored 1892 courthouse will be returned to civic use, and the current museum’s exhibits will be relocated to other buildings throughout the city.
The museum’s mission will remain the same. Visitors will ;earn about the Big D before it was settled. Exhibits start with prehistoric times and continue to the boom days when railroads arrived in 1872 and 1873. Get some details on colorful Dallas residents too.
Closest and Best Hotel: Splurge on the Omni Dallas. It centrally located and you’ll feel like you’ve landed in luxury. SheBuysTravel Nasreen Stump says she’s a sucker for the TV in the bathroom mirror and the patio games in the bar.
12. Dallas Firefighters Museum
In an original firehouse from 1907, kids can learn about firefighting over 100 years ago. Since horses were used, this is the location of the first horse hospital in Dallas.
Located at 3801 Parry Ave. Open from Wednesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult admission is $6 and kids are $4. Call ahead.
Closest and Best Hotel: The Firefighters Museum is near the African American Museum in an area with few hotels. We recommend the Home2 Suites Dallas Downtown at Baylor Scott and White, which is reasonably close. It will also give you access to the restaurants of Deep Ellum for dinner. Kudos go to the Freeman Cajun Cafe and Lounge. And if you can squeeze in a visit to Deep Ellum Brewing, it is worth it!
Tours are temporarily halted and visitors are currently not allowed. Watch for any updates here.
Tour the regional bank and walk through the Economy in Action exhibit to learn about Federal Reserve Banks across the U.S. Located at 2200 N. Pearl St. Open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and free.
Closest and Best Hotel: Flash the Benjamins from your own personal reserve at swanky and hip Hotel Zaza. This boutique hotels offers rooms, bungalows and suites.
Aviation buffs will want to visit the American Airlines CR Smith Museum. Walk through a 1940 Douglas DC-3, the first airliner American Airlines used for passenger travel. See all the flight attendant uniforms from the beginning. And the cockpit simulator is another must.
Located at 4601 Texas Highway 360 in Fort Worth. Open Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults and $6 for children ages 2-17. Safety protocols can be found here.
Closest and Best Hotel: With its location near DFW Airport the best bet is the new and modern SpringHill Suites by Marriott Dallas DFW Airport South/Centreport. The new design rivals boutique hotels, but at a budget price.
15. Mary Kay Museum
At this time the museum is closed due to Covid.
There’s a saying in Texas: “The bigger your hair, the closer to God.” Well, Mary Kay produced the makeup for those women. Learn about Mary Kay, the original make-up maven. Stroll through the Mary Kay Museum at the Mary Kay Headquarters to learn about her legacy.
Located north of Dallas at 16251 Dallas Parkway, Addison. Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.
Closest and Best Hotel: There is no shortage of hotels in this area but there is just something about the sheets at Home2 Suites by Hilton Dallas Addison. Best sleep ever!
Although it’s not a museum in the traditional sense, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is worth a visit for several reasons. With over 60 acres to explore, there’s lots of room for littles to run off energy, including a dedicated children’s adventure garden and there’s an extensive calendar of special events, including puppet story times and STEM sessions.
Located at 8525 Garland Road, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission $17 for adults and $12 for kids (Note: the Children’s Adventure Garden is an additional $3).
Instead of art on the walls, you’ll find fish in the tanks, birds in the trees and sloths too! A combo zoo/aquarium, the Dallas World Aquarium has exhibits dedicated to wildlife conservation, rainforest exploration and an outdoor South Africa space with penguins.
You’ll find the aquarium at 1801 North Griffin Street. Admission is $26.95 + tax for adults and $18.95 + tax for kids ages 3-12. Safety protocols can be found here.