By Chris Hill

So you’re taking a family vacation in Dallas and experienced Six Flags. Now what? Here’s a short list my top recommendations for “Things to Do and See in the Dallas Metroplex …and close-by”:

Family vacation 2 1. Dallas World Aquarium — Situated in downtown Dallas, this is a great attraction for your family vacation. With three levels to explore, from the treetops full of birds, down to an underwater viewing of sea turtles and manatees. Take a walk through the shark tank and visit the Mundo Maya Exhibit. Best of all, it’s all indoors, so enjoy it rain or shine.

2. Fair Park Museums — Host of the Texas State Fair every October, this area has multiple museums and events year round. There are seven museums in the park that can be seen individually, or you can buy a combo pass to see them all. For older kids, there’s the African-American Museum, The Women’s Museum, and The Hall of State. Younger children will enjoy the Museum of Nature and Science (that also has an IMAX screen), Museum of the American Railroad, Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park, and the Texas Discovery Gardens. While you’re there, have lunch at the Old Mill Inn — my pick for THE BEST home-style cooking and Southern hospitality in Dallas. Spend some time at Fair Park on your family vacation and find something new to discover!

3. Grapevine Vintage Railroad — This vintage train has two tours, the first of which runs between the city of Grapevine and the Fort Worth Stockyards. The Trinity River Run extends from there. You can board the train in either Grapevine or Fort Worth, and both have great sites to see around the area. The Stockyards will be more kid-friendly, with a cattle drive and cattle maze that operate daily.

Family vacation 1 4. Tutankhamun & Golden Age of Pharaohs — The King Tut Exhibit is in Dallas at the Dallas Museum of Art through May 19. This traveling exhibit is a fascinating look at ancient Egypt during its “Golden Age.” With more than 130 artifacts to examine and study, this is truly a unique experience for families with older kids. There is also an “Egypt 3-D” movie available to view at the museum theater.

5. Fossil Rim Wildlife Preserve — Both the Dallas Zoo and the Fort Worth Zoo are great places to see animals, but for a truly unique animal experience on your Dallas family vacation, make plans for a day trip (about an hour an a half south of the Metroplex) to Glen Rose. Fossil Rim is a gorgeous, 10-mile loop of self-driven terrain, where you can come up close and personal with zebras, giraffes, ostriches, antelope and various other animals. Halfway through, there is a great overlook where you can sit and enjoy a great view of the Savanna while enjoying your favorite snack or visiting the petting zoo. You’ll forget you’re still in Texas!  It is a truly unique experience that your whole family will love.

Some of my other picks for unique places to shop, eat, and stay include: Bass Pro Shop, Rainforest Café, Great Wolf Lodge and Gaylord Texan Resort and Spa in Grapevine; Cabela’s in Fort Worth; and Medieval Times in Dallas.

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Chris Hill currently resides in Texas because it is too Cold up North. His family is self-proclaimed "Theme Park Junkies," including his wife, 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, who are always looking for the next adventure.

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Tagged: Family time, Orbitz Parent Panel, Travel Tips

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