The original Six Flags, now 212 acres huge, still brings thrill-seekers in droves to Arlington, where 2013 reveals the new Texas SkyScreamer, the world’s tallest swing ride. Immediately across I-30, there’s splashy fun at Hurricane Harbor, and a quick drive east to Grand Prairie, you’re treated to a full day of amusement at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Louis Tussaud’s Palace of Wax. Just on the other side of DFW Airport, Grapevine will keep your family busy for days with the outdoor water park at the Gaylord Texan Resort, as well as at Grapevine Mills, home to LEGOLAND and the extraordinary new SEA LIFE aquarium. Be sure to leave plenty of time to ride the Grapevine Vintage Railroad too.
Dallas us all about family time: The Dallas Zoo, celebrating its 125th year in 2013 continues to be pure animal pleasure, with the only koalas in Texas, and there are underwater treasures aplenty at the Dallas World Aquarium downtown and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park. Fair Park is home, as well, to Texas Discovery Gardens, with its Butterfly House and Insectarium and a wealth of other creepy crawly things. New as of December 2012, the Perot Museum of nature and Science, which features a rooftop garden with landscaping from across Texas, raises the bar for all such museums, with 11 exhibit halls on five floors for the exploration of earth, space, life, natural, physical, engineering and chemical sciences.
You’ll want the kids along in Fort Worth to explore the renowned zoo and the adjacent park with a miniature train; the new Museum of Science and History in the heart of the Cultural District; the Bureau of Engraving and Printing; and the Stockyards district, home to the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and Fort Worth Herd Cattle Drive. Smaller towns with excellent family attractions include McKinney, home to the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary; and Addison, where you’ll find the Cavanaugh Flight Museum.