Free Indoor Kid Activities in Dallas

This last week we headed down south of the border, the Oklahoma border that is, to Dallas again. But this time we just tagged along as part of Daddy’s work trip. He travels fairly often these days, but we can only go if it’s within driving distance since last minute airplane tickets can get pretty pricey.

We were going to be in Dallas for about three days, but I didn’t have too many activities planned because getting around with a young child and baby without Daddy can be exhausting. The weather was the typical hot and muggy Texas summer heat, except for the last day we were there, so we tried to stay indoors as much as possible.

The first day we headed to the Galleria to kill some time before we could check into the hotel. There is one of those carpeted play areas with the plastic structures on the third floor by Nordstrom. My little ones had quite a time crawling, climbing, and basically just running amok through the jungle-themed kids area. I was happy to let them explore and get some energy out by crawling through the tunnels, climbing up the steps, pretending to drive the jeep, riding in a canoe and jumping off the tops of various jungle creatures.

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Another highlight for my older daughter was the American Girl store by the Galleria. It’s not actually connected inside the mall, but we just walked from Nordstrom a few steps outside to get there. We didn’t go to the second level, which appeared to just be the salon and bistro. The first level were all the displays of dolls and accessories that she could touch and play with. Her favorite area was the Wellie Wishers section that had a playhouse, some interactive nature activities, and of course little baby dolls, strollers, high chairs and cribs.

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We also paid a visit to IKEA while we were in Dallas to pick up a few things (namely a cheap high chair without fabric to clean). I was more than willing and excited to drop off my older child in their supervised play area (which looked super fun through the windows – let me know if they are if your kids have been), but she refused to be left there and wanted to shop with me. She really enjoyed just playing in the upstairs kids furniture area, trying out the little beds, sitting in the kid-sized chairs and just touching and looking at all the things. We even ended the IKEA trip with a one dollar soft serve ice cream cone.

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On the last day, we again had a few hours to spend waiting for Daddy to get off work and set off to the local Barnes and NobleWe love books and bookstores, and B&N has a pretty neat kids area complete with a stage, mini tables and benches, and even a Thomas train set. In addition to a decent selection of books, there are also toys, games, stuffed animals and vintage Strawberry Shortcake and Barbie dolls. We read some books, looked at the toys and games, played with all the My Little Ponies stuffed plushes, and left the store with a few books from the 75% off clearance shelves.

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We were able to beat the summer heat indoors, while keeping the kids entertained and occupied. Some moments of our trip were super challenging with little ones, but these little field trips can present teachable moments. 

I had the opportunity to talk about jungles and what ancient ruins are at the mall play area, teach my daughter about doing laundry and ironing at the American Girl store, mention information about Sweden and Swedish food at IKEA, and read books about different characters and topics at Barnes & Noble. 

Stay tuned for the next post about the garden and aquarium we also visited on this Dallas trip. 

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