Last week while we were in Dallas, I decided to take the kids to Fair Park to see the Texas Discovery Gardens and the Children’s Aquarium (our helpful tips are bolded). I would recommend going to both in one trip and making a day (or morning/afternoon) of it. The gardens are literally steps away from the aquarium, and each one only took us about an hour or two with young children (you may be able to stay longer and do more with older children).
We started off that morning with a traffic-filled 30-minute drive into the South Dallas/Fair Park area. If you have never experienced Dallas driving, expect lots of cars and crazy highway interchanges at pretty much any time of the day. Of course, I am used to Oklahoma City traffic, so it may actually be an easy drive compared to where you live.
Our first stop was the Texas Discovery Gardens. I was especially interested in seeing the butterfly house and thought it would be a neat experience to explore a two-story, glass-encased butterfly habitat.
We went on a Tuesday, which we found out was pay what you want Tuesday for admission. Regular admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children.
As you enter the main lobby and entrance, several small aquariums with critters (insects/snakes/fish) line the walls and open area. So we, of course, had to peer inside and examine the contents of each one before making our way to the gardens and butterfly house.
I will say that the insects were pretty neat, so I would suggest that you make a stop to investigate that area. My older daughter enjoyed looking at the insects, as I tried to read all the signs to her and tell her about each one.
After that, we made our way through the hallway (again lined with more insects/frogs/etc) and out into the gardens.
I fully expected to stay much longer out there, but the weather was rather warm and muggy already that morning, which therefore resulted in a hot and sweaty (aka whiny) child (who is also very frightened of bees and other flying insects).
We made a quick pass through the main lawn, pond, the outdoor butterfly gardens, and the large fountain and quickly returned to the safety of the indoors.
We did actually get several bug bites while we were there, so I would recommend putting on bug spray before heading into the gardens and butterfly house.
After returning inside, we headed up the stairs to the entrance of the butterfly house. You enter through some carefully-timed sliding glass doors into a beautiful, lush garden with butterflies flitting around freely. They keep it fairly warm and humid in there for the plants and butterflies, so be prepared and pack some water.
I found it to be a pretty surreal experience and loved watching these delicate insects flying all around me, finding the birds, and seeing inside an active beehive. My daughter, the one who is afraid of flying insects, thought it was cool for about two minutes and then wanted to bolt out of there as fast as she could.
The baby, who was in the carrier, loved watching the butterflies and squealed in excitement (very loudly, might I add) as they would fly past us. I’m not sure if strollers are allowed in there, but I would advise against bringing one in there if at all possible.
As you exit the butterfly house, there was an educational cart, where you could touch butterfly wings, see butterflies emerging from chrysalises, and other interesting things probably. We didn’t stay in there long enough to do those things because apparently, butterflies are dangerous and could probably kill small children (according to my daughter).
I, unfortunately, didn’t get very many photos during the whole visit but did enjoy our brief tour of the Texas Discovery Gardens, especially the Butterfly House. We also learned a few interesting facts about butterflies and other insects.
I was going to write about the aquarium in this post but will save it for the next one since this one is getting so long.
Texas Discovery Gardens Fast Facts
Address > 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. | Dallas, TX
Phone > 214.428.7476
Hours > Open daily from 10 am – 5 pm. Final admission is sold at 4:15 pm. Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Eve and Day.
Website > www.txdg.org
Admission > $8 Adults | $6 Seniors (60+) | $4 Children (3-11) | FREE for children 2 and under