Friday, June 13, 2014

Totally Texas -- On a clear day you can see (almost) forever

How long has it been since I took in a view of the Dallas skyline from atop Reunion Tower? Since before some of the now-iconic skyline buildings were built. Since several name changes ago for the towering Bank of America Plaza building. That’s too long!

I’d been yearning to go back since Reunion Tower reopened its observation deck, now renamed the GeO-Deck, last fall. But would it be kid-friendly enough to qualify for a post on this family-oriented site? With my daughter’s eight-year-old twin sons out of school for the summer, we visited Reunion Tower. And as the boys say, they didn’t like it--they loved it!

The refurbished deck is a mere 470 feet above street level (the upper ninety feet of the 560-foot tower are devoted to restaurants). But that’s high enough to see downtown Fort Worth on a clear day and perhaps with the aid of the deck’s telescopes, or at least the AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington.

The deck has an open-air outer rim with a solid barrier about three feet tall topped by a wire framework. It keeps human beings from falling over, although with my fear of heights, I was careful to keep my camera, purse and glasses clear of the edge. The boys have no such fears, leaning casually against the restraints.

The outer deck houses the telescopes. Some children on the deck are fascinated by the sight of the Fair Park Ferris wheel. My daughter and I point out landmarks the boys might not understand--the former Texas State Book Depository, the Old Red nineteenth-century Dallas courthouse. The boys look for places they’ve been to recently--the Perot Museum and the nearby El Fenix restaurant where we eat lunch during museum visits. Then they turn their attention to the array of things small boys find fascinating. (Look, there’s a traffic jam! Look, a train! Look, there’s the ground!)

The deck extends completely around the globe at the top of the tower, for 360-degrees views of the horizon. Even on a warm day, the shaded outer deck is cool from the breezes at this height. The boys run completely around it.

The inner deck is enclosed in glass and contains a bank of interactive computer screens that again send the boys in a frenzy of delight. My daughter and I view footage of President Kennedy’s assassination. The boys are old enough to read the computer menu. They call up more images of places they recognize. After about an hour, they start playing more frantically with the computers, and my daughter gives me the look that means it’s time to leave.

The boys keep their noses against the glass of the elevator during the 68-second trip down to ground level.

The inner and outer observation decks are open from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. seven days a week. Tickets to the top are $16 for adults, $8 for children ages 4-12, available online or at the onsite ticket booth. Discounts for those over age 65, groups, and multiple visits on the same day. The tower offers a special package for Father’s Day, Sunday, June 15. For information, see

There’s reasonably-priced parking outside, or access the tower by DART from nearby Union Station.

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