Friday, June 27, 2014

Totally Texas -- More than water at Dallas World Aquarium

Dallas World Aquarium

1801 N. Griffin St.


I’ve missed the Dallas World Aquarium. When my daughter’s twin sons were in class fulltime during the school year, the repurposed West End warehouses turned zoo became a less-frequent destination. But school’s out, and we’ve returned.

And that word “zoo”? Not a typo. Because, although there are still sharks, seahorses, manatees and lots more aquatic creatures in residence, the DWA continues to expand itself as a habitat for birds and terrestrial animals as well. Since our last visit, we were thrilled to see that the winding ramp to the entrance has become home to several species of jewel-like birds of paradise.

If you’re making a fast trip through downtown, the exhibits before hitting the ticket booth make for a free destination on their own. (Someday I may write a post on the number of pricey destinations where families can get peeks and “we were here” pictures without paying a cent.) This time, though, we opted for the full-price tour--$20.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 2-12, both plus sales tax. Kids under age two get in free, and there are also discounts for visitors age 65 and older, groups, and military personnel.

Considering how much the boys stay in motion, it always amazes me that their favorite animals at the DWA are the slow-moving sloths. DWA staffers hold a daily “sloths are for kids” talk in the South American Orinoco exhibit area. We arrived a couple of hours later, but the sloth was still hanging around, calmly munching leaves for its delighted admirers. (Did I mention sloths move very slowly? Very, very slowly?)

Then it was on to the central lake with its waterfall, swans, ducks and manatees, and to reconnect with other beloved animals--alligators, anteaters, bats, frogs, river otters, spiders. And birds. My daughter and I tend to linger by the brilliantly-colored tropical birds and flamingoes. The boys prefer the scary-looking harpy eagles.

And of course there was the shark tunnel, where the boys were fascinated to watch the gentle breathing of a basking hammerhead’s gills. And the penguins--black-footed penguins in a series of outdoor pools and streams. These South African penguins weather Texas temperatures, thanks to shade and cool water.

The Dallas World Aquarium is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). See its site,, for directions and a schedule of events, including weekend performances by the dance troupe Grupo Pakal.

Parking is available at several nearby lots. Or take any DART train to the West End station, about two blocks from the DWA entrance. Present your DART ticket receipt at DWA for a $1 off regular admission. For each guest arriving at the DWA via public transportation, will receive $1.00 off regular admission price by presenting his/her transportation receipt. See DART's site,, for ticket information and trip planning.

(Next Friday -- there’s still time to catch Fourth of July events)

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