Friday, November 7, 2014

Totally Texas -- Exploring Dallas’ great indoors

This week’s rains reminded me that even in drought-stricken Texas, some days aren’t nice for playing outdoors. Still, sometimes you’ve got to get the kids out of the house, preferably somewhere we adults can go without being bored. With that in mind, I compiled a list of indoor attractions in downtown Dallas.

Think you’ve seen all the 45,000 exhibits at the Sixth Floor Museum, 411 Elm Street, commemorating the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy? Think again. New items are added regularly.

Lines are shorter than during last year’s 50th anniversary commemoration, but online purchase of timed entry tickets (at is still recommended. Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for those age 65 and older, $13 for youths (ages 6-18). Admission is free for children up to age five. Parking is $5 in the adjacent lot, but the museum is also within easy walking distance of the West End DART station.

The bulk of the exhibits are on the sixth floor, including a reconstruction of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s sniper’s nest and film of the presidential motorcade and its aftermath (which may be too emotionally intense for younger kids). But take a few minutes to visit the seventh floor and view artist Alex Guofeng Cao’s photomosaic portraits of the president and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The museum is open daily.

Approximately two blocks away from the assassination site, Dallas County’s gloriously gaudy nineteenth century courthouse houses a local history museum, the Old Red Museum, 100 South Houston St. Open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily except Thanksgiving Day (November 27 this year), and December 24-25. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, $5 for children ages 3-16. Kids under age three get in free. See for information about discounts.

The Old Red Museum has special sections for children, historical timelines and memorabilia, and interactive material, including photos of the ambush slaying of Dallas-area outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. (Some photos may be too gruesome for youngsters. Parental discretion advised.)

Also in this western edge of downtown are two of my family’s favorite attractions¾ the Dallas ,World Aquarium, 1801 North Griffin St., and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, 2201 N. Field St. Adjacent parking is available, but aquarium and science museum are also accessible on the cute (and free) pink buses of the D-Link system, running Monday through Saturday. See for D-Link information.

Both the aquarium and science museum provide hours of entertainment for kids and adults. Even my grandsons can get their wiggles out by a walk up, down, and around the aquarium’s exhibits or a workout in front of the science museum’s motion capture panels. Tickets to the Perot are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 2-11; $12 for older children and for adults age 65 and older. Kids under age two get in free. See for hours and exhibit information.

Tickets to the aquarium are $20.95 for adults, $16.95 for adults age 65 and older, $12.95 for children age 2-11. Children under two get in free. Sales tax is charged on all paid tickets. The aquarium is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. See for information.

Maybe by now you’re saying. I’d like to take the kids out, but I’m broke. How about this? The Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood. General admission price¾ absolutely free. Okay, you can pay extra for the special exhibits. Or for parking, although, again, it’s accessible with a combination of DART and D-Link. Too many kids’ activities to count, or take the youngsters through some of the regular exhibits, or give them space to move around in the outdoor sculpture garden. Open Tuesday through Sunday. See for programs and hours.


  1. Dear Mary,
    Thank you for featuring The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in your recent blog entry! We wanted to make sure you’re aware that the Museum currently has more than 45,000 artifacts in its Collection and we currently have one permanent exhibit, John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation. Also, we are open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Monday 12-6 and Tuesday –Sunday 10-6.

    We truly appreciate your support! Thank you.

    1. You're welcome! I hope people will check the website link for more detailed information about this amazing museum.