Dallas Museum of Nature and Science
Mon-Sat 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
2 & Under Free
One of the first luxuries upon arriving at the Museum of Nature in Science is free parking. Yes, in my book, that is worth getting excited about. Especially since so many Dallas attractions charge an arm and a leg to just park your car. The museum is located in Fair Park, which offers even more activities and educational opportunities to check out after the museum excursion. If you don’t feel like paying for admission to get into the other places, like the African American Museum or Texas Discovery Gardens, having a picnic by the pond outside of the museum is always a cheap and fun afternoon activity.
As we began our stroll through the museum, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of crowds. I’ve been on both a weekday morning and weekend afternoon, and although the weekday morning was much less crowded and so nice, the weekend crowd was not terrible. Maybe everyone was just headed to the Fort Worth Museum, which admittedly is much bigger and more interactive.
Where I will give mad props to this museum is their Children’s Museum. This is what brought me back for a second visit. We actually skipped the other exhibits, which are interesting but not thrilling, and headed straight to the children’s area. The Children’s Museum is big and has several sections, which are divided and very well themed. There is so much for little kids to do. They can crawl through tunnels in their own “backyard”, check out creepy bugs and roaches while their moms squeal and cringe (totally me-praying that glass wouldn’t break as my toddler banged on the tarantula case), suit up to fight a fire and slide down the fire engine, build a bridge, make music, splash in water, milk a cow (fun for husbands too, apparently), and pick crops.
My favorite part of the Children’s Museum was the “backyard patio”. This is a soft play area reserved for kids 2 and under. It’s a lot like a mini Gymboree only without all the bubbles and mind numbing songs. After the little ones start getting over-stimulated by all the sensory overload, it’s so nice for the kids to just climb and crawl and develop those gross motor skills, while mom and dad take a break. Although, it’s important to note, this is not a daycare. Little ones must still be supervised.
One part of the Museum of Nature and Science that seems to be overlooked is the Nature Building, which is located a few doors down from the main building. There is an awesome light exhibit where kids can explore the capabilities of light and color. This is great for older kids. There is also a paleontology lab downstairs that would be fun for those avid science-lovers to see the scientists’ process artifacts as they come in. In the Nature Building you will also find an exhibit of minerals and gems, and a vast collection of Texas wildlife.
Although I am gushing a lot about the Children’s Museum, it is important to note the Museum of Nature and Science offers much more for visitors than just entertainment kids. There are several rotating exhibits (such as dinosaur collections), an IMAX, a Dinosaur Dig, a small café with lots of eating space, and much more. I am only focusing on the Children’s Museum because that is what I think makes this trip worth it. I found the other exhibits were not as interactive and hands-on as I prefer, but I still believe the museum is a great resource for education and fun in the Dallas area, especially for kids.
Lauren Kimmel is the Co-Founder of Dallas Moms Blog, a great resource for moms looking to connect to other moms, learn and laugh about motherhood, and discover all that Dallas has to offer. She is a wife to a musician and a mother to a bouncing baby boy.