6 Kid-Friendly (Budget Friendly) Things to Do In Dallas

I am a mom on a mission, a mission to find fun things for my son and me to do on the weekends. But, I am also a mom on a budget. So when I hear about fun things to do that won’t take the fun out of my wallet, I am all over it!

Here is a roundup of 5 things you can do this weekend with your kiddo(s) that you may not know about:

1. Texas Discovery Gardens

As a school project, my son is watching caterpillars grow into butterflies at home, so the Texas Discovery Gardens is the perfect place to visit. You start by fluttering around the butterfly house, surrounded by tropical plants, butterflies and a little bit of humidity. There is even an area where the kids can see butterfly chrysalises, moth cocoons, and touch butterfly wings. Plan to spend a lot of time in the outdoor gardens as well, especially if it’s a nice day. They have a playground, snake exhibit and plenty of places to run around and expend some energy.

Entry Fee: $8 adults; $4 children (3 – 11); under 2 FREE (score one for my 20-month-old)
Days/Hours: Daily from 10 am – 5 pm

Pro Tip: wear mosquito repellent especially in the butterfly house.

2. Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park

While not nearly as big or extensive as the Dallas World Aquarium, the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park has its perks. Number 1 in my books being the crowd factor and number 2 being the price. Your kids will get their “fishie” fix without the long wait and push-shove to the front of the tank. They also have an interactive area where the kids can touch starfish, crabs, and shells.

Entry Fee: $8 adults; $6 children (3 – 11); under 2 FREE
Days/Hours: Daily from 9 am – 4:30 pm

Pro Tip: Arrive right when they open at 10 for prime parking.

3. Dallas Museum of Art C3 Space for Kids

Thanks to my art-loving mom I now know that the Dallas Museum of Art has a great FREE kids section. Arturo’s Nest (0 – 4 year-olds) is a cozy space with tons of hand-on activities including books, puzzles, and science tools. Right around the corner is the Young Learners Gallery (5 – 8 year-olds) with a reading nook overlooking the courtyard, building blocks, and a giant pegboard.

Entry Fee: FREE
Days/Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm

4. Unleavened Fresh Kitchen

I am all about healthier food, especially if it’s food that my child will eat. My family loves the new restaurant Unleavened at the corner of Walnut Hill and 75. The best part (other than the gluten free buttermilk fried chicken)? Kids eat free after 4 pm, and their kid’s menu is awesome. Invite some friends and dine in for a delicious wrap or salad.

Pro Tip: For those fellow gluten-free folks, order any of their wraps on a gluten-free tortilla for a little extra $.

5. JCC Dallas Indoor Pool

The J’s indoor warm water pool is open year-round for fun out of the sun. On the weekend, they open up that area for free-swim and splash. You can also schedule a free evaluation class for your tot to help introduce them to the water and swimming.

Entry Fee: FREE for JCC members; $10 day pass (valid for 1 week) for non-members
Days/Hours: Saturdays 7 am – 7 pm; Sunday afternoons

Pro Tip: Double diaper your child before getting in the pool.

6. Free Play Richardson

Thanks to the CEO of the J, I also now know that Dallas has a place where you can go play unlimited retro arcade games and pinball. This is a spot for the bigger kids and their “kid-at-heart” parents. All children (and parents) must be supervised (having fun) at all times.

Entry Fee: $10
Days/Hours: Monday – Friday 3 pm – late; Saturday & Sunday 11 am – late.

Pro Tip: Save this activity for a rainy day.