There is just something fun for kids of all ages when you get to ride a bus or a train. My daughter and I travel via DART on the weekends to explore Dallas and much of the routes along the DART rail. So it was pretty exciting to have our friends at DART approach Dallas Single Mom with creating a DART tour of a few choice places for families. On DART’s DARTable gems site you can plan your own family fun day from about 50 (and growing) gems of local hangouts, fun places, and awesome eateries to have an awesome day with the kids. Kids just love riding DART and mine enjoy traveling to many places such as Reunion Tower, the Dallas Arts District, Klyde Warren Park and many more places. Dallas-Fort Worth families with young children should always be prepared not to overextend themselves as I have in the past. It can be pretty ambitious to travel via DART with little kids (5 and under)and strollers to try to tackle so many things in one afternoon so pace yourself and have plenty of kid friendly snacks on hand. One of the things I love about DART is that they are not just handicap accessible but stroller accessible as well. Of course during peak or busy times, keep that in mind about how cramped it can get on the rail with a stroller. I have created a list of Tips for Traveling with kids via DART.
The tour that I put together includes some of the dartable gems on the site as well as a few places that should be added to the site. I couldn’t help but explore as my daughter is a natural explorer herself and seeing so many great Dallas businesses along the route allows for some flexibility. What I like about the dartable gems site is that you can submit your own DART friendly DARTable gem. We usually take the Orange Line into Dallas, but for the most part we end up at the West End Station to begin most of our DART journeys and then transfer to another train or bus. For this tour we spent our day in Deep Ellum and Fair Park where there are many DARTable gems to choose from. We got on the Green Line from the West End Station and went all the way to the Fair Park Station.
Fair Park Station
Besides being the home of the State Fair of Texas, Fair Park has many attractions for families. We often take DART rail to see musicals at Fair Park as well as a few DARTable gems to explore here, like the African American Museum, which includes the Southwest’s largest collection of African American folk art. While this museum is closed on Sundays, this is an art collection to see on Saturday for the family. My daughter and I explored the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park to not only pet the stingrays but to also see them feed the sharks and sea turtles, and explore the different varieties of fish and aquarium critters. The Children’s Aquarium is a short walk from the African American Museum in the Fair Park complex. With a variety of fish and aquarium life, this aquarium is a separate entity but part of the Dallas Zoo system (also accessible by DART rail). This aquarium is built with kids in mind as many of the tanks are at their eye level. With albino alligators, large snapping turtles, jellyfish, electric eels and more kids will get to learn a lot about marine life here.
Just few feet from the Children’s Aquarium was Texas Discovery Gardens. We also took a quick run to these gardens since my kids love exploring the butterfly house as well as the snake house. Bring a picnic here and relax in the serenity of this completely botanical garden. This garden has a lot of educational classes for kids to teach them about sustainability. While not specifically listed as a DARTable gem, I submitted it for inclusion and since it is so close to the Aquarium, it’s not a far walk at all. For all attractions I mentioned, expect to spend 1-2 hours at each. If you plan on going to eat somewhere, It might be too ambitious to do all three in one day.
Deep Ellum for eats and shopping
After visiting Fair Park, you can take the train and head one stop over to the Deep Ellum Station. Deep Ellum was once regarded as a place for nighttime dining, bars and live music with a deep history in Dallas for creating the blues scene. During the day it is a wonderful place for parents to take kids to explore or get a bite to eat (This trail doesn’t go through Deep Ellum.)
To get to Deep Ellum by DART rail you can get off at the Baylor Station or the Deep Ellum station. The DART Deep Ellum rail station highlights the vibrancy of the community as well. When you get off the DART rail you are greeted by an art installment called “The Traveling Man.” They were designed by Brad Oldham, Brandon Oldenburg, and Reel FX Creative Studios. The Traveling Man is a series of three sculptural installations with the tallest standing at 38 feet tall. These sculptures are a favorite to my daughter who absolutely adores playing on these stainless steel works of art and the stainless steel birds that surround two of the installations.
The station is close by to the Latino Cultural Center with art, educational activities, films and programs that celebrate the Latino heritage and community. Then take a short walk south to Deep Ellum and you will cross Elm street and crossing over to Main and Commerce street where all the restaurants and bars are located. A DARTable gem here is the All Good Cafe with home style cooking and an awesome chicken fried steak. This café is all about Texas. Other restaurants that kids may like include Luscher’s Red Hots with their tasty Chicago Style Hot Dogs and Chicago style sandwiches. They even have a double Wagyu burger called the Herky. Kids can get a Junior Herky and other great food. The craft sodas are awesome as well as my daughter opted for lemonade. Other favorites include the venerable Pecan Lodge, Serious Pizza and for a sweet treat – Glazed Donut Works. After we ate, we browsed around a bit at all the art in Deep Ellum until my daughter wanted to visit Lula B’s. If you are not familiar with Lula B’s Antique Mall they have various locations and one in Deep Ellum. It’s a treasure trove of vintage, second hand consignment items and my daughter loves going in here because we like to buy items to play dress up. Dresses, coats, cowboy boots, furniture, knick knacks, records, costume jewelry and collectibles galore. This place is a definite must stop on any kind of visit. It’s located off of Main Street in Deep Ellum.
While I may have mentioned many notables in our afternoon DART family fun (in addition to the gems on the website), the great thing about DART is that you can always explore on your own time. After Deep Ellum we ended up heading into Old East Dallas and Hollywood Heights to Fruteria Cano on Beacon Street. From the Fair Park Station walk Parry at Exposition or Stop 23768. Take the #60 bus to Lindsley and Beacon or stop 16868. The bus stop is right in front of Fruteria Cano.
Dallas Single Mom’s Deep Ellum and Fair Park DARTable Gems:
Fair Park – African American Museum and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park
Deep Ellum – All Good Café
Children’s Aquarium ticket Giveaway
Would you like to get free family four pack to the Children’s Aquarium in Dallas? Enter this giveaway from now until 10/15/2015 via Gleam and you could win an these awesome tickets and pet the stingrays yourself. Winnings are non transferable. Upon expiration the winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.
DART Children’s Aquarium Family Four Pack
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Disclaimer: Promotional consideration was given to Dallas Single Mom to curate an awesome tour including DARTable Gems. All opinions are 100% those of Dallas Single Mom. Please see disclosure for more terms and conditions.