Travelers who enjoy outdoor activities and adventure will discover some amazing options in Dallas, Texas. The weather is warm much of the year, and nature lovers who enjoy exploring the great outdoors will feel right at home. Here are seven excellent options in Dallas guaranteed to take your vacation to the next level.
The Dallas Zoo
There’s a reason why USA Today ranked the Dallas Zoo as one of the 10 Best in the country. The zoo is massive, being the largest in Texas, and holds more than 2,000 animals. Best of all, the zoo is known for its innovative measures to increase animal welfare. For example, in their Giants of the Savannah exhibit, which is the only of its kind in America, rather than keeping each species trapped in pens, the Dallas Zoo has opened a giant, open-spaced savannah, where elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and more, can all roam freely with one another and exist as they would in the wild. it offers a unique opportunity for visitors to watch different animals interact with each other and live more fulfilling lives.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are truly a sight to behold. The complex is comprised of various themed gardens, all thriving side-by-side. Japanese maples dangle over a terraced waterfall, roses shine in vibrant reds, manicured hedges and fountains make you feel like Alice in Wonderland, and walkways remain shady beneath a canopy of myrtle trees overhead.
But the beautiful scenery isn’t the only thing that makes this place such a wonderful destination. Almost every single day throughout the year, there are events taking place, usually many in a single day. From concerts in the park to cooking classes and afternoon tea services, there’s always something interesting happening at the gardens.
Many travelers are probably familiar with establishments like Lucky Strike and Brooklyn Bowl, which took bowling and turned it into an enviable social outing that sometimes even creates lines out the door. TopGolf took that same mentality and applied it to a driving range.
Wrap-around couches encircle each driving platform, allowing friends to take turns practicing their swing as everyone else chats over cocktails prepared by the nearby bar. The establishment also has a full-service kitchen dishing out sharable plates like nachos, flatbread pizzas, chips with house-made guacamole, and even sweet treats like skillet cookies and donut holes injected with your choice of fillings.
Trinity River Corridor
The Trinity River runs straight through the city of Dallas and directly next to downtown. The city has protected the area surrounding the river, turning it into miles of parklands and trails. The Trammell Crow Park offers kayaking, picnics, and numerous cow statues that honor Texas’ history of cattle ranching. For more active travelers, the Trinity Skyline Trail and the Trinity Levee Top Loop offer miles upon miles of walking and biking trails, giving you incredible views of the Dallas skyline. It’s not only a great way to get outdoors, but it’s sure to provide Insta-perfect photos.
Southfork Ranch Horseback Riding
What trip to Texas would be complete without visiting the ranch that was used in the popular TV drama DALLAS? Best of all, Southfork Ranch isn’t just a set. You can actually visit for horseback riding lessons and guided trail rides throughout the ranch’s rolling fields. Fans of the show can also get a tour of the home and see memorabilia from the popular series. With Texas’ history of ranching and cowboy culture, a visit to the state just wouldn’t be the same without a classic horseback ride and a visit to a ranch.
White Rock Lake
For the residents of Dallas, there’s no better place to escape into the outdoors than White Rock Lake. Located just five miles northeast of downtown Dallas, the recreation area is in the middle of the sprawling city, making it easily accessible to visitors. The lake is connected to various parks and protected areas, creating a massive parkland region that has something for everyone. There are almost 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, a disk golf course, a cultural history museum, and rental facilities to help get visitors out on the water in canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. For an excellent escape into nature, while still in the city, there’s no better place than White Rock Lake.
Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary
At the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, visitors can explore wildlife both current and prehistoric. The facility houses injured animals, allowing them to continue living a full life, while also teaching guests about the importance of wildlife within our ecosystems. Some of the rescued animals include bobcats, screech owls, grey foxes, and even lemurs.
But living animals aren’t the only things being kept safe within the sanctuary. The Heard is home to numerous fossils of the animals that once lived in the Dallas area, including the fossil of a giant plesiosaur which swam the waters of what was once a massive inland sea. There are also 289 acres of preserved land, creating a home for numerous plants, animals, birds, and insects. Also on the property is the free-flying butterfly house and garden.
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