What comes to mind when you hear about Texas? Probably sandy beaches, big cities, and wide open spaces, right? You’re not wrong! But Texas is known for a lot of things, from magnificent museums to quaint venues tucked away in those places less traveled. Texas is the second-largest state and the largest of the 48 contiguous states. There is so much to see and do, and it cannot be fit into one or two days.
International travelers may underestimate just how large the state is. Going from the east to the west border can easily take 14 to 16 hours, and that’s with convenient roadways. Texas is 171,902,080 acres, or 268,597 square miles— 695663.0365 square kilometers. Anytime you want to travel, you need to consider certain things. For one, be sure you have a list of packing essentials. But most importantly, make sure to research where you want to go and plan your trip accordingly.
Texas has a lot to offer visitors of all ages, but parents know it’s difficult to travel with children. You can get ahead of the curve by including them while you decide what to do while in Texas. If you want to enjoy museums or the alamo in peace, then it’s a good idea to compromise with your kids by letting them pick a couple of the places you go (as long as it’s within your budget). To help with ‘negotiations,’ we’ve gathered this list of the ten best attractions in Texas for kids, including where you can find them.
Children’s Museum of Houston, Houston
If your travels take you to Houston, you won’t want to miss this children’s museum. 90,000 sqft of interactive displays and exhibits, with plenty of places for your children to learn, play off energy, or both! The fresh cafe allows you to relax between exploring world-class exhibits or playing the SECRET spy game. Your kids get to be movie star heroes, using intel and gadgets to save the museum and earn Elite Agent status.
Dinosaur World, Glen Rose
Explore the Mesozoic Era and experience life-sized dinosaurs in Glen Rose! Prehistoric plants thrive across the grounds, and the indoor museum features all sorts of fossils. The grounds also contain playgrounds and fossil digging. Bring a picnic and eat in the shadow of the dinosaurs!
Grapevine Vintage Railroad, Grapevine
If your kids are more into trains than dinos, then head on down to Grapevine! You can take a scenic ride in a historic 1920s Victorian coach. At Christmas time, your kids can even ride the Polar Express!
Grapevine has destinations for adults and kids throughout the year, but its busiest tourist season is Christmas. The city comes alive with ice sculptures, two million festive lights, snow tubing trails, and more! Grapevine also features the LEGOLAND adventure center and the Glockenspiel clocktower.
Blisswood Bed & Breakfast Ranch, Cat Spring
If you’re looking for the cowboy experience, don’t miss Silver Spur. Enjoy traditional western meals, befriend the horses, and explore the 350-acre working ranch. The ranch offers activities and adventures for kids of all ages. Visitors can also go biking, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. Families can rent a cabin on the grounds, and your furry family members can come, too! However, you will need to ensure your fur kids stay on their leashes; not all animals get along, and the ranch has several.
KidZania USA, Frisco/Dallas
Learning disguised as a theme park? It doesn’t get much better than that. KidZania is meant to replicate real cities and offers hands-on experiences and activities to experience various professions. Kids can explore at their own pace and be immersed in a world of possibilities. They can be an astronaut, doctor, firefighter, news anchor, robotic engineer, and more! The dream began in Frisco and has since expanded to a location in Dallas.
Lake Travis, Leander
Lake Travis is the perfect compromise. Adults can enjoy a warm sunny beach and relaxing lakeside, while kids can enjoy the built-in water park Beachside Billy’s. There are rides and activities for the entire family and an adult-only pool. Beachside Billy’s includes a marked-off portion of the lake containing a variety of inflatable fun, such as a trampoline and a glacier climb.
River Legacy Living Science Center and Park, Arlington
The science center serves as the entrance to the park, and both have several amenities for families. At the science center, you can explore interactive environmental exhibits, stand in awe of a life-size T-Rex skeleton, admire native animals in the terrariums and aquariums, and enjoy the nature trails. If you time your visit, the kids can take a fun educational class! The park then opens into eight miles of paved walking and biking trails, a 10-mile mountain bike trail, picnic areas and pavilions, a river overlook, a canoe launch, and several unique play areas.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio
Coasters and Water Parks and Looney Tunes— oh, my! Most Americans know that when you see the name Six Flags, you’re in for a treat! The San Antonio location boasts thrill rides and family rides. While the park does not have an attached Hurricane Harbor, there are water rides in the park to help keep you cool, like the Bahama Blaster and the Bamboo Chutes.
Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington
No, you don’t need to update your glasses— Six Flags really does have two parks in Texas! And while they have a lot in common, they also have rides unique to their location. You can enjoy your favorite DC or Looney Tunes-themed ride or head to the old frontier with Boomtown Depot. Don’t forget Hurricane Harbor! Get soaked to stay cool, hop on a ride to dry off, and sit in one of the many live shows to relax. Stores, restaurants, and scattered minigames round off the Six Flags experience.
Zoos, Aquariums, and Butterfly Houses
Alright, we cheated a bit for number ten. It’s not one specific place! Rather, it’s a collection scattered throughout Texas. Animals lovers of all ages will adore the multiple zoos, aquariums, butterfly houses, alligator parks, and more throughout the state. Wherever you visit, you’re likely to find one.
Learn about species native and exotic, walk through a cloud of fluttering butterflies, and more with this style of attraction. Each zoo, aquarium, butterfly house, or other animal-themed stop is unique and worth a visit at least once in your life. Kids of all ages can enjoy their time with the animals, and there’s always a chance you’ll learn something new.