White Rock Lake sprawls over 1,015 acres (410.75 hectares). It boasts picturesque picnic spots and recreational areas that provide great respite from city life. Numerous waterfront trails are popular among local hikers and bikers as well as those visiting Dallas. A complete loop around the lake takes about three hours. The adventurous can indulge in an array of outdoor activities on offer like fishing, sailing and, horseback riding. Bird enthusiasts have reason to rejoice, as the area attracts beautiful, exotic species. The panorama of verdant landscapes that enclose calm waters is the very definition of tranquility.
The beauty of Texas' nature can be experienced first-hand with a hike through this 630-acre (146-hectare) preserve. With guided and self-guided tours available along the ten miles of wooded trails, outdoor enthusiasts can wander up to the Escarpment Nature Preserve, the highest point in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Along the way you can view ponds, wildflowers and a butterfly garden before arriving at vistas and an observation tower. The trails vary in difficulty. All are natural terrain paved with rock, mulch, or dirt. They are designed for foot traffic only, and bikes or roller blades are not allowed. Hikes can last anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours, depending upon the trail selected. A snack bar, gift shop, and amphitheater are also located on the grounds.
This historic site sprawls over 227 acres (918,636 square meters) and has one of the nation's largest collections of Art Deco buildings. Built in 1936, Fair Park is registered as a National Historic Landmark. It was built by the WPA to house the Texas Centennial Exposition, celebrating Texas' independence from Mexico. It boasts an inspiring list of museums including the African American Museum, Age of Steam Railroad Museum, Museum of Nature and Science, Music Hall At Fair Park, Dallas Aquarium and Dallas Horticulture Center. You will also find concerts at the outdoor Coca Cola Starplex, college football in the Cotton Bowl, and the annual State Fair of Texas. The Visitor Center shows a 10-minute film about the park and offers walking tours by appointment.
Dallas Zoo encompasses 106-acres (42 hectares) of exotic and traditional zoo animals. Visitors are greeted at the entrance by one of the tallest statues in Texas - a 67.5 foot (20.5 meters) giraffe. The Wilds of Africa attraction includes the chimpanzee forest, the gorilla center and an aviary on a quarter-mile nature trail where six natural habitats are featured: forest, mountain, woodland, river, desert and brush. A 20-minute monorail ride runs the course of the attraction and costs an additional fee. The ZooNorth attraction includes a bird and reptile building, children's zoo with touchable animals, cheetah exhibit, elephants, giraffes, flamingos and other traditional animals.
The Nasher Sculpture Center on Flora Street is a significant landmark in Dallas. The gallery, designed by Renzo Plano, displays works by Rodin and Picasso. This monumental structure with glass ceilings is bordered by a beautiful garden. The works are just as striking as the building itself. Rodin's Eve is an excellent example of how a simple subject can be sculpted beautifully. Picasso's elegant sculpture, Fleurs dans un vase, uses a mix of materials and will mesmerize you.
Pioneer Plaza is more than just your ordinary park. A bronze ensemble of lifelike cattle punctuates this 4.2-acre (1.6 hectare) park overlooking City Hall and the Dallas Convention Center. Nationally-acclaimed artist and native Texan Robert Summers is the artistic force behind the unique sculptures. The 70 bronze steers memorialize the cattle drives that took place along the Shawnee Trail back in 1854.
Long the symbol for the Mobil Oil Company, the giant Pegasus sign has become more than just a corporate logo to the people of Dallas. A local landmark, the brightly lit red-winged horse rotates above the Magnolia Building. The Pegasus Project, a local nonprofit effort, rebuilt it at a cost of $650,000 between the years 1999 and 2000, while the original Pegasus sign, taken down while the new one was being built, can still be seen displayed at the Dallas Farmers Market.
This spiral-shaped chapel was designed by Philip Johnson, the noted American architect, and features stained glass by Gabriel Loire. It honors the spirit of gratitude as it is represented in world religions. The chapel comprises just part of this lovely downtown oasis, which includes the Bell Tower, a garden, walkways with reflecting pools and waterfalls.
Dallas' Central Public Library's namesake is J. Erik Jonsson, a civic leader who worked for Texas Instruments. In honor of his heritage, the library has a handcrafted scale model of an eighth-century Viking ship, the Drakkar, in permanent exhibit on the second floor Children's Center. The library's copy of the Declaration of Independence may be viewed in the Declaration of Independence Room on the seventh floor. While there you should check out the First Folio, the authentic first printing (in 1623) of William Shakespeare's plays. If your visit is more literary in nature, roomy aisles and shelves hold a tremendous collection worthy of a large city's main library. The wooden library tables and chairs create a comfortable atmosphere in which to study or read for enjoyment.
Discover a South American rainforest filled with monkeys, colorful toucans, crocodiles, manatees and otters. The aquarium portion of this popular attraction features 85,000 gallons (321,760 liters) of saltwater containing marine life from around the world. Palm tree polyps, Blackeye goby, Harlequin shrimp, Zebra angelfish, Napoleon wrasse and many more are few of the aquatic life on display.
Located in the historic district on the west end of Downtown, this cabin is dwarfed by the towering skyscrapers that surround it. This cabin is actually a recreation of the actual one-room cabin built by Dallas founding father John Neely Bryan. John Neely Bryan Cabin stands alone, much like the original cabin must have stood on the plains of the fledgling city of Dallas.