Off the shores of White Rock Lake lies the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The 66 acres (26 hectares) of lush, perfectly manicured landscapes hold a treasure trove of trees, bushes, and flowers that are sure to make anyone green with envy. The DeGolyer House, a 1940s-style Spanish mansion, is also located on the grounds. Tours of the house and its sculpture garden are offered. The Jonsson Color Gardens, A Woman's Garden, and the Lay Ornamental Garden are all exquisite features of the picturesque grounds.
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.
If you're looking for fun outdoor activities in Dallas, head over to Klyde Warren Park. Built over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, this park gives city-dwellers a much needed green space. Dogs can run free through the water fountains in the dog park to keep cool. Concerts and other events open to the public are held here often. Bask in the sun, play some chess or ping pong, or take the kids over to the playground - make a day of it!
A visit to the Dallas Children's Theater is entertainment for the entire family. Introduce your little ones to the world of live theater by involving them in activities here. Classes are offered here, and are conducted by established artists. A number of excellent plays including Rumpelstiltskin, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and several musicals have been shown here.
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.
A great testament to urban redevelopment and creating green-space within a city, the Belo Garden is a public park, open for all to enjoy. The former parking lot is now a lively hub of activity in the city and offers a great place to rejuvenate, relax, pursue fitness goals or simply enjoy nature in an urban environment. Especially popular with kids, is the interactive fountain where kids can play and socialize. With a lovely nod to the local flora and landscape, the Texas Grove is a sight to see in the autumn with it's dramatic oranges and golds, and the little gardens populated with local flora interspersed around the park are a lovely place to relax. If you'd like to enjoy a little quiet time and take a break from the chaos, stop by the park and enjoy the greenery in the heart of Dallas.
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.
Dominating the city skyline for over three decades, Bank of America Plaza was and is Dallas' tallest building. Towering at 921 feet (280.7 meters) with 72 floors for commercial usage, this prestigious building is among the finest corporate addresses in the Central Business District (CBD). Completed in 1985, this iconic skyscraper has undergone several name changes in its existence. Its glistening modernist glass and steel facade is not only a landmark during the day but also during the night when it is luminous with colorful LED lights.
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.
Situated just a few blocks away from the Park Plaza in Downtown Dallas, Dallas' City Hall is a majestic and modern piece of architecture. Constructed by architects Theodore Musho and I.M. Pei, the building resembles an inverted pyramid. The city hall stands as the seat of Dallas' civic and government operations. The main area of the building is the second floor which is rightly named the Great Court because of its high vaulted ceiling. City Hall also houses a conference center and a state-of-the-art auditorium. The building is surrounded by the City Hall Plaza which is often used for open-air events, protests, speeches and rallies.