allas, Texas, has long advertised itself as “Big D”, home of bigger and better. The Dallas Cowboys football team is famous for their big-haired cheerleaders and superb ball playing that lead to five Super Bowls. The television soap opera Dallas was well-known for one Dallasesque character - big, bad oil man J. R. Ewing with all his oil rigs and oversized cowboy boots. A visit to Dallas means souvenirs like jumbo belt buckles and super-sized tee-shirts.

Top Dallas Attractions

What Dallas lacks in topographical appeal, compared to other major United States cities, it more than makes up for in the variety of architecture and attractions it offers.

The Artistic Side

Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art is a great place to take the whole family – children and all. With plenty to see and do (yes, there are hands-on activities for the youngsters), you’ll enjoy spending the day in the museum, out of the heat. With kids clubs throughout the year and special family programs both day and night each month, there’s plenty to keep grown-ups and young art lovers smiling. The third Friday of each month Starbucks Coffee hosts Late Nights, an evening of art for adults from 6 pm through midnight, with children’s programs until 10 pm. Call 214-922-1200 for more information or visit the link located at the bottom of this article.

Meadows Museum of Art
As one of the resources of the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the Meadows Museum of Art is one of the city’s hidden treasures. While the museum is small, their galleries are always filled to the brim with exhibitions of enormous historical importance. Art classes and family programs run periodically. Call 214.768.3343 for program schedules and information on the current showing.

Sculpture Garden
Free art sight-seeing should start at the base of Trammell Crow Center, located downtown on Flora Street. Twenty statues from many of the French master artists reside here among picturesque gardens and waterfalls. Take a stroll around the downtown streets and find another ten sculptures, including one of a painter creating a masterpiece of Dallas on canvas.

The Great Outdoors

Dallas Zoo
It’s difficult to head to a big city without visiting the zoo and Dallas is no exception. With nearly 100 acres and thousands of animals, a day is barely enough to see it all. Interactive explorations take place throughout the park each and every day they are open. A petting zoo populated with goats and pigs will keep toddlers giggling while the Nature Exchange (located near the petting zoo) will delight junior outdoorsman and women. You can call 214-670-5656 for admission, hours and directions or visit the website, below.

The Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden
Nothing says nature like the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. With native plants and themed gardens, there are blooms to see and smell year round. Events include children’s concerts from March through October, a Bonsai show in March, a Rose show in April and periodic garden care lectures. For hours, admission prices and events call 214-515-6500.

Free Fun

You don’t have to buy big dough to have huge fun in Dallas. There are plenty of things to do and see without spending a penny, leaving you more for hats and boots.

Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive
Ever wanted to herd cattle? Your opportunity is just a minute from the Dallas Convention Center. The head count is easy, these bulls won’t move an inch. The bronze sculptures of a herd of cattle and cowboys wranglin’ drifting bulls are nearly life-sized. The sculpture garden is located near the site of the actual Shawnee Trail of the 1850s.

Dallas Central Library
A pile of books doesn’t sound like a great way to spend a vacation, huh? How about seeing one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, it was actually printed in 1776. Or the priceless First Folio of William Shakespeare? After spending some time viewing these precious treasures, take the kids to one of the nations largest Children’s Centers, conveniently located at Dallas Central.

Teams of Teams

The Dallas Stars represent the Big D in NHL hockey games. The Dallas Stars host games at the American Airlines Center.

Dallas is home to an NBA basketball team, the Mavericks. The Mavs also play at the American Airlines Center.

Football fans either love or hate the Dallas Cowboys. Until the new stadium in Arlington is completed, the Cowboys continue to play at Texas Stadium.

Contact Information and Addresses

Dallas Museum of Art. 214-922-1200. 1717 North Harwood, Dallas. http://dallasmuseumofart.org

Meadows Museum of Art. 214.768.3343. 5900 Bishop Blvd., Dallas. www.meadowsmuseumdallas.org

Dallas Zoo. 214-670-5656. 650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas. www.dallas-zoo.org

Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden. 214-515-6500. 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. www.dallasarboretum.org

Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive. Across the street from the Dallas Convention Center.

J. Erik Jonsson Dallas Central Library. (214) 670-1400. 1515 Young St., Dallas. http://dallaslibrary.org/central.htm

Dallas Stars NHL team. American Airlines Center, Dallas. www.dallasstars.com

Dallas Mavericks NBA team. American Airlines Center, Dallas. www.nba.com/mavericks

Dallas Cowboys NFL team. Texas Stadium, Dallas. www.dallascowboys.com/