Have you been to the Children’s Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum?  It’s worth the drive.  I’ve been fortunate enough to go twice so far – once on a Kindergarten field trip and again with my family over Thanksgiving break.   We had an amazing time on both visits, and so did our kids (even the grumpy 5th grader).

The “garden” covers eight acres and is next to White Rock Lake, so the view is beautiful.  My husband dubbed this an “outdoor children’s science museum” and I think he nailed it. There are tons of hands-on activities.  Some are just fun (climbing and mazes) but most are teaching science concepts to your kids while they play.

The garden is very stroller friendly, and some play areas have a dead end – so while it’s huge there are ways for you to sit back and enjoy participating, or just watching, without being totally paranoid that you’re going to lose your child.  There is also one area that is restricted to little kids (Kindergarten and younger), which is certainly helpful when you have toddlers.

a giant nest

view from the tree house

You’ll learn about the weather, sources of energy, edible plants, life cycles, rocks, animal habitats and wetlands.  Plus you’ll get to play with a kaleidoscope, puzzles, water canons, foam blocks and more.

water canons

Thankfully there are water fountains and bathrooms in the garden, but plan ahead and check the map if you’ve got kids who can’t hold it long, some bathroom locations are not obvious.   Around lunchtime there is a cafe that offers meals, and there are vending machines near the entrance.  You can also bring your own food and sit at the picnic tables. If you’re only going to the Children’s Garden, park in Lot 1 and you won’t have far to walk far at all.  If you park in the other lots you’ll have to walk through the Arboretum to get to the Children’s Garden (which is a nice option if you’d like to see other things).   There is an extra admission fee for the Children’s Garden.  You can get $1 off each ticket if you purchase in advance at any Tom Thumb, or just purchase a membership – we did!  If you visit the Arboretum more than one a year you’ll save money with a membership.

we wore him out!

Children’s Adventure Garden
Dallas Arboretum
8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX