The Dallas-Fort Worth area's newest museum is also instantly its most kid-friendly one. Yes, there's an actual Children's Museum that gives the young ones their own special area in which to play, but the entire museum is so insanely interactive that there's almost no spot that they won't enjoy. The museum features 11 different exhibit halls where you can do such things as experience an earthquake, make music, build a robot or remote control car, put on 3D glasses and pretend you're a bird, conduct actual science experiments, create your own virtual dinosaur, race against a Tyrannosaurus rex, and much, much more. Add in a theater showing cool 3D nature movies and a fun — and free — courtyard area out front, and you have a spot that can be explored for hours on end.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science may be getting all the recent attention, but Fort Worth boasts its own go-to science museum. The museum has been in existence since 1968 and got a brand-new building in 2009. Its Children's Museum features a variety of activities good for younger kids, including the opportunity to observe live reptiles and amphibians. The museum's DinoDig, where you can pretend to be a paleontologist, has been a favorite with visitors since it debuted in 1993. And don't forget about the "history" part of the museum's name; in addition to the history evident in the permanent exhibits, they occasionally bring in special exhibits like one featuring artifacts from the Titanic.
There's almost no business that's more synonymous with Dallas-Fort Worth than American Airlines, as it's had flights originating here as early as the 1940s and has had its headquarters in Fort Worth since 1979. The C.R. Smith Museum — one of several flight-related museums in the area — celebrates that history with exhibits that let you see the variety of airplanes the carrier has featured, interactive features that guide you through the years, and behind-the-scenes looks at everyone from the flight attendants to the baggage handlers. But the biggest draw by far is the flight simulator, in which you can pretend you're a pilot flying over the San Francisco Bay Area.
Art museums aren't usually thought of as being kid-friendly, because even the most beautiful art can only hold their small attention spans for so long. But the DMA has combated that notion with a variety of programs aimed at children as young as 2 that introduces them to certain special areas of the museum and then encourages them to make art of their own. Late Nights at the DMA, which take place on the third Friday of every month, has activities for kids of all ages, including yoga and storytime. The DMA also has summer art camps for school-age children, visits from children's authors and more. The museum even has its own mascot of sorts, Arturo the parrot, who's based on a Peruvian ceramic piece dating back more than 1,200 years. Last but not least, as of January 21, 2013, the museum once again has free admission, one of the few museums in the country to offer such a perk.
Being a firefighter is one of those types of jobs that inspires awe in children and adults alike, because their entire purpose is to keep people safe from harm. It's the rare child that doesn't get entranced by the sight of a fire truck, and the Dallas Firefighters Museum features a few for the books — the history books, that is. On display are several vintage firefighting vehicles, including one nicknamed "Old Tige" that dates back to 1884. Kids can sit in some of the old trucks, check out how firefighting techniques have changed over the years and pore over rookie class pictures. Who knows — one trip to the museum could result in a child deciding to serve his or her community proudly like thousands of others before them.