Travel can indeed be a luxury. Paying for food, accommodation and entrance fees to various attractions can add up, thus you’ll try to find the cheapest ways to end up having the most fun and value for your vacation.
Fear not, in Dallas, Texas, you can easily find plenty of things to do, for less than 50 USD, or an average of 10 USD per person. How?
Well, first of all, let’s use the magic of the Dallas CityPASS. The CityPASS works like this: you buy the booklet online, exchange the order slip for the actual booklet at the first attraction you visit, and you get four entrance tickets for the low price of 46 USD total. If you sum up the entrance fee per attraction, it’s going to cost you much more. Here I will present you 5 fun things you can do in Dallas with this CityPASS.
1. See cuddly friends and large animals at the Dallas Zoo
Located 3 miles (4.82 km) south of downtown Dallas, the Dallas Zoo is over 100 acres (40.5 hectares), and cares for over 2,000 animals on site. The zoo houses two of my favorite animals: a koala, which was sleepy but very cute, and large, friendly elephants.
The zoo is very walkable and you can easily spend a few hours inside. Activities inside the zoo include feeding the giraffes, which gets you up close and personal with such a noble creature, but is an extra 5 USD, as well as feeding the parakeets, a small bird that loves nectar, for around 2 USD.
The Wilds of Africa exhibit also has a train that shows you the animals as they go about their enclosures, and is highly recommended because you can see parts of the enclosures that are not covered by the walking paths. The train costs 5 USD to ride.
There is a parking fee of 8 USD if you are driving your own vehicle, so please add that to your budget. Alternatively, you can use Dallas’s efficient light-rail system, DART. Take the West Oak Cliff segment on the DART Red line and hop off at the Dallas Zoo station.
2. Soar to the top at the Reunion Tower Geo-Deck
The Reunion Tower has become an icon, of sorts, of Dallas. Originally built as an observation tower, you can go up 560 feet (170 meters) to the observation deck, where you can not only see Dallas landmarks from every possible angle, but you can also take advantage of tower viewers that let you see the details at street level as well.
One of the unique things about the Reunion Tower is that you are very close to the site of Dealey Plaza, which was the site of the assassination of American President John F. Kennedy in 1963. There is an interesting 8 minute video about the assassination, as well as interactive slides to show you all of Dallas’ landmarks.
The tower itself is housed in the Hyatt Regency complex, and is open from 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM. An adult ticket without a CityPASS costs 16 USD per person, while children cost 8 USD.
3. Explore Nature and Space at Perot Museum of Nature and Science
If you are a fan of nature, space, biology, and minerals, then this is the perfect museum for you! The museum is in downtown Dallas and it’s a very sleek-looking building that contains four levels of exhibits. The greatest strength of the museum is not only the sheer amount of fascinating information, but also the fantastic interactive exhibits for both adults and kids.
This is not your typical museum, where you just look at something and read the description. For example, if you wish to learn more about planets and stars, you will enter a dark room with giant screens, and the screens will visually explain how planets and stars are born and how the universe works.
The museum also features a 3D movie theater, where you can view various documentary-style movies about nature and the oceans. These are great for adults and children alike, and last between 20-40 minutes. With the CityPASS, you get to see one free movie. Without the pass, you will have to pay an additional fee.
4. Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll
On November 23, 1963, as the John F. Kennedy motorcade rolled slowly through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, three shots rang out from the Texas School Book Depository Building. The first bullet proved to be fatal for the beloved American President JFK and the entire nation went into mourning. If you visit Dealey Plaza today, it looks just like any other small plaza, but it carries the weight of history on every blade of grass.
These days, cars drive on the same road as the JFK motorcade once did, and you can view the exact spot where the first shot hit the president. It is an incredible feeling to stand near that spot and to look out at the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building, where the assassin’s bullet came from.
You can also walk to a fence nearby called the Grassy Knoll. This particular place in Dealey Plaza is famous for being the suggested actual location of the assassin among many conspiracy theorists. To this day, some people still believe that the shots came from a mysterious gunman behind the Grassy Knoll, and you can walk to the place and ponder whether or not it really was the real site of the gunman.
5. Immerse yourself in colorful beauty at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
With spring comes better weather and the flowering of some beautiful trees and flowers. There are few better places to witness this transformation than the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The arboretum is a 66 acre (26.7 hectares) property, which features 19 manicured gardens. The finest one is perhaps the Margaret Elizabeth Jonsson Color Garden, which contains a stunning collection of azaleas and tulips. There is a tremendous burst of color on display, namely red and a bright purple.
The Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill contains a nice variety of Japanese Maples, as well as snapdragons. As you walk along this trail, you will see not only the maples, but also a series of calming creeks and waterfalls, which will make the trail that much more relaxing. Similarly, the Paseo de Flores is a passage that connects various trails in the arboretum, and it features some incredible sights: the Crape Myrtle Allee, Japanese Cherries, forsythias, and tulips.
The Arboretum is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.
See the major sights and don't empty your wallet with the Dallas CityPASS
The Dallas CityPASS is a great option for those who wish to see all the major attractions that Dallas has to offer, and save nearly 50%! The attractions that it offers are of excellent quality, and range from a zoo to an impressive observation tower, a botanical garden, and a science museum. It is a great deal, and the attractions will take around two days to visit.
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