Trying to find indoor entertainment options for little kids that also entertain big kids can be a challenge, but while doing a little research, we came across the Museum of Nature and Science. We had a group of 8 with four kids ranging from 2 to 16 years. The Museum of Nature and Science is located in Fair Park and consists of two buildings.
The Science Building is where most people start. Here you can buy your tickets for all of the exhibits as well as any add-ons, such as access to the IMax theater or any special travelling exhibits, such as the Chinasaurs exhibit. The Science building is also much larger than the Nature building and a good starting point.
We found that the entrance to the museum can be a little tricky to find. The buildings are old art deco buildings and the main entrances were somewhat difficult to locate depending on where you parked.
If you park and walk in between the nature and science building you’ll see the lagoon with the swan paddleboats. You’ll also see the planetarium. Just keep walking towards the planetarium and there’s an entrance next to it with a big IMax sign. Here you will find a large ticket desk. We went on a Sunday and there wasn’t much of a line for tickets, but you do have the option to prepurchase your tickets online with a $2 per ticket additional fee. They sort of scare you into buying the tickets online saying that you can avoid the long lines, but like I said, the line wasn’t that long.
Plus, if you are a member of a children’s museum, you may be able to get in for free. The museum is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and they have a Passport program. If you’re local museum is a member and you’ve got a family pass, you can get into the Museum of Nature and Science for free – which makes it worth the wait in line. You also get discounts on special exhibits. For example, we have a family membership with the Don Harrington Discover Center in Amarillo, Texas and they are members of the ASTC, so our family (me, my husband and my son) were able to get in for free. We could have also gotten into the Chinasaurs exhibit for $1 if we had wanted to. You can find more info on the Passport program here.
The first exhibits we saw were dinosaur related. The kids got to dig for dino bones while T-Rex hovered above the dig site.
From the dinos, we headed to this room where they had bubbles, tornados and floating balls:
From here we found an area that had a lot of “personal” issues, such as a detector that showed how “hot” you were, how much exercise it takes to burn off a burger, what happens when you get mucus in your sinuses and vomit and have to wear a germ suit…
Hey, I said they were personal.
Oh, and there was a giant nose that sneezed every 60 seconds or so.
And then we headed downstairs to where all the really fun stuff is – especially if you’re 2 and under. This area of the museum is designed specifically for the little kids, although kids of all ages are allowed to visit.
After we exhausted all that the Science Building had to offer, we headed over to the Nature Building.
The Nature Building is divided into 4 halls and also has an upstairs and basement. In the basement, the paleontologists are hard at work, except on Sunday – which was when we were there. Upstairs you’ll find more dinosaur bones and a light show, but we had seen our fill of dino bones and didn’t make it up there.
The first hall was mammals of Texas:
(Note that none of the animals are actually alive)
The next hall had birds of Texas as well as some small animals:
The next hall had birds of the coastal areas of Texas:
The next hall was the Bison Hall. It featured a few more Texas mammals that you don’t see very often and some that are no longer existing in the state:
There was something for everybody in our group at the Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. It was a place that we’ll definitely keep in mind for future trips to Dallas. It was easy to tour and you can see the entire place in a couple of hours. Fair Park is also cool to see when it’s not full of fair goers and vendors. You can really see all of the unique Art Deco buildings, sculptures and fountains that the park has to offer.
Nature Building, Science Building and Planetarium:
Extended Summer Hours: May 28 – September 5
General Admission for Adults is $10 and Children (2 to 11) are $7. Under 2 are free. Students and seniors are $9.