My favorite thing to do in Dallas may surprise you: it’s going to the Dallas World Aquarium!
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I know I’m a
So to say my favorite thing in the city is the Dallas World Aquarium may feel like a bit of a gimme. Of course I like it best, I’m a tad obsessed. (It’s true, see here and here and here). But let me convince you.
It has a jungle feel in the middle of downtown. So you get the best of both worlds – you’re already in a great city atmosphere, but you can step into here to spend a few hours in the middle of the Amazon. But with air conditioning.
They’ve done a really great job creating exhibits that seem to have space for the animals to move around but still allow you to see them.
I have to say this: calling it an aquarium is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, there are TONS of cool fish and aquatic animals, so if you want an aquarium you’ll love it. But the entire first half of the aquarium is this immersive exhibit of South American animals!
This is not a criticism – it’s incredible! We LOVED it. The whole place is set up for you to walk one path, essentially pre-ordaining the order you see things. I actually really like when museums do this because it means you won’t miss anything! Even path to the ticket counter is lined with birds, which meant that we ended up walking slower to get to the front – definitely a plus if you do end up stuck waiting in line for a few minutes.
Once inside, the initial room creates the sense of being right in the room with the animals – birds flying above your heads, fish immediately below you as you walk the paths. There’s even a sloth above your head at one point! Seriously, so cool.
From stingrays to otters to 13-foot crocodiles, there’s something to see everywhere you look. We definitely spent an hour in the maze of the first room, covering multiple floors.
Head downstairs for more typical aquarium fare. There’s a massive tank with turtles, fish and a manatee slowly lumbering around the tank. They’ve also got several tanks displaying the gorgeous tropical fish you can’t take your eyes off, including unusual ones like garden eels and an octopus if you can spot him.
They had my favorite aquarium exhibit style, where you get to walk under the glass tank and look up at the sharks and rays swimming above you. Those give me such a better sense of just how big some of these creatures can get!
And of course, penguins. Always adorable and fun to watch, it seems like no zoo or aquarium is complete without them!
I loved the Dallas World Aquarium! I only wish I’d discovered it sooner, instead of right before we move –
What do you look for when you visit a new city? Do aquariums or zoos draw you in?
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