Bringing History to Life :: 5 Fun Museums to Visit with Kids in Dallas


A sign that says museum with an arrow.Understanding history is incredibly important in how we learn to engage with the world around us. It helps us learn about humanity and respectfully engage with others and build our own critical thinking pathways. Enter museums!

For those of us who weren’t history majors (or perhaps even for those of us who were), teaching our kids about history can be a bit daunting. So let the docents, interactive displays, and guided tours do the work for you! Add one of the below museums to your list of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

African American History Museum

Recently, I learned that Dallas had a thriving Freedman’s community just north of downtown in what is now called Uptown. And while you can tour one of these homes in Old City Park (I mention Old City Park below), you can learn even more about the community at the African American History Museum in Fair Park.

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The museum documents the Freedman communities through interactive kiosks, found objects, and photographs while engaging visitors in the African American experience. The museum does an excellent job showing how Dallas has built beautiful communities. This museum is focused on sharing the stories of the African American experience through art, which is best appreciated by older elementary-aged kids and beyond.

Recommended ages: Elementary-aged kids and older
Admission cost: Free (contributions welcomed)
Hours of operation: Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Heritage Farmstead Museum

Just north of George Bush Turnpike, nestled in suburban Plano, is Heritage Farmstead. Heritage Farmstead focuses on the agricultural aspects of the era with a working farm.

While visiting, kids have the opportunity to participate in a number of demonstrations. My kids’ favorite is learning how to milk a cow.

And no trip to Heritage Farmstead is complete without a visit with Poncho — the farm’s donkey — who is a huge fan of nose scratches. Keep your eye on its website, the farm regularly hosts seasonal events that are fun for the whole family!

Recommended ages: All ages
Admission cost: Free
Hours of operation: Thursday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Interurban Railway Museum 

Hop across 75 to downtown Plano and discover a random gem of the metroplex — the Interurban Railway Museum. Our family discovered this gem when my eldest went through his train phase as a preschooler.

Even though our choo-choo phase has faded, the exhibits on electricity continue to engage the whole family. While this museum is relatively small, it offers a perfect quick afternoon trip “somewhere special” with the kids.

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Fun fact: Did you know that the telegraph became popular as the railway system was built in the late 1800s? The lines ran along the track and connected from station to station. The telegraph, along with the invention of Morse code, revolutionized long distance communication.

Recommended ages: All ages
Admission cost: Free
Hours of operation: Tuesday – Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Old City Park

Old City Park, nestled within a 20-acre park, is one of my favorite historical sites to visit with kids. Situated throughout the park are a number of Victorian-era homes, farmsteads and commercial buildings all native to the North Central Texas region. As a kid, I vividly remember learning about a one-room schoolhouse, watching the blacksmith forge a horseshoe, and barrel rolling down the hill like I was Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House on the Prairie opening credits.

Recently, I got to watch my second grader’s eyes light up as he played with toys of the Victorian era and learned how the City of Dallas grew because of legislation that forced the railroad to come through the Dallas area instead of its original plans to bypass Dallas for Corsicana. Docents who help bring the park to life, along with the crowing roosters, make you feel like you are transported back to an era gone by.

Recommended ages: All ages
Admission cost: Free
Hours of operation: Thursday – Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

A homestead house.

The Sixth Floor Museum

History remembers JFK as the president who was assassinated in Dallas. And yet, his presidency saw the dawn of the modern civil rights movement and the brink of war with Russia. The Sixth Floor Museum explores all of these and more!

I have been to this museum several times with out of town family and guests, and it never disappoints. We have yet to take our kids as the museum is less play based and more interactive learning in structure. It is perfect for the mid to late elementary aged kiddos and beyond.

Recommended ages: Elementary-aged kids and older
Admission cost: Adult $18; Children ages six to 18 $14; Children five and under free
Hours of operation: Wednesday – Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

What are some of your favorite kid-friendly museums?


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