The Gift of Membership :: A Dallas Buyer’s Guide


The time is here: the season of giving! If you’re like me and have been trucking along at this whole parenting thing for several years or have collected a few youngsters in your brood, you might be running out of space to live amongst all of your precious darlings’ toy accumulations. Your remedy? The gift of membership.

My husband and I pick one Dallas attraction per year to gift to our girls and, when the grandparents ask what the kids would like, we suggest a couple others. Below I’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most popular Dallas area family destinations where family memberships can be purchased. All prices posted are for a basic annual (1-year) family membership; parking is included with some, but not with others. Check the linked websites for more details.

1. The Perot Museum: For really little ones, there’s a fantastic children’s museum on the lower level complete with a tot-sized grocery store, climbing structure modeled after the Dallas skyline, an oversized water table, and more. For older kids, the rest of the museum does not disappoint with displays of dinosaur bones, space exhibits, “being human” interactive experiments, and so much more that you really can’t get through it all in a day. Membership rate: $119;

2. The Dallas Arboretum: Go any time of year and you will be swept away in natural beauty. And The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden? That place is amazing. Flowers, trees, climbing vines, a working vegetable garden, an eagles nest. There’s so much to do. Just the children’s garden could take you a whole day. Membership rate: $129 (for unlimited access to Children’s Garden $177);

3. Frontiers of Flight Museum: The Frontiers of Flight Museum is so very affordable and has all kinds of attractions that kids love. Of course, at the top of that list are the more than 30 aircraft and space vehicles. There are 13 galleries and exhibits, over 35,000 historical artifacts, and super fun special events that are free to members. Membership rate: $75;

4. The Dallas Zoo: If you haven’t been before, there’s all sorts of action going on at the zoo. Animals from all over the world, a monorail tour around the park, a children’s petting zoo, restaurants and a gift shop. There are also some really cool members-only events that are big crowd pleasers. Membership rate: $129;

5. Dallas World Aquarium: The Dallas World Aquarium simply has unique exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else in Dallas. It’s a beautiful facility with amazing sea creatures, birds, reptiles and more – packed full of vibrant color and interest. Membership rate: $195;

6. Texas Discovery Garden: Stroll through this 7.5 acre sprawling garden, teeming with native and adapted plants. There’s an incredible butterfly house that will charm your children. With a membership, you get discounts on birthday parties, plant sales, gift shop and workshops. Get this – another perk of membership is one day of free admission to the State Fair of Texas for up to six family members! Membership rate: $65;

7. SEA LIFE: Just outside of Dallas is the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium. Like the Dallas World Aquarium, it’s full of beautiful, amazing (and some very odd looking!) creatures that will wow your kids every time they go. As a member, you’ll enjoy special members-only activities and extended hours. Membership rate: $40/person;

8. LEGOLAND: LEGOLAND is a child’s dream. You can build, you can observe amazing Lego creations, you can kick back in the cinema. This place never gets old (particularly if you’re under the age of 15). Guess what? If you want memberships to both LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE, there’s a package deal of $90/person for annual passes to both locales. Membership rate: $60/person;

9. Dallas Children’s Theatre: More pricey than most family membership rates, if you’re willing to spend a little more, you and your family will be delighted to attend theatre productions at the Dallas Children’s Theatre. Featuring fun shows like The Nutcracker, Junie B. Jones, Seussical, James and the Giant Peach, the stories are family-friendly and familiar. Package deals: Start at about $300 for four people to attend four different shows;

10. Six Flags Over Texas/Hurricane Harbor: Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor are two parks that share membership access. This is a great option for families with children who are a little older. Six Flags of course features roller coasters and other thrill rides, while Hurricane Harbor adds water to the fun! If you hurry and buy a membership, you’ll save money on Holiday in the Park. Membership rate: $67/person currently on sale;

Make sure you also check out sites like Groupon – sometimes the above listed destinations run special discounts.

Have fun exploring the Metroplex with your new memberships. What places are we missing, Dallas?


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