Dallas is a fun spot, and I have enjoyed each of my previous visits to the city immensely. Last time I was there it was in the middle of the summer (mid August and I would definitely recommend waiting till September if you can!) and while I loved the city I found that I tried pretty hard to confine my activities to inside attractions. The humidity here can hit you really hard if you are not accustomed to it. This time, our visit was in mid September. What a difference a month makes! I think Dallas is at its best in the fall: Just a hint of cool in the air, and the perfect weather to have fun indoors or out.
My absolute favorite attraction was really a group of attractions: The Dallas Arts District. This is the huge (19 block long!) area that has all the best Dallas museums, art galleries, and theaters. The walking tours are the way to go, because there is a lot of really gorgeous architecture here, and some interesting history that goes along with it. There were two spots that particularly impressed me: The Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture center. I took my time enjoying both the nice weather and the gorgeously green gardens at the sculpture center (the indoor displays are quite impressive too). The museum was really tremendous and has to rank as one of the better art museums in the South. I am a huge Impressionist art fan, and I was in heaven here with the Emery Reves Collection of Impressionist art. The museum store was an unexpected gem where I found some wonderful educational souvenirs for my nephews. For myself I picked up a necklace from their amazing jewelry collection. It is a lucky thing indeed that I was not carrying my credit card in the museum store because it would have been begging for mercy.
The Dallas Zoo is something I missed last time, and I was determined to see it this trip. Again, I found that fall was the ideal time to enjoy a zoo trip. This is a huge zoo with a really nice variety of animal exhibits. The Wilds of Africa exhibit was my favorite: A variety of African animals wandering about in a large natural environment. The walking paths here are just beautiful, and well shaded with giant trees. As with most zoos, you'll find the food is on the pricey side, but it was pretty good for zoo fare and allowed me to spend nearly a whole day here without having to dash outside the zoo for food. I think this is the perfect spot for visitors of any age, and I know I will bringing my nephews along on my next trip here - any kid will love this!
I decided to include the Southfork ranch in my column on Dallas, even though it is not technically in the city of Dallas. Pretty ironic, because what is more quintessentially Dallas than Southfork ranch, home to J.R. and the whole Ewing clan? Anybody who has seen the Dallas TV series even once will love this trip. Southfork is located about half an hour from Dallas in the little suburb of Parker. I can now say I stood on J.R.'s balcony, sat at the Ewing patio breakfast table, and wandered around the whole of Southfork in fact. The guides here are fantastically helpful and allow you to wander around at will. Since Southfork is rented out as an event forum these days, you'll find that the inside of the ranch looks much like any other huge home. It is the outside (where the exteriors for the Dallas series were filmed) where you get such a great feel for the place. This was well worth the short drive. Don't forget to take photos: This is really one of those truly unique photo ops!
Dallas has plenty to do, both indoors and out. I have to say that I found my fall visit there to be the most fun I've had in a long time, and there is lots left to do that I did not have time for. I'm already thinking about next time: I hear the city decorates "Dallas style" (meaning bigger and better) for the holidays, and I think a December trip here to see that would be especially fun.
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