Older children who have studied the 1960s and Kennedy should appreciate the Sixth Floor Museum. Younger kids are likely to have a better time at the Dallas Zoo or either the Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park or the Dallas World Aquarium.

Fair Park has plenty to offer families, especially if you happen to be in Dallas during the State Fair of Texas (Oct). Even if you miss the fair, Fair Park's Museum of Nature and Science is a great place to hide from the Texas sun. Girls of all ages (and open-minded boys) may find interactive inspiration at the new Women's Museum. Kids tend to like trains, so a whistle-stop at the Age of Steam Railroad Museum should be diverting.

The staging of life on the prairie at Old City Park, with actors re-creating the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is plenty of fun for both kids and adults. Check out family theater productions at the Dallas Children's Theater, Crescent Theater, 2215 Cedar Springs at Maple (tel. 214/978-0110). The Dallas Museum of Art's Gateway Gallery has cool interactive art displays for kids. Children who are into movies may want to check out Hollywood sets and memorabilia at the Studios at Las Colinas.

The Plano Balloon Festival, a 3-day event held in mid-September in Oak Point Park, 2801 E. Spring Creek Pkwy., is one of the country's largest. More than 100 hot-air balloons, many of them curious shapes and recognizable figures, launch each day at 7am and 6pm. It's worth the drive (and early rise), unless it's too windy to launch; call tel. 972/867-7566 or visit www.planoballoonfest.org for more information. Sporting events, such as games of the Cowboys, Rangers, Sidekicks, and Stars, draw huge family crowds. Finally, just getting around parts of Dallas can be fun for children; take the DART Light Rail system around downtown (especially direct to the Dallas Zoo) and be sure to hop aboard the historic trolleys that patrol McKinney Avenue.

Arlington, midway between Dallas and Fort Worth, is the big draw for families, with Six Flags Over Texas amusement park, Texas Rangers baseball (including the excellent Legends of the Game Baseball Museum), Hurricane Harbor water park, the Palace of Wax & Ripley's Believe It or Not, and more. And if you're looking to combine shopping with entertainment for the kids, Texas malls are in themselves theme parks (with skating rinks and much more).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.