With 21,000 acres of parkland, 13 entertainment districts and five professional sports teams, Dallas, Texas, provides a great variety of activities for teenagers with almost any interest. Many of the city’s attractions give teens the chance to soak up the Big D’s rich cultural landscape and historic heritage, all while staying thoroughly entertained.
Teens with a love for big-thrill rides should visit Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, just 20 minutes west of Dallas. The enormous park includes nearly 50 attractions, including Texas Giant, a large wooden/steel hybrid coaster, and Titan, a steel roller coaster with a 255-foot drop. The park is open March through January. For even more extreme adventures, head to Zero Gravity Thrill Park, home to five intense attractions. Open year-round, the park includes a seven-story bungee jump, a 130-foot freefall drop to nothing but a net and a giant slingshot that flings you 150 feet into the air at 70 miles per hour in 1.2 seconds. The bungee jump and 130-foot freefall are open to those ages 10 and older, although those 16 and younger require signed parental consent. There are no age restrictions for the park's other rides.
Teen sports fans can visit AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the mammoth NFL stadium that is home to the Dallas Cowboys September through December. The arena hosts a flurry of other sporting events throughout the year as well, including high school and college football games, supercross competitions and the rodeo. Take guided or self-guided tours of the facility and get a behind-the-scenes look at the press box, VIP suites and locker rooms. Teens can experience Texas’ famed rodeo scene with a trip to Mesquite Arena, just 20 minutes east of Dallas. The venue hosts the ProRodeo circuit, which runs June through August. Cowboys and cowgirls compete throughout the season in such events as steer wrestling, barrel racing and bull riding, with the top competitors qualifying for the finals.
Adventure Landing is a teen-friendly entertainment center with a host of recreational amenities, including three 18-hole miniature golf courses, bumper boats, nine batting cages and go-kart racing. Indoor attractions include an arcade with more than 80 games and a laser tag arena. White Rock Lake is a sprawling 1,015-acre park just 15 minutes outside the city center. Active teens can explore the 9 miles of trails or spend an afternoon on the lake, rowing, paddle boarding, canoeing and fishing. The space is also home to a dog park and numerous baseball fields.
Take the young animal lover in your life to the Dallas World Aquarium, housed in an old 1920s warehouse downtown. Come face-to-face with sea turtles in the eight-story Mundo Maya Hall, see tropical fish swimming through a coral reef in the 20,000-gallon walk-through tank and view the black-footed penguins in the South African exhibit. Pause to watch crocodiles and sharks chow down at feeding time. Tucked away in Marsalis Park, the Dallas Zoo occupies more than 100 acres and houses more than 2,000 animals from around the globe. Visit the Giants of the Savannah exhibit, where elephants, giraffes and zebras walk side-by-side, or explore the outback region, filled with kangaroos, wallabies and koalas. Special events held in the zoo throughout the year include evening safari hikes and overnight family campouts.