People planning vacations rarely choose a huge city to visit. They head for the beach or the mountains. They plan to see places like Yellowstone Park or the Grand Canyon. Still, there are some who want to see Southfork, the Ewings’ beautiful ranch in the TV show Dallas. Others are curious to see if there are ranches there (there’s a bunch, including Southfork). Many figures there are things to see while they visit family or friends. All of the above are viable reasons to visit Dallas, Texas, and then some.

Dallas Isn’t All Concrete Trails

For the visitor who enjoys water and green grass, Dallas offers hiking, biking, fishing, boating and swimming in one of its over 400 parks on more than 20,000 acres:

You wouldn’t think a former illegal dump site would be rehabbed into a park with paths running by prairie, but it was. Trinity River Audobon Center offers visitors bird watching, a butterfly garden for the kids, stunning flora and fauna as well as 6,000 acres of the Great Trinity Forest and more.

White Rock Lake Park is just five miles from downtown but includes a replica of George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, a 1,015 acre lake upon which boating and fishing may happen, nine miles of hiking trails, a dog park and then some.

A sunken highway is a home to five-acre Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas. Fitness classes, dance classes, movie night, music and a portion for the children offer fun and education in this imaginative spot.

For the Kids

Children need their attention engaged and their sense of fun and amusement satisfied. To that end, Dallas offers:

Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park has a 100 percent safety record when you think of rides at 70 mph, bungee rides at seven stories and the 100-foot high Skycoaster. Fun for parents as well as kids.

Nineteenth-century cattle drives once used the Shawnee Trail, which later became a railroad. To celebrate Dallas’ part in the cattle drives of yesteryear, Pioneer Plaza in the center of Dallas is dotted with sculptures of longhorn cattle, cowboys and cattle drovers.

Go-karts, mini golf, arcade games, bumper boats and dozens of other games and things to do make Adventure Landing a fun place for both parents and kids. Plenty of food, too.

For Mom and Dad

Parents enjoy more “adult” activities and sights, and Dallas has plenty of them:

Reunion Tower soars 561 feet high, from which you can see a major portion of the city. Enjoy a bite at the revolving restaurant, Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty, while you’re there.

Bishop Arts District was once a popular trolley stop. Now it’s a popular shopping area with boutiques, art galleries, eateries and other eclectic shopping and sights.

Walk, bike or skate along the Katy Trail , once a railroad, and then have a bite at one of the restaurants along the path.