Sometimes the simplest things can take you back to your childhood in an instant. A glimpse of a lunchbox like the one you carried to school, a whiff of the fragrance your first crush wore, the taste of a dish just like your mother used to make. Sometimes that’s all it takes. But sometimes you want more than just reliving memories; sometimes you really want to let your inner kid out. Adults need to play too. We often play at more sophisticated pursuits, but if you really want to act like a kid again, here are some great places in DFW to do it. Bring your imagination (and fond memories) along.
Plane rides, skydiving, hot air balloon rides, zip lines. If you’re going to risk your life doing crazy shit in North Texas, you might as well start with this list.
Take it for a Spin
If you’ve never taken a kid-like spin on a swivel stool at a restaurant counter, I highly recommend it. And if it’s simply been too long, I have just the place for you.
Delicious shakes and malts, simple sandwiches, and breakfast favorites are some of the dishes that have stood the test of time at this old-time soda fountain. If you’re a parent or grandparent of youngsters or a PANK (professional aunt, no kids) like me, you have the perfect excuse to visit (or revisit) this magical place. But even without kids in tow, you can order a grilled cheese or a PB&J (no burgers on the menu here) and your favorite shake with no shame. The diner has more than earned its place as a Dallas icon – it celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in 2012.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to twirl on the bar stools. It’s a time-honored tradition still upheld and encouraged by current owner Gretchen Minyard Williams. (And yes, she’s part of the Minyard family you’ve heard of.)
Spin Till You’re Dizzy
Whether you grew up here or just arrived, you have to acknowledge that the ultimate playland in DFW is Six Flags Over Texas.
Do you prefer the thrill-inducing rides like Harley Quinn Spinsanity and Catwoman Whip or something tamer like the Sidewinder or the Mini Mine Train? Either way, you’ll be ready to play all day at the 212-acre park with almost 50 rides.
The theme park has been open for close to 60 years, and its theme has changed a bit over the years. From the historic Texas references of its earliest days to its Cyrus Cosmo days in the 70s to today’s Looney Tunes and Justice League associations, the park has always had the right stuff to bring out the kid in you.
Around here where it’s summer nearly year-round, you might be wishing for an indoor amusement park. Dave & Buster’s is all games all the time. Its Million Dollar Midway features everything from skeeball to state-of-the-arts virtual reality games and rides. Speaking of skeeball – don’t you love those tickets?!? Feel free to wave around your winnings with honest-to-goodness big kid pride.
More Kidding Around
If you prefer old school games, you can get your fill of those at Free Play Arcade in Denton, Arlington or Richardson. At Quarter Lounge arcade in Bedford you can play retro video games to your heart’s content. ITZ in Euless has VR games, bowling, bumper cars, and more.
Wheels Keep Spinning
If you were a kid in the 70s or 80s in DFW, chances are you spent some time on roller skates. Those of you who came along later missed out on something great. The three rinks listed below all have Adult Skate nights. I’ve been told the adult nights at Southern Skates are epic.
If you haven’t ever roller skated, it might take a few minutes to get the hang of it, but you’ll really like it. Think of it as your daily walk or jog while listening to your favorite tunes – except with disco lights. Seriously, skating rinks are the perfect place to enjoy the latest music, get a little easy and fun exercise, and feel like a kid again. First -timers welcome: fond memories not required.
Leave those Kids at Home
Not home alone – you’re gonna need a babysitter. You don’t want to miss these grown-up nights (with drinks!) at the science museums in Fort Worth and Dallas.
For a night at the museum you won’t soon forget, check out the adults-only social nights at a Fort Worth or Dallas science museum. With drinks and food available for purchase, your ticket covers entrance into exhibits, special talks, music and other entertainment, and a chance to learn about science and technology in a fun way. The events happen approximately once per calendar quarter – watch the websites for announcements of coming events.
Do You Believe in Magic?
If you believe in magic, you may want to make a day trip to Argyle, near Denton, where you’ll find a couple of things that seem like they came right out of a fairy tale.
→ Same address – shares a parking lot with Kimzey’s, Earl’s 377 Pizza, and Bumbershoot Barbecue
Kimzey’s really does look like it could be Snow White’s cottage. Except it’s larger – much larger. Each room has its own charms as do the garden areas outside. Something Kimzey’s has that Snow White may not have had is coffee – really good coffee. Espresso, cold brews, and other specialties are made with locally roasted beans from West Oak Coffee in Denton. It’s a coffee lover’s dream come true. You can also get milk shakes and baked goods or beer, wine and whiskey at this truly enchanted spot.
At a little white shack in the parking lot, you can experience a Gnome Cone, which is like a snow cone, but so very much better. The shaved ice cones served in a cup act as the gnome’s cap – such a clever idea! The cold treats aren’t just cute though; the unique flavored syrups are made from all natural (often organic) ingredients. The stand now serves gnome-sicles too.
Have a Kid-Free Kid-Around Day
If you’re an empty-nester without grandkids or childless for any other reason, Legoland might make you wish you had a kiddo around. But one night a month, adults get the kiddie playland all to themselves.
It’s just ONE Friday night a month, so you have to stay on top of their calendar to get in on this one. Events are usually from 7-9 PM and have themes, games, and competitions just for grown-up kids.
With some ideas to spur your thinking, I bet you’ve come up with a few ideas of your own on how to play with abandon – just like kids do – in DFW. If I’ve missed one of your favorite spots, let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page!