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Watching our first baseball game in Dallas

Watching our first baseball game in Dallas

(These blog posts are way behind I know – I’m determined record this amazing trip before I forget all the little details!)

It seems we were pretty set on enjoying ALL that there is that is traditional American culture on this trip!  Before we left the big city and started exploring the littler towns in America we wanted to catch a sports game.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t care whether it was American Football, Basketball, Ice Hockey or Baseball – I knew whatever we chose would be unlike anything we can get back home.

As it was, it was baseball season and there happened to be a game that matched perfectly with our itinerary.  The Texas Rangers were playing the Manta Rays and there was a pretty good turnout at the game – it was busy.

It was also a pretty cheap evening for us.  I’ve since looked at prices for other sports and it was way higher – very fortuitous.  It helped that the person serving us for tickets gave us kids prices for our two even though at least Marcus was too old for that.

texas rangers baseball dallas cowboys
Dallas Cowboys stadium in the distance

One thing I’ll never forget, was the standstill of the crowds and everyone, no matter what they were doing, when the national anthem was played.  I was coming up the escalator after getting some cash from the ATM and everyone just stopped.  Really weird!  I know you see it on telly, but being there was a bit surreal – say what you like, but the Americans really do take pride in their country.  James and the kids missed it all as they were looking out over towards the Dallas Cowboys Football Stadium – so that was even funnier to me!

 

As for the game – well I was confused from the start!  But that was ok, we enjoyed messing around and watching the kiss cam when that came on and all the random happenings over the tannoy.

baseball game texas rangers dallas

 

I also learned that ‘tail gating’ is a completely different thing in the US – apparantly over there it doesn’t mean driving super close to the tail end of the car in front of you, but actually means having a picnic style get together out of the boot of your car.  So there you go.  Travel is educational!

Drive in movies and discovering Dallas

Drive in movies and discovering Dallas

We had a great time in Dallas, our very first taste of the USA.  One of our favourite things we experienced was the drive in movies – something we don’t have back in the UK!

Discovering Dallas

One of the selling points I gave James and the kids when I was proposing a trip to Dallas was that we could potentially visit the home of Gas Monkeys which is the base of a TV show called Fast n Loud on some sky channel (I have no idea since we had no TV and would go round to James’s dads house to watch it).  It’s classic James and Marcus telly, lots of big american cars getting fixed up.  So one of the first trips out from our airbnb house was to go and find it.

Apart from negotiating the american highways, which were pretty intense in Dallas, it was quite easy to find 😉

visiting gas monkey garage dallas TX

We were hopeful that we’d see some filming going on or catch a glimpse of some of the stars, but no joy for us this time.  Many Gas Monkey garage t-shirts and souvenirs were bought from the shop that is on site and it was just generally pretty cool to have seen it.

gas monkey garage dallas tx

gas monkey garage dallas texas

 

Drive in movies

Drive in movies.  How often have I seen films and tv shows where they headed off to see a movie on a big screen in the middle of nowhere?  Why do we have nothing remotely like it in the UK to try and copy???  We copy everything else!  Ok, perhaps the weather might have something to do with it!  It seems such a retro thing to do too so since we were planning our Route 66 trip I wanted to incorporate a visit.  Unfortunately there were no cinemas on the mother road, or at least not on the part we were travelling on so I looked to Google to find me something in Dallas 🙂  I wasn’t disappointed and found a drive in movie theatre not too far away.

We arrived really early, and I mean really early, to the Galaxy Drive in Theatre.  I had no idea what to expect, how busy it would be or anything. As always we like to be early rather than rushing around.

 

drive in movies theatre dallas texas

retro us drive in theatre movie
drive in movie theatre dallas texas

The drive in movie theatre was pretty much empty when we first arrived, which really added to the old, past it’s best feel about the place (not a bad thing – it added to the charm).  It was still really warm and we had a wander round to get our bearings, listening to the crickets and the distant sounds of cars.  Since we had wait before the movie came on (they give an estimated start time, but it needs to be dark enough so in reality it’s based on that)  we decided on a game of mini golf which was part of the cinema.

mini golf texas drive in movies theatre retro

 

Food was basic but tasty and cheap enough.  It was my first experience of american hotdogs in America though – I was surprised that everything seemed to be in a foil bag, already heated up.  Is that the norm???   Seemed to be that way when we went to the baseball game too.

 

Eventually it was film time.  At this drive in movie theatre there were two films showing on each screen – the one we really wanted was on second, so it was VERY late by the time it was on.  I wish we’d had a blanket and could sit more outside – we did a little bit but I was a bit freaked out by potential bugs!!  It’s not really that easy to see the screen in the car, and not particularly comfy either.  We needed a flat bed truck really!

 

Overall it was a fab day full of retro America which is one of my favourite things!

retro drive in movies us travel theatre

 

 

If you’d like to read more about our time in Dallas then check the following posts out:

Our first impressions of the USA

Conspiracy theories in Downtown Dallas

Skyline views at the Reunion Tower in Dallas

Watching our first baseball game in Dallas

 

 

Skyline views at the Reunion Tower Dallas

Skyline views at the Reunion Tower Dallas

Visiting the Reunion Tower DallasAs I may have mentioned a few times, this was our first trip to the USA and coming from the UK where we don’t have too many skyscraper skylines, we were pretty excited to see it while in Dallas which is a pretty big city.

Every time I saw pictures and videos of the city there was always this one tower that stood out – it had a ball on the top that was lit up at night time.  It was called the Reunion Tower Dallas and we decided we’d love to go up there and get a great view of the city.

As we were in downtown Dallas visiting the Sixth Floor museum we decided to make the most of the time (and make sure we didn’t need too many downtown driving trips!) by adding in a trip to the tower then.  It’s really close by, probably about a 5 minute walk away?  You don’t want much more when it’s as hot as it is in Dallas!

dallas reunion ball tower

 

Visiting the Reunion Tower in Dallas

As you go in the tower there is a shop at the bottom with a whole load of souvenirs and a penny press (very important for us – small souvenirs I don’t mind the kids getting!) and after a quick bag security check you wait for someone to take your picture against a green screen.  Normally I hate these things as I hate the pressure to get one afterwards, but they had a way to get your picture on social media for free and you got a copy emailed back to you too which I thought was kinda cool.  Maybe this is the way forward with these things, I’ll admit it’s been a while since we’ve done many touristy things!

tourist photo dallas reunion tower
Not long and I will definitely be the smallest!

The lift that takes you up to the top of the tower takes a grand total of 68 seconds and feels so smooth.  You get to see outside as you go and get a fab view!

Once up at the observation deck, called the GeO Deck, you can use the kiosks to share your image that was taken below.  There’s a few backgrounds to choose from, but I do like the evening shots with all the lights!  The deck is air conditioned and full of touch screens that are really accessible to all.  You can search and find out some of the history of the tower or use it to find out what you are looking at outside.   It was great for my older kids, but equally I think it would be great for little ones too.

inside the geodeck at dallas reunion tower
Pretty walls inside and James downloading our picture from the kiosk
dallas reunion tower geodeck
Using the interactive screens

The views were spectacular.  I could have spent forever just looking at it and trying to work out what I was seeing.  I couldn’t believe how spread out the city was and how far away the big sports stadiums at Arlington were.  There was also an outside area where you  can look through telescopes to get closer to the landscape too.  All included and no extra quarters needed!

dallas reunion tower views

We spent ages being silly and taking selfies – although I was always a bit worried I was going to drop my phone!  I think I need a wrist strap like my camera has 😉

reunion tower visit dallas

Overall, it was simply stunning up there and we all loved it.  I’d highly recommend a trip to the top.  There are food options so maybe we can add that in next time!

reunion tower view

 


 

Where to stay in Dallas

If you’d like to be near to the Reunion Tower and many of the attractions of downtown Dallas then there are lots of hotels that would suit.

Directly next to the Reunion Tower is the Hyatt Regency hotel – you really can’t get any closer!  Latest prices can be found here.

The Hilton Garden Inn is close to the Dallas aquarium and comes highly recommended – click here for latest prices.

 

If you’d like a bit more of a homely feel then Airbnb is a great option – it’s what we did, although we weren’t in the downtown area.

 


 

 

If you’d like to read more about our time in Dallas then check the following posts out:

Our first impressions of the USA

Conspiracy theories in Downtown Dallas

Drive in movies and discovering Dallas

Watching our first baseball game in Dallas

 

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Visiting the Reunion Tower

 

Visiting the JFK Museum in Dallas with kids

Visiting the JFK Museum in Dallas with kids

Visiting the Sixth Floor MuseumAs soon as we knew we were landing in Dallas we knew we had to learn more about President Kennedy and his assassination which happened in downtown Dallas.  We were excited to learn that there was a JFK Museum in Dallas called the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza which had loads of information about the events and was housed in the actual building that JFK was supposedly shot from.

Marcus is my history buff and recently he’s been learning more about what happened after WW2, including the cold war and the Vietnam war, so naturally, learning about the presidents has been in there too.  He also has a thing about conspiracy theories, as does James, so we knew that the museum would be a great one!

Tickets for the JFK Museum in Dallas

The JFK museum cost $16 for an adult and $13 for a child (free under 5) but we’d already made the decision that we’d shell out for this one!

It was easy to find the museum and there was plenty of parking nearby.  We parked in the museum parking lot but there was lots around as well.  Really reasonable parking as well for being in downtown of a city – only $5.  Maybe it’s standard for US cities though!

You can buy tickets online and it mentions that they are sold in timed slots.  I wasn’t sure how long it would take us to drive in to the city so I decided to just buy them in person and if we had to wait then we’d go explore for a bit.  In actual fact we were ok to just buy tickets, get our audio guides and go straight up to the museum.

Audio guides are included in the admission.  I do like having these as the kids can listen to as much or as little as they feel up to.  I wasn’t sure how much Alex would be interested, as she can be a bit hit or miss so having this meant she could be uninterested and not have me grump at her!  In actual fact I think she did enjoy it.

Learning about the JFK assassination

The museum was busy, especially at the beginning part as you are led round the exhibits and videos, however we did visit in Summer so it may be less busy at other times.  We learned about the world at the time of JFK’s presidency, the man himself, bits about the cold war and eventually we started to learn about the events of the day that JFK was assassinated.

Itexas book depository and sixth floor jfk museum in dallas have to say I didn’t know much about the event itself, even though I’ve learned a little about the world in the sixties more recently, so I enjoyed reading and learning.  There was so much to learn and take in at every exhibit, more than we felt that we needed to know, but perfect for someone who is mad about this period of history.
Having the information about the day in the exact place where the shooter was located was great, you could see the vantage point and really get familiar with how it might have taken place.  They have reconstructed the window area so it’s how it was when Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK which was pretty cool.  It was also so weird to me that the fatal place was just a cross on the road and cars and people still go by it every day.

The museum doesn’t skim over the fact that there were many conspiracy theories about JFK’s death and Marcus enjoyed reading all about those!  He’s convinced all is not as it seems 😉

All in all it was packed with information and a great day out.  We all thoroughly enjoyed it.  I do think we’d have struggled if the kids were much younger, especially as we don’t have much background of the story.  At ages 12 and 14 it was perfect for our kids.  Perhaps it would be different for American kids who have more of the history told to them.

 

Outside the museum you can walk round and discover the Grassy Knoll and get some different vantage points.  It was extremely hot when we were there though!  Take plenty of water 😉

 

texas book depository and sixth floor jfk museum in dallas

 

 

Not far away from the Sixth floor museum is also the JFK Memorial which is also worth a look if you’re in the area.

 

 

While you’re visiting Downtown Dallas, perhaps you’ll also go to the Reunion Tower – you can read about our trip here.

 


Where to stay in Downtown Dallas

If you’re coming to Dallas and want to be in the thick of it downtown then the following hotels near Dealey Plaza are worth considering.

 

Directly next to the Reunion Tower is the Hyatt Regency hotel which is also a short walk from the JFK museum and memorial site  Latest prices can be found here.

The Crowne Plaza is very close to the sixth floor museum and comes highly recommended – click here for latest prices.

 

If you’d like a bit more of a homely feel then Airbnb is a great option – it’s what we did, although we weren’t in the downtown area.

 

 

*disclaimer – I was given one free ticket to the sixth floor museum in return for blogging about it.  We paid for the rest of the tickets.  This does not affect my views of the site

This post may also contain affiliate links where I receive a commission but at no further cost to you!

 

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Visiting the Sixth Floor Museum