Chinese Lantern Festival

Several years ago, the Chinese Lantern Festival came to Fair Park in Dallas. It was a traveling exhibit that was here only for a short period of time. The advertising looked interesting; so, we decided to go. I had never seen anything quite like it before. I can’t imagine how many hours it took to put this exhibit together. Everywhere we looked, there were more and more beautiful lights.

As we walked into the doorway, we were greeted by a large family of Panda Bears. There were all kinds of family members, Dads, Moms, babies, and extended family members. They were located in a bamboo forest.

Next was a colorful dragon that seemed to go on forever and ever.

As we rounded the corner, we came to another set of exhibits. Among them was this blinking circular image of two peacocks. It took several tries to get a picture of it fully lit.

A little further down the path, we felt like we were in the middle of the ocean, along with fish, jellyfish, and mermaids.

In the center of the exhibit, there was a lagoon. All of the lights surrounded the lagoon making it doubly bright because of the reflections in the water. Here are pictures of a few of our favorites.

Near the middle of the far side of the lagoon, there was a display that had numerous ants playing different musical instruments.

That evening was very magical. So many bright, colorful lights lit up an otherwise dimly lit part of the city. We want to thank all the people who spent hours working on setting this display up in order to bring a little joy to our lives.

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Perot Museum

Late December of 2012 the downtown location of the Perot Museum opened. Ever since opening day, the museum has been one of the premier locations for people interested in natural history and science. No matter what kind of science you are interested in, the museum has something that you would like. There are numerous permanent exhibits and always additional traveling exhibits. The current traveling exhibit is called “The Art of the Brick.” It has to do with legos. There are also films available that rotate to keep your interest.

Although there are many interesting exhibits at the Perot, the one that I think of right off hand is the dinosaurs. There is a room that contains full-sized fossils of dinosaurs as well as many other animals. As you ascend the stairs from this room, you enter an area that is devoted to birds – ancient birds to common birds.

One of the more unusual areas has to do with the weather. Visitors are able to touch a mini tornado or even to become a weather forecaster on a tv screen. There is a simulator of what an earthquake feels like. Visitors get on a platform and there are three levels of earthquake intensity. You can feel what the shaking feels like on all three levels.

There are areas that deal with life’s beginnings, being human, and also space. Another area deals with energy, and there is a display of many different minerals, including a five foot tall geode.

All of the areas have something that is hands on, but the engineering and innovation hall has many things that allow you to participate in one way or another. One exhibit in this area that fascinates everyone is the ability to program a robot and another to try to make robots accomplish certain tasks.

If you have any interest at all in science or natural history, any trip to Dallas should include a day at the Perot Museum.

Dallas World Aquarium

Although it is called an aquarium, I think that the title indoor zoo would be much more appropriate. Given the chance to visit here or the zoo in the summer, this wins. But only because our usual outdoor temperatures are at or near 100 degrees Farenheit. All other times of the year, it is a toss up because they are both very nice.

Even before you enter the building, you know that this will be a different experience. On the walkway up to the door, there are birds, fish, monkeys and even a stork. Immediately after entering the door, there are penguins swimming and entertaining you. From there, you climb a staircase. At the top of the stairs are more birds and an actual indoor waterfall that is two or three stories high. On the island in the middle of the water is a large tree with monkeys hiding throughout it. There are numerous ducks and all kinds of fish swimming around the island. From here you slowly wind your way through the building, seeing fish and other animals at every turn. One of our favorites is the sloth. Usually he is high in the tree and has his head buried, but on our last trip with the grandchildren, he was down low and eating.

Sloth

As you continue winding around the exhibit, you encounter more birds, an otter and even several crocodile.

On one of the lower levels near the cafeteria, there is an area with lots of coral, urchins and other exotic and interesting fish. My favorite is the seahorses. I could watch them for hours.

My other favorite animal at this amazing place is the manatee. He usually carries around a board with him. We think it is his security blanket.

Manatee with security blanket

As you continue meandering you way through the building heading towards the end of the exhibit, there is a tunnel that you can walk through with all types of unusual fish, like sawfish and sharks swimming on the sides and on top of you.

Tunnel with fish swimming around you on three sides

When in Dallas, if you like animals of all kinds, the World Aquarium is a wonderful place to visit. It is in downtown Dallas and easily accessible. You can ride the Dart train, take Uber or Lyft or your own car. Parking is directly across the street from the building. If you would like more information about the Aquarium please go to their homepage: https://dwazoo.com/