Best Urban Rain Forest (2003)
Dallas World Aquarium
Fear Factor? No, thanks! We'll take our life-affirming adventures in the safety of a dark movie theater or in a fake, Disneyland-style environment. Even Dallas' risk-averse will get off on the re-created Orinoco River basin rain forest at the Dallas World Aquarium. Just inside the door, a walkway spirals down through the South American jungle facsimile, where you quickly get used to the warm humidity. Enveloped in sights and smells, you'll see and hear birds overhead, spiral down through exotic plants, fish and turtles, and nary a poisonous snake or malaria-carrying mosquito will cross your path. The rain forest ends where the aquarium begins, and we recommend that, too. The DWA isn't a huge facility, but that's appealing; animals are well cared for, and the place is virtually stench-free. On top of all that, you can step outside and drink too much, eat too much and spend too much money at the touristy West End. Perfect Sunday afternoon.