Best Kids Attraction (2004)
Dallas World Aquarium
Dallas World Aquarium is a genuine tourist attraction, but not in a tacky way. It justifiably draws visitors for its re-creation of a rain forest environment and its dazzling array of aquariums, including a shark exhibit you can walk through via a glass-walled tunnel. It's more about spectacle than education, though the learning is there if you want it. The aquarium features many things you won't see anywhere else in the area, such as the "Leafy seadragons," a relative of the seahorse from southern Australia that looks like a rippling, fluttering oak leaf. There's also an outdoor penguin exhibit, a sea otter pool and salmon-pink flamingos. Kids will love the narrow, twisting fake-rock passageways that lead from one display to another--you really feel like you're in another world--and the educational function of the aquarium is never obtrusive.