Fair Park: Dallas, Texas

Article by Dawn Morton
Photography by George Hosek

In an area truly proud of its heritage, Dallas’s Fair Park epitomizes historic prestige and loyalty to the Lone Star State.

Located near downtown off of Interstate 30, Fair Park comprises 277 acres of history, art and must-see architecture. Within its grounds are music halls, museums and the site of the largest state fair in the United States.

A walk through this Art Deco treasure yields history, charm and recreations of artistic works dating back to1886.

Built in the middle of a cotton field, Fair Park was completely renovated in 1936 to host the Texas Centennial Exposition beating out Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth for the honor.

With the 1936 construction, Fair Park became home to the largest Art Deco collection in the United States, and a discussion of Dallas art would not be complete without a mention of historic Fair Park and its Art Deco design.


Drive through the Parry Avenue Entrance, the original entrance constructed in 1886, and you immediately are taken back to the world of cattle barrens, ranchers and figures who made Texas the state it is today.

Intricately designed columns depict notable scenes in Texas history while murals outline advances in technology, show the lives of famed Texans and create a sense of warmth and nobility in the hot Texas sun.

With the creation of the Hall of State, Texas became the first ever site of an air-conditioned World’s Fair. The colossal, golden Tejas Warrior sculpture guarding the entrance is a must-see as well as a classic photo opportunity.

Within its walls, the Hall of State melds marble, gold and Texas memorabilia into one unique attraction and event space.

Admission is free to Fair Park’s African-American Museum and its extensive collection of African-American history and art. The museum houses the largest collection of African-American folk art in the United States today. Its approach to history incorporates an array of historical documents, art and photography all exploring African-American life throughout the United States, the Southwest and in Dallas itself.

The Museum of the American Railroad, formerly The Age of Steam Railroad Museum, is home to the world’s largest steam locomotive, “Big Boy,” locomotives and railroad memorabilia along with the area’s oldest depot.

The Smithsonian affiliate, The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future, is the only comprehensive women’s museum in the United States. Within its doors, the museum embraces the American woman and her contributions to the world with interactive exhibits, art and stories from remarkable women.

Music enthusiasts will not want to miss the stimulating orchestral performances and Broadway touring shows offered at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Or, catch concert events ranging from rock to country to reunion tours at the outdoor Gexa Energy Pavilion. This 20,000-seat concert arena regularly hosts musical performances.


The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park opened its doors to visitors in 1936 and is still located in its original Art Deco structure. Authentic aquatic habitats and mysterious animals of the deep are the focal point for this extension of the Dallas Zoo.

For a taste of the outdoors, explore the beauty of the Texas Discovery Gardens. A Certified Butterfly Garden, The Scent Garden dating back to 1956, and The Tropical Conservatory are only a few of this properties many gardens and alcoves.


Science Place and the Dallas Museum of Natural History merged in 2006 to form the Museum of Nature and Science offering Dallas 1.7 billion years of global history. Not only are the buildings on the National Registry of Historic Places but the museum is also a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate Museum.

One lone event stands out forging Fair Park to the forefront of must-see Texas sites. As tall as a Texas tale, Big Tex greets visitors from mid-September through mid-October at The State Fair of Texas.

This 52-foot-tall cowboy has greeted fair-goers since 1952. The iconic Texas Star, measured the tallest Ferris wheel in North America, circles its course as the scents of funnel cakes and kettle corn fill the air.

There is so much to see at Fair Park, take a few days and fully experience everything the park has to offer. To make your trip hassle free, buy a Fair Park Passport. The passport allows one-time entry to all eight of Fair Park’s museums at a discounted price.

Passport buyers have 90 days to visit each museum. To learn more about the Fair Park Passport and the museums involved, visit Fair Park, also see Texas State Fair






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