Like many towns throughout the mid- and southwest, Frisco, Texas, was established thanks to the railroad. The St. Louis-San Francisco Railway followed along what was once the Shawnee Trail, a central hub for cattle drives traveling between Austin and the Red River. Today, Frisco has expanded beyond its agricultural roots to a bustling metropolis on the north end of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, making it a perfect destination for a quick trip packed with family fun, no long car rides required!
KidZania is not a typical children’s play space or museum. Instead, this unique attraction puts kids in charge of an immersive pint-size city, amplifying the common question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” into hours of fun. Families arrive at the KidZania “airport” to begin their journey, complete with airport security. Once inside, kids can explore dozens of careers in industries such as aviation, dentistry, podcasting, optometry and more. They can put out fires, care for pets, star in a TV news broadcast, act in plays, design robots and perform surgery.
KidZania takes role-play to the extreme. For example, kids can act out all the parts of an emergency situation, working as police officers and fire fighters to secure the scene while news crews report to the community. With the help of Zupervisors, or staff members in this world where everything begins with a Z, kids can ride on mini fire trucks, tour buses and ambulances.
Kids (and parents, too!) can even cut their own French fries, make their own milkshakes and prep their own pizzas, just like a real chef in a restaurant kitchen. (These food experiences do require an additional purchase.) As they complete each of these experiences, kids earn kidZos that can be spent on additional experiences or in a kids-only store. They can also make a deposit at the KidZania bank to save for a future visit.
KidZania encourages independence with most activities for kids only, which means parents can sit back and watch as kids explore. Parent hangouts are located throughout, including in the city center where you’re likely to spot window washers and delivery couriers hard at work. Because there is so much happening in the 80,000-square-foot play space, kids are given trackable security bracelets so you always know your child’s location.
You’ll want to dedicate several hours at KidZania because each experience takes 20 to 30 minutes. Most kids can complete six activities in a 4-hour visit. Activities are mostly geared for kids ages 4 to 14 but there is a toddler-sized neighborhood with activities specifically for kids under 5.
The Frisco location, in the Stonebriar Centre, is the first to open in the United States. There are 27 other locations around the world with three more opening soon in America, in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Creators say the concept was established to help kids develop citizenship, social awareness, financial literacy, problem solving, communication and teamwork skills through play. All-day city passes are $39.95 for kids ages 6 to 14, $14.95 for kids ages 4 to 5 and adults and teens 15 and up are $14.94. To learn more, visit usa.kidzania.com.
Sports City USA
Frisco proudly considers itself Sports City USA, home to a multitude of sporting events and destinations, from amateur to professional, ice hockey to lacrosse and everything in between. Frisco is home to the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars, FC Dallas, the NBA G-league Texas Legends and the MiLB Double-A Frisco RoughRiders.
The Star is a hub of activity for football enthusiasts, especially fans of the Dallas Cowboys. The 91-acre complex acts as headquarters for the team, a practice facility and a stadium for area high schools, thanks to a unique partnership between the Dallas Cowboys, the city of Frisco and local schools. The Ford Center, a two-level replica of AT&T Stadium, hosts concerts, boxing matches, major league lacrosse games and football and soccer games, as well as academic, fine arts and entertainment events for the 10 high schools in the district. Visitors can tour the complex, where they will also enjoy a collection of memorabilia from Super Bowl championships. Tour tickets are $27.50 for kids and $32.50 for adults.
The Star District is a popular destination surrounding the complex, with restaurants and shops centered around Tostitos Championship Plaza, a 50-yard replica turf field. The district offers upscale dining and family-friendly options like Nerdvana, Wahlburgers and the Cow Tipping Creamery.
Inspire your budding striker or goaltender with a stop at the National Soccer Hall of Fame. The sporting museum offers families an interactive journey through the best of the sport. Visitors can construct their own national team, test their skills with interactive challenges and envision themselves in iconic photos from U.S. soccer history. Located at the south end of Toyota Stadium, the Hall of Fame is a popular pre-game stop for those taking in an FC Dallas game. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday with special hours on game days; tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for kids 12 and under.
The Frisco RoughRidgers, the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Texas Rangers, offer fans an unexpected way to view a game, floating on the Choctaw Lazy River behind right field at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark. The 174-foot river, the largest water feature at a professional sporting venue, meanders around a figure-eight path providing open views of the action on the field. The stadium also has playgrounds on the left field side to keep kids entertained.
Though typically reserved for groups, Sundays are family days on the river. Fans of all ages can float and dine on all-you can-eat hot dogs, brats, chips, peanuts and Dr. Pepper products. Tickets are $29 in the spring and $39 during summer games.
Frisco Discovery Center
Rather than trekking around town, families can engage a variety of interests in one location, making exploration easy. The Frisco Discovery Center houses the National Videogame Museum, Sci-Tech Discovery Center and TrainTopia.
The National Videogame Museum meticulously chronicles the evolution of video games, with every videogame system ever made on display. Travel all the way back to the earliest tech and follow along as you play many of the most popular and some lesser-known games from each decade. You’ll see the rise and fall of makers and systems as you explore the failures and successes of the industry. The nostalgia of this unique museum connects kids of yesteryear and those of today.
Science and technology is at the forefront of the Sci-Tech Discovery Center. This compact museum lets kids explore science concepts like motion, force, biology and sound through hands-on exhibits. Families can incorporate learning with play as they explore everything from wind power to gross and mysterious science.
TrainTopia features a detailed G-scale model train layout representing sights from the American southwest. Visitors can view rock formations from the Four Corners region, Colorado saw mills and an animated downtown Dallas street scene. A self-guided scavenger hunt helps kids locate unexpected features, including a few hidden Antman figures.
Admission is required for each venue; however, a $25 museum pass includes admission to five Frisco museums. The pass is good for one year after purchase date.
Other notable Frisco destinations
- Canyons Rock Climbing Gym
- Kartland Performance Indoor Raceway
- brickLAB, Inc
- Dash’s Track Disc Golf
- Ninja Nation
- PLAYlive Nation
- The Rail District