Our Mother/Daughter Trip to Dallas – Day 1

Heading out on our Mother/Daughter Road Trip to Dallas, TXMy time with Kgirl is slipping away.

She’s growing up.

Well on her way to adulthood. She’s already taller than me, can completely run this household, and has more marketable skills than the average high school graduate.

She’s my baby girl, my oldest.

But in only a year or so she’ll be off experiencing the world on her own terms.

So when I learned that I could take one child with me to the Family Travel Conference in Dallas, TX this year, I immediately offered the opportunity to Kgirl. It was a rare chance for her and I to take a weekend away together – even if it was a working weekend.

Travel is something Kgirl and I share in common – we love to travel, see new places, experience the world first hand. Travel is one thing that I continue to encourage her to do as a young adult. So, heading off for a weekend, to explore Dallas, and attend the Family Travel Conference – perfect!

In the days before we left, we talked expectations, wardrobe, shoes (of course!), and audio books. Kgirl took care of finding us the right listening materials for our 4.5 hours drive to Dallas. She chose Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest the first book in a series we had not yet read from Nancy Springer, an author we both enjoy. A great choice.

The drive from Houston to Dallas is fairly easy – it’s a straight shot up I-45. Our host hotel, the OMNI Dallas was easy to find, located in downtown Dallas, right next to the Dallas Convention Center. In fact, it’s so close, there’s a sky way from the OMNI to the convention center.

The first thing you see when you walk into the OMNI Dallas from the parking garage is Collections, the beautiful gift shop within the OMNI. This is no ordinary hotel gift shop – all they carry is art, books, and gifts made from local artists, authors, and craftspeople. Had we not needed to check in, I would have lost Kgirl to the gift shop for the entire afternoon :)

Collections, gift shop in the OMNI Dallas

But I did lose her on the way to the front desk to the amazing art hung all over the OMNI Dallas.

Sculpture handing in the lobby of the OMNI Dallas

Apparently a year and a half before the hotel opened, they commissioned local Dallas artists to craft every piece of art in the hotel. Every room has at least 6 pieces of unique, local art and the public areas all are decorated in beautiful local art work as well. Kgirl was in heaven – it was like living in an inviting art gallery for the weekend. :)

After we checked in and head up to the rooms, Kgirl collapsed before exploring the room a bit more. The TV in the bathroom mirror was a huge hit! But the comfy bed and huge floor-to-ceiling windows with the amazing Dallas view were her absolute favorite.

OMNI Dallas hotel room

The first afternoon sessions were for adults only. So Kgirl hung out in the hotel room and explored the Omni Dallas a little, before getting ready for dinner.

Dinner was a signature event at the Dallas Zoo. Since there is a DART station just a short walk from the OMNI Dallas that takes us directly to the Dallas Zoo station, we all rode the DART train over to the Zoo. This worked out perfectly for us, cuz we’ve had “learning to use public transportation” on our “must learn skills” list for a while.

Taking the DART train to the Dallas Zoo

At the Dallas Zoo, we were treated to a progressive Signature Event. First up was hors d’oeuvres and cocktails with Sid the Penguin, a african turtle, and an Owl. Then up to the African Savanna’s Lion exhibit for a talk with the Lion Keepers.

Kgirl’s favorite was hand-feeding the giraffes. Unfortunately it was too dark to get any good pictures, but if you are ever at the Dallas Zoo, I highly recommend the experience. The giraffes come right up to the feeding area so you are literally face to face with the giraffes and can actually reach out and touch them while you are feeding them. Amazing.

For dinner, we headed to the Simmons Safari Base Camp for dinner. While we dined, the five African elephants grazed near us under the night time sky. After dinner the Executive Chef treated the kids to homemade push-up pops that they made themselves from yogurt, granola, and berries. Lots of fun and a relaxing evening under the stars with great company and the elephants.

During dinner, Kgirl and I chatted with Liliane Opsomer, the author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids, learning about what it’s like to write a book about Disney World, and the writing process in general. Liliane was generous in her encouragment for Kgirl’s own writing projects, and provided Kgirl with a glimpse of the life of a writer. Priceless.

Since our pictures at the Dallas Zoo didn’t quite turn out the way we’d like, I’ll leave you for now with the one that did. I took this one just as we came into the Zoo. There’s just something magical about a zoo at night time – like a fairy world, with all kinds of possibilities.

Dallas Zoo Carousel at Night

Many thanks to the Family Travel Conference organizers -TravelingMom.com, FamilyTravelForum.com, TakingtheKids.com, and Travel Media Showcase – and our sponsors on this first day: Omni Hotels, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), and the Dallas Zoo. It was a memorable first day!


Coming up Next … Day 2 – Our visit with some very special Disney guests and our trip to the tallest indoor Christmas tree in the US

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