The Plans of TCO Present

Depending on the publish time of this blog post, I’m either flying out to Dallas within 24 hours or I’m already there. I still have no idea where I’m staying before TCO, but I’ve put together a fairly solid list of places of interest around Dallas. Let me share a couple of ideas with you, in case you’ve been postponing planning your sightseeing until the very last possible moment, like I usually do 🙂

Disclaimer: Don’t expect to see any art museums on my list; and if you’re interested in what happened to Kennedy, you’re welcome to the Sixth Floor Museum but I’ll skip that one 🙂

Take a break from TCO
A lot of the finalists (as well as a certain Marathon Finals problem writer) are booked solid on one of the days, but are free to roam on the others. If you only have half a day, the Museum of American Railroad and the collocated National Videogames Museum are only about a 20-minute drive from the Mariott hotel.

Caturday morning
Let’s assume your plane doesn’t leave first thing on Saturday, and you have the time for a brief detour. In-Sync Exotics is a rescue and care organization for big cats, where you can meet tigers, lions and more exotic felines. On weekends they are open for self-guided tours of the facility; on other days of the week they require reservations for guided tours, but those have to be made a week in advance.

Dallas area
Dallas has a bunch of great places both for sunny and rainy weather – after my trip to Buffalo last year I fully appreciate the need to plan for both scenarios, and Monday’s forecast is not exactly optimistic.

Dallas World Aquaruim is an indoor aviary/aquarium combination, with multi-story exhibits on the wildlife of South America and Mexico.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science is another rainy day destination, featuring the usual range of cool exhibits and among them a fabulous-looking Gems and Minerals Hall.

Dallas Arboretum and Texas Discovery Gardens are two parks which look like they’d be gorgeous in spring, but I’m not entirely sure how they look in November. The second one features a butterfly house and a collection of snakes, so I’ll definitely give it a try.

Further afield
If you have several days to venture further west, the Fort Worth area has its own set of attractions.

Fort Worth Zoo is one of the top 5 zoos in the US, but has fairly weird rules regarding taking photos of their animals – this is the first zoo I’ve seen that prohibits even posting the photos on the Internet. My husband takes great interest in photography, so this is one place which we’ve pulled from our list.

Vintage Flying Museum is an exhibit of historic airplanes. Open for visitors Friday-Sunday, and Monday-Thursday by appointment only.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the place where half of the US currency is printed. Open for self-guided tours Tuesday-Friday, cameras prohibited.

Dallas area is also rumored to be a prime spot for birdwatching, but it’s extremely hard to recommend anything in this domain – I’ve had the most amazing bird encounters in city parks and completely uneventful trips to renowned birding spots, so one just has to take their chances.

See you at the TCO!