Explore a not-so-secret garden
DO THIS: Follow the yellow brick road through this year’s Wizard of Oz-themed pumpkin patch at the Dallas Arboretum (through Nov. 22; adults $15), or stroll around the 12 Days of Christmas animated displays (starting Nov. 4; lighted night showings begin in December).
THEN DO THIS: Cross the street to Smoky Rose to warm up with brisket, Bulleit bevies, and heaters on the expansive covered patio.
Fulfill guppyhood fantasies
DO THIS: For $60 each, up to a dozen merfolk get two hours of mono-fin swim time with plenty of photo ops during a Mermaid Ladies Night at Adventure Scuba & Snorkeling Center. Mermaid tail is provided, but BYOSB (bring your own seashell bikini).
THEN DO THIS: Wade over to Legacy West where the buzzy Sugarfina boutique stocks box upon box of alcohol-infused gummies.
Take gaming seriously
DO THIS: School the fam on five decades of gaming spanning from Atari to PlayStation4 at the National Videogame Museum (adults $12), where history lessons come in the form of a 15-foot Pong console and a neon-filled ’80s arcade. Guided tours available Sundays.
THEN DO THIS: Geek out with Mario Kart and dinner at @nerdvana.food+spirits, or sip locally roasted Joe over a game of Catan at the coffee shop next door.
Try a twist on tennis
DO THIS: All generations can play Pickleball at Fretz Tennis Center. The cross between Ping-Pong and badminton is simple to play, even for those with short legs or weak knees. Lessons are available Thursday evenings 7–9 pm or by appointment for $15 a lesson.
THEN DO THIS: Sample pickled everything—pickle-brined chicken, pickled jalapeño pimento cheese, the list goes on—at Whistle Britches.
Learn rocket science
DO THIS: Working a robotic arm and touring a rotating research lab are cool, but astronaut life gets real when you check out the space food and sit on a space potty—all of which you can do in the Journey to Space exhibition (adults $30) at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
THEN DO THIS: Keep the science vibe alive and have misting liquid nitrogen margaritas made tableside at Stampede 66.
Unlock a mystery
DO THIS: At Red Door Escape Room, participants solve puzzles and search for hidden clues in a timed quest to find their way off an alien spacecraft or locate a missing colleague in ancient ruins, the latter of which can accommodate groups of up to a dozen ($28 per person).
THEN DO THIS: Choose your own adventure at Legacy Hall, a new complex with 30 food and drink stalls, including a three-story beer garden.
Combat with bows
DO THIS: Channel Katniss Everdeen and shoot foam-tipped arrows to take out the opposing team during a round of archery tag at Cinnamon Creek Ranch ($300 for 10 people for 11/2 hours). Bonus: you’ll walk away unbruised, unlike paintball battles.
THEN DO THIS: Hunger games are rewarded with fried chicken and fixin’s served family-style at the original Babe’s Chicken Dinner House.
Groom with the guys
DO THIS: The entire entourage gets hot towel service with haircuts, straight razor shaves, and beard trims during an after-hours pampering party at Deep Ellum’s Blade Craft Barber Academy ($45 per service). The experience is complete with a complimentary liquor cart and cigars. Book in advance.
THEN DO THIS: Show off the new you at the ruggedly handsome mezcaleria Las Almas Rotas and order a flight of the trending agave liquor.
Sing outside the shower
DO THIS: Reenact your favorite ’N Sync music videos in the privacy of your own room at Family Karaoke. With sizes ranging from cozy five-person spaces ($23 per hour) to a lounge that fits up to 45 ($86 per hour), you can decide how big you want your singing debut to be.
THEN DO THIS: Keep the party going at Gen Korean BBQ, where the whole gang can cook unlimited plates of meat on the table’s gas grill.