Downtown Dallas a new destination for spring breakers

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by TERESA WOODARD / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 7:47 AM

DALLAS -- They sat at a table in the sun, watching their children play in Klyde Warren Park.

Candace Freeman, Taleshau Gilstrap, and Sylvia Avery couldn't believe they were in Dallas -- downtown. And there was a crowd all around the park.

"Honestly, no," said Gilstrap with a laugh, "but it's awesome to see. And it makes me feel excited about what's to come."

The Dallas Zoo set a record for one-day attendance during spring break, with more than 13,000 visitors Thursday. Some Fort Worth Museums were nearly sold out.

Those spots being crowded is not headline-making news, but downtown Dallas coming alive is. It's turning into a true mix of business and pleasure.

"We actually started at the World Aquarium," Avery said. "Then we walked over here, took us 10 minutes to get here. The whole experience has been neat today."

In the last few years, Dallas grew its arts district, built museums, and turned concrete into green space. As crowds swarmed the arboretum, they also swelled in Dealey Plaza, and especially at Klyde Warren Park and the Perot Museum -- both of which are only a few months old. That's what brought families, like the Parkers from Mesquite, downtown for the first time ever.

"I mean, honestly, I've driven through downtown only," Bobby Parker said. "This was our first time at the park -- didn't know what to expect, but we'll come back."

The Perot is seeing crowds like it did during its debut weeks. They've decided to stay open extended hours, yet tickets are still selling out.

It seems as downtown is being reinvented, it's also being rediscovered.

"It was a little crowded, but it didn't stop me from having any fun!" said Bobby's nine-year-old excited son, Jonah.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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