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Grapevine, Texas, located near Dallas/Fort Worth, is home to several exciting attractions, including Great Wolf Lodge, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and SEALIFE Aquarium. Designated the official Christmas Capital of Texas, this small town is also an amazing vacation destination for the holidays. If you’re on the lookout for a fun Texas getaway, there is a wide range of family-friendly things to do in Grapevine!
Grapevine, a cozy community located a stone’s throw from the DFW Airport, prides itself on being a small Texas town that is big on charm. Always fun to visit, Grapevine really comes to life over the holidays, when the official Christmas Capital of Texas pulls out all the stops. For an amazing winter vacation, make plans to visit in December. Here are just a handful of reasons why we love Grapevine.
9 Fun Things to do in Grapevine, Texas
1. SEALIFE Aquarium
First of all, make plans to enjoy Grapevine’s small aquarium. Located in Grapevine Mills Mall, SEALIFE Aquarium is an intimate labyrinth of sea creature encounters. The average visit lasts a little more than an hour, but in that time children will delight in seeing aquatic life from all angles. They can look down through glass floors, peek up through kid-size bubbles in the tanks, and walk through a 360-degree glass tunnel. There’s also Sharkwalk, a kiddie cave crawlspace, and a small indoor playground to keep active children entertained. Finally, kids will love the open tank where they can touch starfish and allow sea urchins to nibble on their fingers.
2. LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Also located in Grapevine Mills, LEGOLAND Discovery Center is not huge, but it is jam-packed with pint-sized fun. Guests begin their visit with a LEGO Factory Tour, where kids hear a fanciful story of how LEGO bricks are made. From there, they hop aboard a chariot and help the Good King battle Evil Skeletons and Giant Trolls by shooting lasers from toy guns. Then, following the ride, visitors can choose where to spend their time. There are 4-D movies, a pedal-powered flying ride, a Duplo Village, a play area which includes a soft LEGO version of a ball pit, and endless brick-building opportunities. The average LEGOLAND visit lasts two-and-a-half hours.
3. Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge is best known for its 84,000 square-foot indoor waterpark, with nine huge waterslides, six pools, a lazy river and a giant water fort. In summer, the full-service family resort provides a respite from the Texas heat. But winter provides a cool treat too, as the resort transforms into Snowland. Snow machines run three times daily, filling the air with fluffy white flakes. Children are invited to visit Cub Club to write a letter to Santa, and to attend North Pole University, where they will train to be Santa’s helpers. The jolly man himself visits the resort on weekends in early December, and daily once the kids are out of school.
4. Gaylord Texan
In addition, Gaylord Texan Resort offers seemingly endless holiday events for families to enjoy, from Cookies & Milk with Mrs. Claus to an The Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt. For the more adventurous, there is an outdoor ice skating rink, indoor snow tubing, and a bone-chilling 9-degree ICE! attraction that is an awe-inspiring experience. Bundle up in a Gaylord-provided parka and walk-through ice sculptures that tell the story of a young Santa Claus, stopping to play on ice slides along the way. In summer, families will enjoy the 10-acre waterpark, Paradise Springs.
5. Christmas Capital of Texas
Grapevine, the Christmas Capital of Texas, plans 1,400 holiday events each year, many of which are free! Don’t miss the annual Parade of Lights down Main Street and the 20-minute Magic of Christmas Light Show. Be sure to check the schedule and plan your visit so you can pack it full of holiday fun!
6. Downtown Grapevine
Grapevine’s Main Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a visit here will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Families can take advantage of rustic photo opportunities, while enjoying the many lights, decorations, and quirky surprises around every corner. Be sure to seek out the caroling snowmen and Captain Christmas, an animatronic singing reindeer!
7. North Pole Express
No visit to the Christmas Capital of Texas would be complete without seeing the real, live Santa Claus. Hop aboard Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s North Pole Express, which departs from Main Street. On your hour-long journey, you will enjoy caroling in Victorian rail coaches and visiting with Mrs. Claus, who presents each passenger with a silver bell necklace. After exiting the train, guests walk through snow flurries to a musical show where a cast of elves introduce Santa. Tickets for this delightful event go on sale in July and sell out, so be sure to plan ahead for this one!
8. Extreme Glassblowing
VETRO Glassblowing Studio & Gallery is a state-of-the-art facility where guests can give glassblowing a try. Extreme Glassblowing allows guests age 13 and up to work with 2,100-degree material in a 2,400-degree furnace. If you would appreciate a less intense experience, you can stop by the studio and watch live demonstrations by the experts. It is fascinating to learn about color formulas and techniques from nationally recognized glass artists.
9. Free Museums in Grapevine
Finally, while in Historic Downtown Grapevine, be sure to visit the free Settlement to City Museums that are tucked away behind the Grapevine Visitor Information Center on Main Street. Learn about Grapevine through the ages, from the 1800s on, as you tour lovingly restored historic buildings, including a two-room schoolhouse. Then, stick around to enjoy stories, make a Victorian Christmas ornament, or print a holiday card on an antique printing press.
Plan Your Visit to Grapevine
You might also enjoy reading 5 Reasons to Spend a Long Weekend in Grapevine, Texas.
To get started planning your own adventure in the Christmas Capital of Texas, visit the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau website and follow Visit Grapevine on Facebook.