grapevine6On a recent family trip to the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, we stumbled upon a gem, off the beaten path and worth some extra time and exploration. While Texas is one of our family’s favorite states to visit for a multitude of reasons including fabulous hospitality and excellent food, this little destination was remarkable for these reasons and much more.

First off Grapevine is a convenient diversion from DFW Airport, particularly if you have a long layover and want to spend a few hours enjoying its many facets. There are convenient Grapevine shuttles from the airport that will take you on tours of Grapevine and to major attractions in the area.

grapevine4Once in Grapevine you will fall in love with this little arts and culture rich community with lots of family fun to boot.

Grapevine is the Christmas Capital of Texas with a rich heritage and its Main Street is so quaint it is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An agricultural hub as well, Grapevine is also home to the Texas Wine Industry with plenty of opportunities for moms and dads to do some tasting.

While in Grapevine we enjoyed a visit to the Vetro Glassblowing Studio where the kids, under the direction of local artisans, got to actually make their own gorgeous glass blown Christmas ornaments. This amazing marriage of fire and glass was educational, hands-on, and captivating.

Another highlight with the kids was a visit to the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium. We were impressed with this spectacular two-story attraction. All ages loved the tropical ocean tank with walk through underwater tunnel. Both oceanic and Native Texan creatures were on exhibit and it was a top notch and high quality aquarium through and through.

Grapevine’s 127 foot clock tower, affectionately called the Grapevine Glockenspiel, offers an amusing and twice daily historical heist to entertain all ages on Main Street. This is a great opportunity for kids to learn local lore and that crime doesn’t pay.

grapevine5Next to the Glockenspiel is the Grapevine Vintage Railroad that runs most weekends on a 22 mile route to the Fort Worth Stockyards. If time allows, do plan on this interesting excursion or take in a special themed ride like the Jazz Wine Train or North Pole Express.

Should your visit include an overnight stay, Grapevine has options that run the gamut from Indoor Water Park accommodations like the Great Wolf Lodge to high-end luxury accommodations such as the Gaylord Texan. The Gaylord Texan is a spectacular Resort and Convention Center so grand and magnificent that it is almost impossible to capture its grandeur in a wordy description. An atrium style hotel of immense proportions, this exquisite property houses numerous restaurants, gift shops, and activity venues for every age and interest. A spa and salon are also on property and throughout the year the Texas Gaylord hosts world renown events like ICE where two millions pounds of ice create an interactive world of ice sculpture.

The Great Wolf Lodge with its 84 degree warm massive indoor water park, arcade, Holly Wood XD motion movie theater, restaurants, Kid Spa, activities, Cub Club, Creation Station and more, is the perfect, one-stop, family destination. Rooms and suites are beautiful yet rustic themed to enthrall little guests yet they all offer the amenities, conveniences and comfort that parents appreciate.

On your next long layover, or trip to the Dallas area, plan a few hours to a few days in Grapevine for a fabulous family getaway.

www.grapevinetexasusa.com

Carmel L. Mooney is the editor of Roadtripsforcouples.com, an online travel magazine. Carmels been on local talk radio for 17 years and now co-hosts THE GOOD LIFE with Mike the Wine Guy on KMYC 1410AM. Her family travel column can be read in California Kids Magazine at: Valcomnews.com You can follow her on Twitter: @CarmelLeeMooney or Facebook. Carmel is also the Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit that trains and places Autism Service Dogs.