Fun indoor and outdoor place spaces abound just east of Dallas
Wherever we travel with our two children, we keep an eye out for good play spaces. Kids need chances to get their energy out. Plus, sometimes we parents need to coordinate our plans for the day, tend to some business or personal matters, or simply sit and catch our breath while the children romp. Fortunately, places where kids can play in Mesquite abound. Here are some of our favorite indoor or outdoor play spaces from our family vacation in the Rodeo Capital of Texas.
We want to thank the Mesquite Convention and Visitors Bureau for sponsoring our visit. Our opinions, however, are our own.
1. Indoor: Kids Empire
Travel days require a lot of sitting and being still, especially when flying. That’s why, after a big travel day, we focus our first full day in a destination with lots of movement opportunities for our energetic son and daughter, Connor and Aster.
Landing in Dallas on a warm late-summer evening, we arranged a ride into Mesquite, got settled into our suite at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott Dallas Mesquite, and rested up for the big days ahead.
The next morning after breakfast, we unleashed the children for a morning of big romping at Kids Empire. The netted, enclosed play structures gave both kids chances to climb, build, maneuver through obstacle-laden passages, and catch some air on the tall, steep purple slide.
Whether stacking oversize LEGO-style bricks into towers and castle walls, or going up and down the webbing that reminded the kids of scaffolding in Minecraft, Kids Empire gave them exactly the start to the trip we were hoping for: Lots of ways to play, use their imaginations, and move their bodies. And for the kids, they got to do something they loved. Sure, they enjoyed all the climbing, dashing, and romping. But they got a special kick out of seeing their dad’s face after they convinced him to go down the long, fast, steep slides with them.
The play area has ample visibility from the separate seating area, where parents and kids can also enjoy snacks from the snack bar. While the kids romped, we parents took the time to go over our plans for the next few days, and be happy that our new family trip was off to such a good start.
2. Outdoor: KidsQuest at Debusk Park
On a Saturday evening in Mesquite, KidsQuest at Debusk Park was THE place to be. Whether at a birthday party in a nearby shelter or at the ADA-accessible playground space, over a hundred adults and kids were out enjoying this beloved community centerpiece.
Built in 1994, the original KidsQuest was an all-timber romp-o-rama that served the community for 25 years. When it came time to replace it, families came together to discuss priorities: melding into the site’s natural space, equipment accessibility, and making good use of large, established shade trees. The newly constructed KidsQuest officially opened in 2019. Some of the original structure was repurposed into a colorful timber wall that tips a hat to the park’s first iteration.
From the bridge inside a climbing web to the expansive towers, bridges, and slides, kids of all ages made the most of every inch of KidsQuest. Zones helped older and younger children gravitate to what suited them best: swings, big instruments, tall slides, or just dashing up and down the curved slope that separated the playground’s upper and lower grounds.
At KidsQuest, the sun dipped low and fearless children enjoyed an evening in the fresh air. Musical tones rang out, both from the nearby instrument zone, and from an ice cream truck that had stopped at the edge of the playground. An excited yet wholesome feeling lay over the park like Texas bluebonnets in spring. When it comes to where kids can play in Mesquite, KidsQuest felt safe, fun, and at the heart of the community.
3. Indoor & Outdoor: Celebration Station
So far in Mesquite, we had found incredible outdoor spaces and fun indoor activities. However, it’s always nice when you can go to one place that offers both. Celebration Station gave us so many options, all in a fun space where the music kept the excitement in the air.
Downstairs, we roamed around different video games, from races to a giant piano that gave Jodie and Aster lots of giggles while they played it together. At the air hockey table upstairs, Aster gave Anthony a run for his puck. Also upstairs? LaserTag. In two matches of kids versus grownups, the children managed a victory on the first round. But in the second bout, we parents overhauled our strategy and trounced those little munchkins.
Celebration Station offers so many activities that we could do as a family. Yet when we needed some downtime, we could also head over to the cafe’s seating area and relax.
Outside spaces give active families even more options, such as a batting cage and miniature golf. For us, the go-karts ruled the day. We zipped around the track. Connor worked on his first time behind the wheel in a solo cart, and joked that he felt like he could start driving a car anytime now. Anthony drove Aster around, swerving through turns and along straightaways to keep her giggling as she held on for dear life in her crazy dad taxi.
4. Outdoor: Samuell Farm (South) Park
Proximity to Highway US-80 makes it easy to get to Samuell Farm (South) Park, where the 600-acre expanse is full of green grass, trees, and ponds. Once you set foot inside the park though, you’ll feel like you’re far away from the city. In what feels like a calm space in the middle of the Texas prairie, you can let the kids run far and still be able to keep an eye on them.
On the morning of our visit, we beelined for a small playground structure near the park’s iconic red barn. And it turns out we weren’t alone: A homeschool group of multiple families was also there. Along with free play on the equipment and guided walks around the green space and pond, one of the moms there told us that they live in a nearby county, but love coming into Mesquite for their homeschool activities because of how much there is to do.
While we focused our visit in the southern part of the park (including a stop for some photos of the huge old tractor at the entrance), the northern part of Samuell Farm Park also offers a hiking and biking trail.
Tip: Sadly, we weren’t in Mesquite for bluebonnet season. However, we learned that during the April and May timeframe for seeing bluebonnets in bloom, Samuell Farm is an ideal spot to see the Texas State Flower, especially the north side of the park.
5. Indoor: Urban Air Adventure Park
As our time in Mesquite drew to a close, we had another long travel day coming up. So we decided to end our trip as we began it: With a big romp at an indoor play space, the night before a day on planes. Where kids can play in mesquite extends to the great indoors too.
Inside Urban Air Adventure Park, the kids began their adventures leaping and bouncing in the Wipeout, then clambered around the Indoor Playground Tubes. Bopping along the APEX Trampolines, the kids decided they would save the Ropes Course and Climbing Walls for another day. They found their adventure sweet spot inside the Warrior Course. Tackling balance, swinging, and timing obstacles, Connor and Aster giggled when they fell into the pit of clear balls that looked like bath bubbles. When they made it across, they grinned and made their way right back to the beginning to try another of the three course options.
As we watched our son take on contender after contender on the Battle Beam, we parents sat at the nearby cafe tables. We checked arrangements for tomorrow’s travels, went over a few last details for the evening, and made dinner plans, just what we needed after a big week full of both downtime and family adventures in Mesquite.
Mesquite, Texas hotels and motels: Where to stay close to Dallas
Mesquite is just a little east of Dallas. Since you’re close to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Mesquite can be an easy and affordable place to stay, where you can both enjoy attractions in Mesquite as well as Dallas itself. For another trip to Mesquite, here are places we would would consider staying, as well as others that might catch your eye:
BONUS! 3 More outdoor activity options for families in Mesquite
The options above can give pretty much any family good places where kids can play in Mesquite. However, here are 3 other bonus outdoor spaces and activities that it’s good to know about:
While this green space offers a 9-hole disc golf course, picnic tables, and sports fields, if you’re visiting Mesquite in April or October, you’ll want to come to Paschall Park for a little something else. The park is also home to a Butterfly Trail, where visitors can observe not only native plants, but monarch butterflies on their annual spring and fall migrations.
The preserved grounds and restored structures of this 1874 prairie settlement today provide ample opportunity for fresh air and a glimpse into what life was like for American settlers in this part of Texas. In addition to the house, visitors can get a peek inside buildings such as the original 1840s cabin (always great for giving the kids perspective when they think their room is too small), wash house (check out the collection of hand tools), barn, and brick-lined root cellar.
Visiting in late summer like we did? Be sure to check Mesquite’s events calendar for a chance to romp outside AND scare yourselves silly.
When we visited, we couldn’t pass up to chance to be part of the Guts and Gory Zombie Run and Challenge. Over a wooded path in Rorie-Galloway Day Camp, families can run or walk a 1.5-mile course dotted with timed challenges, puzzles, and, of course, zombies leaping out at you. Even better? You can either brave the course, like Anthony and Aster did, or become zombies, like Jodie and Connor.
Places where kids can play in Mesquite give parents and children more fun on their Texas family vacation
Family vacations combine new experiences, romping adventures, and a bit of downtime so everyone can stay in (or settle back into) a good mood. When we pick a place to travel, we always look for indoor and outdoor spaces that help us include a good mix of activities, rest, and fresh air in our recreation days.
Fortunately, there are so many places where kids can play in Mesquite—and more importantly, so many places where we busy parents could also relax and catch our breath. The indoor and outdoor spaces above helped us break up our days, give the kids lots of good play options, and get the most out of our time getting to know a beautiful part of Texas that is close to Dallas but a world all its own.