The Southern Cross Ranch, located in Dallas in the Great Trinity Forest, is nearly 40 acres of fun! Your family can visit for the day, and enjoy unlimited rides on the zip line, Euro-bungee, pedal boats and swimming, petting zoo, rock climbing and much more!!
The ranch is open year round for weddings, family reunions, school field trips and corporate parties and picnics, but during the months of July and August they have opened their activity-filled facility to the public! Visitors can purchase an All Day Play Pass for unlimited fun on the ranch, or a combo pass with the Trinity Forest Adventure Park located next door, for even more fun!
Check out my 13 Mommy Tips for a fun and carefree daycation at Southern Cross Ranch!
1. Schedule Your Day
Before you go, check their schedule of events. Many activities are open all day, but some, like the rock wall, zip line and Euro bungee aren’t. Plan your day so you can make the most of EVERYTHING, with plenty of time in between activities to cool off in the pool!
Make a FULL day of it! Arrive when they open at 10am and stay until they close at 5pm. Lunch, at an additional fee, is served from 11:30 – 1:30.
You don’t need a reservation for the Summer All Day Play, but you should call to confirm their schedule, 214- 398-3400.
Double your fun with the Trinity Forest Adventure Park combo. You will need to reserve time with at the Trinity Forest Adventure Park. For more information on the Trinity Forest Adventure Park, click HERE.
Euro Bungee combines the thrill of bungee jumping and trampolines, while making it a much safer extreme activity in a more controlled environment!
The Euro Bungee was a HUGE hit with my kids! My husband and older kids were doing flips in the air, and my little Leo (6) was jumping 25 feet off the ground thanks to the bungees! The staff was great and let them jump as long as they wanted, so they were comfortable to do the flips. Thankfully, there wasn’t a long line, either! Since only 4 can jump at a time, I was able to relax at one of the picnic tables in the shade and watch them!
- Wear comfortable clothing, and longer shorts, because the harness fits tightly and you don’t want it rubbing against your skin.
3. Pedal Boats
The pond near the front of the ranch has 2 pedal boats and plenty of life jackets for everyone! Up to 4 people can ride in one boat, with 2 people pedaling, similar to a bike. It’s not a big pond, so there isn’t anything to explore, but it was fun to race the kids around the huge sprinkler in the middle, trying not to get too close to the spray (and trying to crowd them into it)!
- The life jackets are adjustable, and will fit just about any child, except an infant. Bring your own Coast Guard Approved Lifejacket if you are bringing an infant.
- My kids enjoyed the pedal boats so much that my son said he wants to try to make a cardboard pedal boat for next spring’s Cardboard Boat Regatta at Hurricane Harbor in Arlington! Not sure if it’s allowed, but I love that he was inspired!
4. Catch and Release Fishing
Southern Cross Ranch provides you with everything you need for taking the kids bank fishing in the pond, and since it is private property, you don’t even need a fishing license! Stocked with perch and catfish, they are easy to catch and the staff will even help you getting the lines ready!
- Fish watch their weight by skipping lunch. The best time to fish is morning and evenings.
- Catch and Release fishing requires a modified hook, one without a back barb on the end, so the fish can be unhooked and safely returned back to the water. All equipment is provided by Southern Cross.
- TakeMeFishing.org offers some wonderful tips for family fishing and fishing with kids. Click HERE to visit their website.
5. Zip Line
My kids and husband all loved the 280′ zip line! I skipped it because I wanted to take pictures, which all came out badly anyway. We were also doing the Trinity Forest Adventure Park next door, and I assumed that would be enough thrills for a chicken like me. Having NEVER zip lined before, I really wish I would have done the zip line at Southern Cross!!! It would have prepared me more for what to expect at Trinity Forest, probably helping with my fear, because … once I overcame my fear, I LOVED zip lining!!
6. Kid’s Korral
Remember, the Southern Cross Ranch is tucked back in the Great Trinity Forest, and there are trees EVERYWHERE! We visited on a HOT summer day, but my kids were still able to play and climb on the playground equipment, and jump in the bounce house without burning their feet or bottoms!
Keep the kids hydrated! They are having so much fun, it’s easy for them to forget to drink plenty of water! We brought our nylene water bottles, and most of the stations have cold water so that you can fill up your bottle.
7. Swimming Pool
Cool off between activities at the swimming pool! It’s a great place to set up your base camp for the day, where everyone checks in.
There are changing rooms/restrooms at the bathhouse.
Baby floats and arm floaties are allowed in the pool. The pool depth varies from 3′ to 5′.
The lifeguard is on duty from 11am – 5pm. The lifeguard that was working the day we visited was extremely nice, as was EVERY employee at Southern Cross! It’s so nice to visit a place where the employees don’t just answer your questions, but really strike up conversations with you!
8. Showdown Water Balloons
How can a water balloon fight not be a hit on a summer day? Each team gets a bucket full of balloons and start launching them at one another using a modified sling shot through holes in the roof of your “fort”. It’s really harder than it looks, and I think we were wetter from our own balloons than from the other teams, but all we really wanted was to get wet, anyway!
- You have to reach up to grab the sling shot, and my 6 year old was barely tall enough, younger kids may need a little help!
- Beware of some of the Southern Cross staff while they are holding water balloons, just sayin’.
9. Rock Climbing Wall
Yet another harness to put on, the rock climbing wall was lots of fun!
It was a little warm in the sun, so bring tennis shoes for climbing. If you are also doing the Trinity Forest Adventure Park, tight fitting, close toed shoes are required!
10. Petting Zoo
My kids love animals, and they were excited to visit the petting zoo! In addition to a couple of cute bunnies, they also have pot belly pigs, goats, sheep and a European Fallow Deer named Daisy. You are given a cup of feed to entice them to say hello, but it doesn’t take much enticing!
11. More Activities
It was nice not to have to worry about packing up the volleyball and other toys, because Southern Cross has everything except the book I was reading. I did bring my book, and enjoyed sitting back and reading a chapter while the kids played!
12. More Mommy Tips
- Southern Cross is open to the public Thur – Sunday from 10am – 5pm.
- Hurry, the last day they are open to the public is Labor Day!
- Bar-B-Q is smoked on site, smelled fantastic, and available for purchase from 11:30 – 1:30pm Thursday – Sunday, along with burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers.
- FREE parking under plenty of shade trees (Isn’t that nice to hear?).
- There is no entrance fee. Family members who aren’t participating in the ranch activities can attend without buying a wrist band!
- Children 3 and under are FREE.
- Changing tables are located in the inside restrooms.
Click HERE to visit the Southern Cross Ranch website.
A HUGE Having Fun THANK YOU to Southern Cross Ranch for inviting our family out for a day of fun!
13. Exploring the Area
Southern Cross Ranch is located off Dowdy Ferry Rd in the southern part of Dallas and the Great Trinity Forest, just east of the Trinity River. The road was named after a ferry that was once used to cross the river in the 1850’s. To read more about the history of the area, click HERE to visit one of my favorite blogs, Dallas Trinity Trails.
The Great Trinity Forest is 6,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods along the Trinity River running from downtown Dallas to just south of I-20. There are numerous trails in the area for hiking and biking, as well as paddling on the river.
Trinity Forest Aerial Adventure Park
The Trinity Forest Adventure Park is located next door to Southern Cross Ranch, and is so much more than just zip lining! For more information, click HERE. You can purchase a COMBO PASS for a full day of fun at Southern Cross Ranch, and a 3 hour pass to the Adventure Park!
To read about my adventure at Trinity Forest Aerial Adventure Park, and my Mommy Tips for your own visit, click HERE
The Trinity River Audubon Center is located a mere 3.56 miles away. It offers more hiking trails as well as an indoor interpretive center. Click HERE to read more about it.
At just 13 miles from Southern Cross Ranch, a visit to the John Bunker Sands Wetlands is always a treat. A walk along the boardwalk offers guest amazing view of the wetlands, and a chance to see many of their local wildlife residents, including a breeding pair of bald eagles. Click HERE to read more and check their calendar for operating days.
Southern Cross Ranch
1800 Dowdy Ferry Rd, Dallas
Click HERE to visit their website.
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