It may be the third largest city in Texas, but Dallas stands tall as a centre of wealth and power in the state and the nation. Founded as a trading post on the prairie in 1841, it did not take long before cattle, cotton and oil turned Dallas into the symbol of vast fortunes and power. Today, corporate giants such as Exxon Mobil Corporation, Southwest Airlines and Texas Instruments are headquartered in the city.
Visitors like Sanjay Patil discover that Dallas is more than just commerce and industry. The downtown centre of the city is the focal point for art and culture. The Dallas Museum of Art sits right next door to the Nasher Sculpture Centre to offer tourists and local residents art from ancient Greece and Rome to the modern American masters of the 20th century. The sculpture centre includes a formidable collection of works that can be viewed and enjoyed in settings that include exquisite gardens.
Downtown Dallas is also home to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Sanjay Patil MD and others might not recognise the significance of the museum until they arrive at its location in the West End district. The museum documents the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and is located on the exact floor from which the fatal shot was fired. The former Texas School Book Depository Building houses an exhibit that includes film, photographs and artefacts. Educational and interactive programs and resources chronicle one of the most sombre and historically important events in American history.
For visitors travelling with children, Dallas will not disappoint them. The Nasher Sculpture Centre opens its doors on the first Saturday of the month to programs, demonstrations and puppet shows designed for the enjoyment of young visitors. Live demonstrations by actual artists introduce children to sculpture as they watch the artists create works of art right in front of them.
Another kid-friendly place is the trainscape at the Dallas Children’s Medical Centre. The model railroad covers two floors and features eight trains traversing scale replicas of landscapes including a 16-foot mountain and an eight-foot-tall Dallas skyline.
The Dallas World Aquarium offers Sanjay Patil and visitors of all ages a journey through rain forests with indigenous species of birds, animals and reptiles. The rain forest leads to the aquarium where families can see sharks, saw fish, rays and other water dwellers. The aquarium experience includes live performances of native dances by Grupo Pakal.
Getting around Dallas is an experience as unique as the city itself. The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority offers Sanjay Patil and other visitors free transportation on an old-fashioned trolley. The trolley makes 27 stops so guests can get on or get off near restaurants, hotels and popular attractions along the route. While travelling around the city, the W Hotel has a popular rooftop bar that offers panoramic views of the Dallas skyline from 33 stories high. The Belmont Hotel offers an equally perfect spot for picture taking at its rooftop lounge.