Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum

When we’re traveling with our kids, we love to visit a variety of places.  Sometimes our goal is to just be carefree and fun and we make sure to go to a lot of amusement parks or entertainment-heavy attractions, but other times we want to incorporate educational activities into our trip.  Luckily, our kids are totally used to this way of traveling and they look forward to the historical or educational stops on the road just as much as the entertainment ones.

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Our Dallas hotel was in a great spot downtown making it super easy to walk to Dealey Plaza in the morning.  We watched “The Kennedys” and “JFK” and discussed both at great lengths before leaving on our trip so the kids had a pretty good understanding of what happened on that fateful November day and they were looking forward to going to Dallas to see where President Kennedy was assassinated.

White X in the road where JFK was assassinated

President Kennedy, along with First Lady, Governor Connally, and his wife, were traveling down Main Street on November 22, 1963, where over 100,000 people lined the streets eager to catch a glimpse of the presidential motorcade.  At 12:30pm, after turning onto Elm Street, shots rang out, injuring both President Kennedy and Governor Connally.  The white X in the road marks where the fatal bullet struck President Kennedy’s head before the motorcade raced off to Parkland Hospital.

Dealey Plaza in Dallas TX

A plaque was added to Dealey Plaza in 2013- the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination.  It reads:
“We in this country, in this generation, are – by destiny rather than choice – the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.  We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility – that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint – and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.”  That must always be our goal – and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength.  For as was written long ago: “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
– the final paragraph of the speech President Kennedy was to deliver that day in Dallas

Kids next to the Grassy Knoll in Dallas TX

Checking out the Grassy Knoll- the bright yellow sign does a great job of directing your attention to the grassy slope on the side of Elm Street. The small patch of grass was in front and to the right (west and north) of President Kennedy during the assassination and many have speculated that this is where shots “may” have been fired from by a second gunman.

The 6th Floor Window

However, the Warren Commission maintains that the shots were fired from the 6th-floor window by a single gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald.  They argue that he was shooting from the square window to the right of the arched window of the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building.

The kids singing in Dealey Plaza

While waiting for the Sixth Floor Museum to open, we chatted with a guy who completely disagrees with the Warren Commission findings and believes that the Kennedy assassination was not only a conspiracy but involved the government.  Because our kids asked so many questions and were so interested in the information he had to show them, he let them have a cool magazine with autopsy photos and frames of the Zapruder film.  When Ben and Lexie saw that he had a speaker and a microphone, they immediately asked if they could use it– and to our surprise, he hooked it up for them and let them sing.  They entertained the crowds on Dealey Plaza by singing “Let It Go” for about ten solid minutes!

View from the 7th Floor at the 6th Floor Museum

Right before ten, we made our way to the Sixth Floor Museum (housed in the Texas School Book Depository) for the self-guided audio tour.  We purchased our tickets online ahead of time and were able to bypass the line of 100 or so that had formed prior to opening.  The audio tour takes you through the sixth floor and highlights the life, assassination, and legacy of President Kennedy.  While the window area where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot Kennedy has been preserved, you can look out nearby windows but you cannot take photographs.  Once you’re finished with the sixth floor and the audio tour, you can go up to the seventh floor to look out the windows directly above where the shots came from (and take pictures).

Amazing artwork of the Kennedy's composed of photographs

The seventh floor has a photo mosaic made out of photographs from the Dallas Times Herald.  We spent a lot of time looking at each individual picture that made up the bigger picture.

The Triple Underpass at Dealey Plaza in Dallas

After spending a couple of hours in the Sixth Floor Museum, we headed across the street to check out the Dealey Plaza Monument which has a great view of the triple underpass.


Our little conspiracy theorist in front of the Grassy Knoll

Nicholas, who LOVES conspiracy theories, really enjoyed hearing all of the conflicting viewpoints on what happened on that November day.  He wanted to make sure that we didn’t leave without getting a picture of him in front of the grassy knoll.

The Dealey Plaza Monument updated with plaques explaining the JFK assassination

While the Dealey Plaza Monument was there prior to the assassination (it actually celebrates the birthplace of Dallas), it was updated with plaques explaining the assassination as well as a map of the motorcade route.  The plaque reads:
On November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, thirty-fifth President of the United States, visited Dallas.  A presidential parade traveled north on Houston Street to Elm Street and west on Elm Street.  As the parade continued on Elm Street at 12:30pm, rifle shots wounded the President and Texas Governor John Connally.  Findings of the Warren Commission indicated that the rifle shots were fired from a sixth-floor window near the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository, Elm and Houston, a block north of this marker.  President Kennedy expired at Parkland Hospital at 1:00pm.  The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial Plaza is nearby, bounded by Main, Record, Market, and Commerce streets.

We had a great time checking out the Sixth Floor Museum and wandering around Dealey Plaza.  I love being able to explore the places that we’ve learned about and experience them alongside the kids.  The audio-tour of the museum kept the kids engaged and focused which allowed Jacob and I to listen and learn more about the Kennedys as well.

Things to Remember When Visiting Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum

  • The Museum is open daily (except for Christmas) from 12pm-6pm on Mondays and 10am-6pm the rest of the week.  The last ticket of the day is sold at 5:15pm so plan accordingly.
  • It takes roughly 90 minutes to go through the sixth floor with the included audio tour.
  • Admission to the museum (including the audio guide) is $16 for adults, $13 for kids (6-18) and free for five and under (it’s $4 if they want the audio guide).
  • Photography is prohibited on the sixth floor so make sure to head up to the seventh floor if you want to take pictures out the window.
  • Even though the exhibits are somewhat graphic, it’s about an assassination, after all, we found it to be a great place to go in Dallas with kids.
  • Check out CityPASS to save 40% on the 4 best attractions in Dallas, including the Sixth Floor Museum and the George W Bush Presidential Library.

Have you been to Dallas before??  Do you like checking out historical places when you’re traveling??


The 6th Floor Museum in Dallas is a great place to visit with kids

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