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Alabama, Cincinnati fans can find plenty to do after the Cotton Bowl Classic


Football fans from Alabama and Cincinnati are converging on the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a College Football Playoff semifinal at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

On Friday afternoon, the University of Alabama’s No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide faces the No. 4 University of Cincinnati in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

But what can families or people do after the game, while waiting on flights or decompressing for the drive back home?

Alabama fans should know the region. Their Crimson Tide has played five games, all ending in victories, at AT&T Stadium. Last year, Alabama fans were all set to visit Pasadena, Calif., to play a CFP semifinal in the Rose Bowl, but COVID-19 restrictions in California prompted the game to be moved to Arlington.

Don’t be surprised to see lots of red-clad sports fans in D/FW in the next two days.

Here’s where they can have some fun:

Holiday lights

  • If you’re still in the mood for sensory overload after an afternoon in AT&T Stadium, the Enchant Christmas at Fair Park’s Esplanade includes millions of lights, a light maze and an 80-foot-tall tree and an artisan marketplace.
  • The Dallas Zoo Lights also feature a display of 1 million lights, light sculptures, moving images, light tunnels and a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree.
  • The Vitruvian Lights has 1.5 million sparkling LED lights wrapped on more than 550 illuminated trees on 12 acres in Addison.
  • Holiday at the Arboretum has 1 million lights and a 50-foot-tall tree. The exhibit closes Friday.
  • Radiance: Frozen in Frisco has a Holly Jolly Trolley, which is a park-style tram that takes visitors through a 1.5-mile route to see more than 3 million lights synced to Christmas music.

More family entertainment

  • Main Event locations in Fort Worth, Frisco, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Lewisville and Plano can take in bowling, laser tag and arcade games with its Day 1 DFW annual festival. The celebration starts at 9 a.m. Saturday.
  • What did Rachel, Monica, Chandler or Phoebe think of the Alabama-Cincinnati game? “The Friends Experience,” featuring 12 re-created sets from the TV show Friends, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Shops at Willow Bend.
  • The kids will love the interactive features and animals at the Children’s Aquarium Dallas at Fair Park. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
  • See those things you step on in the middle of the night. The Towers of Tomorrow With Lego Bricks is the featured exhibit at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. It’s a good post-game winddown on Saturday and opens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Kids love dinosaurs. The Jurassic World: The Exhibition is at Grandscape in The Colony. The interactive 20,000-square-foot experience is inspired by the Jurassic World film franchise. Tickets are available for shows Saturday and Sunday.
  • More sensory overload is available at the “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” just across the street from AT&T Stadium at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington (two other versions are on exhibit at Lighthouse Artspace Dallas and the Dallas Museum of Art). The 360-degree digital art exhibition is a fun way to experience the works of van Gogh. Holiday hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.



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