Looking for a local activity that the entire family can enjoy in Dallas, Texas? If you love to gamble, love sport, love horses or love buffets, you’ll feel right at home at Lone Star Park. Located close to Dallas off Interstate 30 in Grand Prairie, Lone Star Park has something for everyone. On Sunday, seniors over 62 get general admission for free or get $5 off a reserved seat. Doors open at 2 p.m., and on the Sunday when I attended, I noticed that they stopped monitoring the ticket booths by around 4:30 p.m. essentially making entrance free for everyone after that time.
I headed to the park to see the thoroughbred horse races. I expected a sticky, uncomfortable day in the sun, but what I found is a totally indoor facility with just a handful of seats outside right along the racetrack. Even outside there are plenty of covered seats. Reserved seating is all air-conditioned and you may even need a sweater!
Parking is free at the furthest lot, or you pay only $5 for a close in lot. Valet parking is also available.
The facility itself is vast. Most people seem to congregate on the third floor where an air-conditioned buffet is offered, $30. People stuff themselves as they either ignore or watch the horse races and sometimes bet.
Placing bets is very easy to do. There are ATM-like machines everywhere, or you can use a window with a person. You can also download an app to do it from your smart phone. Many of the reserved seats have computer screens from which you can bet as well as watch the cameras that track the horses. In reserved seats, racetrack workers circulate with handheld betting machines. They’ll take your money and bring you your winnings, if any.
The bottom floor at the racetrack is mostly bars and food stands with betting spots galore. People on the first floor generally move about; seating is limited.
At the far end of the bottom floor a separate facility open year-round (as opposed to the racetrack which has a limited schedule) is called Bar and Book. There gamblers can drink at a large circular bar and watch the races on large televisions scattered about. There are also two large seating areas with computer screens at private booths and a very large-screen television in front. From this facility, you can bet on races around the globe, not only those run at Lone Star. Here hardcore gamblers hangout. Hint: this facility has its own parking and there is no admission fee. You can avoid the $5 general admission fee, park free, and enter here, then walk next door to the racetrack as they are connected.
The floors above the third floor at Lone Star are devoted to private suites. There are many sized suites but all are decorated in clubby, walnut décor. Food is available at a buffet or you can order from a menu. A dress code on these floors makes things very buttoned-down, a nice place to entertain your business associates at a fraction of what it would cost at the Rangers or Cowboys games. I took the elevator up to observe and found no one checking whether I had more than general admission.
Betting on the horses is complicated. Buy a program to explain all the parameters. Pamphlet-sized betting guides are also available. It’s best to begin your education about betting before you head to Lone Star. Or just trust your luck.
On selected days, Lone Star has musical entertainment after the horse races. Admission is free with general admission before 7:30 p.m. or you can pay $20 just to come to the show.
Interact with the jockeys and pet the horses in an area between the stands and the holding stables.
Whether you bet or not, there’s plenty to do besides wagering.