This work introduces the design and implementation of a realistic simulation platform to teach distribution management systems (DMS) and smart grids research testing. The laboratory known as GridTeractions has a client/server structure that allows users to interact as customers in the distribution network or as managers in the control center. The laboratory integrates a co-simulation framework with data processing software, data visualization, and control tools oriented to build a DMS environment, which allows facing educational challenges in applying advanced optimization to smart grids. A volt/var control solution and the implementation of a fault location engine (FLE) are presented. The proposed laboratory contributes to training and research of advanced distribution automation approaches where the experimental test could be easily implemented.