Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.
Newsflash! In case you’ve been hiding under a beach umbrella for the last few weeks, or are in just plain denial–the lazy, hazy days of summer are about to come to a screeching halt. Yeah, I know. It seems like it was just yesterday we were making lists about all the cool things we were going to do this summer, and now here we are– searching the back-to-school bins at Target for blue (or green) plastic folders with brads. Where has the time gone?
But not to worry. There’s still time to do some cool stuff and make memories while you’re at it.
Here’s our list of 10 family-friendly events that will definitely make the “What I Did Over Summer Vacation” composition a bit more interesting.
1. Go see the 28th Annual Lion’s Club Balloon Festival in Unity Park in Highland Village this weekend. It’ll be an early morning for sure, but so worth it. Tell the sleepyheads it’ll be good practice for when school starts next week. It all starts off with a pancake breakfast at 6 a.m. with the hot air balloons taking off soon there after. There will be all sorts of activities for kids: tethered balloon rides, music, food, 1K and 5K runs and my favorite–wiener dog races! Don’t forget your lawn chairs, sunscreen and bug spray. The Lion’s Club will also offer free vision screening at the event.
2. Head out to the West 7th district in Fort Worth this Saturday for the Chalk Art Festival. In addition to the beautiful chalk art designs created by professional street painting artists, there will also be live music and children’s art area where the tinies can be creative. The festival opens at 10 a.m so you come early and watch the pieces evolve. If you miss the festival this weekend, no worries, the artwork will be on display through Aug. 31.
3. Float like a butterfly and flitter like a bee at the Butterflies and Bugs! Family Festival this Saturday at Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. The little kiddles can enjoy crafts, displays of live and pinned insects–including the new honeybee hive exhibit. Entomologist John Watts will be on hand with his personal collection of beetles, live tarantulas, walking sticks, so get your bug questions ready! Afterwards, be sure to tour the butterfly house. Dress in bright colors, hold really still and the butterflies just might mistake you for a flower!
4. After you’ve had your buggy adventure, be sure to stop by the Children’s Aquarium for some fishy fun. It’s just a short walk from Texas Discovery Gardens. This aquarium is especially great for the youngest visitors because it features raised floors so kids can really see into the tanks (no more strained backs trying to lift kids up) and a “touch tank” filled with horseshoe crabs, sea urchins and star fish. Children can explore the various habitats and creatures and then stay for the feeding demonstration at 2:30 daily. For REALLY big fun, check out the action at Stringray Bay. Kids can pet a variety of rays in tanks designed so little hands can reach them. Watch out! They splash!
5. Stay up late one last time this Saturday night and watch the stars come out at Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area for their Stars on the Prairie event. If the sky is too cloudy for stargazing they’ll meet and go on a night hike instead.
6. You can enjoy star gazing without having to worry about the humidity or mosquitoes at the Planetarium at the University of Texas in Arlington. There are many shows to choose from, but one of the best is the Secret of the Cardboard Rocket. Kiddos 5 to 12 can land on Venus, fly through the rings of Saturn, and discover the secrets of the Solar System. There’s also a show for small fries called One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure, where Big Bird and his Sesame Street Muppet pals explore the moon.
7. Take a break from the heat and cool off at Modern Kids — Summer Flicks! This unique film festival presented by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is especially for kids (and those who love kid movies). The films are selected shorts from the New York International Children’s Film Festival including the The Academy Award-nominated A Cat in Paris. Bonus–this is a free event and you and the kids can visit the galleries at the Modern before or after the films. The festival starts today and runs through Thurs., Aug. 13.
9. Speaking of museums, be sure to stop by the Kimbell Museum’s Renzo Piano Pavilion this Saturday for their Kids Drop-In event. You and your favorite future Picasso can learn about fun ways to enjoy art and then create a studio art project together. The event is free, but is limited to 20 children so be sure to sign up before you head out to the event.
10. Last, but certainly not least, there’s nothing more summery than going to get an ice cream with your favorite little person. It may seem like a small outing, but make no mistake, 20 years from now this is the kind stuff your kid will look back on wistfully. One of the best places to make memories is Sweet Firefly Ice Cream, a quaint little shop tucked away in a tiny strip shopping center in the Canyon Creek neighborhood of Richardson. All their ice cream is homemade locally with ingredients so fresh you’ll never want grocery store ice cream again. And speaking of memories, their Lemon Vanilla will transport you back to your grandma’s porch and her hand cranked version.
Another great mom and pop ice cream store is Steel City Pops. Their twist on Mexican paletas–or pops–are just the ticket for a hot summer night. The fruity pops are sweet with a zing ( I highly recommend Tiger’s Blood) and their creamy pops are just that–melt in your mouth creamy. You can find Steel City Pops in Garland, Dallas, and Fort Worth.
Time’s wasting! Now get out there and have fun!
Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 10-year-old daughter, Rose. Tell us about your ideas for quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at email@example.com.