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Art&Seek Jr: 12 Things To Do Before Summer Is Over 14

August is very sneaky. And by sneaky I mean it comes along very nonchalantly. Here we are at the end of July and first few days of August having fun at our pool parties, cook-outs thinking we have plenty of summer left before school starts. Then BAM! One week into August and a quick glance at the calendar reveals just two weeks left to get ready for back-to-school! ACK! How did that happen? No doubt about it, the lazy days of summer are definitely coming to a close. But not to worry. There’s still time to do some cool stuff and make memories while you’re at it. Here’s our annual end-of-summer list that will definitely make the “What I Did Over Summer Vacation” composition a bit more interesting.

Photo: Perot Museum of Nature and Science

1. Get your fun fix along with a STEAM fix at the Perot Museum’s latest exhibition “The Art of the Brick.”The traveling show features original pieces and iconic masterpieces made entirely out of LEGOs bricks. See LEGO versions of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and then discover your inner architect in the hands-on, interactive LEGO brick gallery, building challenges, games, and open play spaces. If you’re in Fort Worth, be sure to explore the special exhibits at  the American Airlines CR Smith Museum. Kids can take the flight simulator for a spin, step inside a restored 1940s Douglas DC-3 aircraft, take part in the baggage loader challenge, or participate in one of their weekend activities.

2. Head to the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park for some fishy fun.  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 starfish. 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 Stingray Bay. Kids can pet a variety of rays in tanks designed so little hands can reach them. Watch out! They splash!

3. Have the kids been on Netflix nonstop this summer? Ditch the electronics and head to a local museum for a little cultural enrichment. Two excellent exhibitions you won’t want to miss are “Dior: From Paris to the World”at the Dallas Museum of Art–a look at over 100 haute couture dresses, as well other archival materials by the famous designer; and Monet: The Late Years, 50 seldom-seen works by the great Impressionist painter. Both shows are ending soon, so don’t wait.


4. Stay up late one last time this Saturday night and watch the stars come out at Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area for their Star Watch Party. In this nighttime adventure, you’ll meet up with the LLELA folks at their prairie restoration area to view the night sky and catch the Perseid Meteor Shower. Lean back on the wildflower platform and count the streaks in the sky while learning about all the other bodies that light up the sky.

5. Let the kids run off all that pent-up energy before school starts at the Dallas Arboretum and do it for pocket change. That’s right, from now until August 31, admission to the Arboretum and the popular Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Garden is just a measly $2.  Kids can peer into the reflecting pools (careful, don’t fall in), dodge the water jets at Toad Corner fountains, roll down the big hill near the concert stage, or just run around like banshees amongst the miles of green space.

Photo: SPARK!

6. Looking for a great indoor option for those jumping beans you call kids? Let them burn it off this weekend at SPARK! In case you’re not familiar, SPARK! is a creative environment for kids located in the sub-basement of the South Side on Lamar building, In addition to hands-on art activities like a Giant Light Bright, Recycled Art, Chalk Art, Poetry Magnets and Percussion, it also features a climb, crawl, and slide sculpture that spans over 6,000 feet and climbs 26 feet toward the ceiling. The event is open to children in 2nd grade through high school and chaperones are required.

7. Introduce the kids to the theater with the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and family-friendly play “Mary Poppins.” The story of the perfect nanny who flies into town to save the Banks family is put on by the Wylie Acting Group and includes all your favorite songs. Mary is only in town through Saturday so don’t wait to get tickets.

8. Another family-friendly show you won’t want to miss is Denton Community Theatre’s production of ‘Cats.’ The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical tells the story of the Jellicle Cats and the stories they sing to their benevolent leader, Old Deuteronomy who then determines which will be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. Best for kids 8 and up. It’s on stage at the Campus Theatre in Denton through Aug. 18.

“Belly Flop” Jeremy Collins, South Africa, 2018

9. On Wednesday and Thursday, take a break from the heat and step inside the ultra-cool Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth for Modern Kids: Summer Flicks. Enjoy some of the best shorts from the Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2019, and the Spanish-language program from the New York International Children’s Film Festival. The program is free and suitable for kids of all ages. Besides the great films, you’ll also have the opportunity to visit the galleries at the Modern before or after.

10.  Experience a railroad odyssey in miniature with TrainTopia, a 2,500 sq ft. model train exhibit at the Frisco Discovery Center. The one-of-a-kind experience features running G-scale trains, a custom light show which takes the exhibit from daylight to nighttime, and hundreds of miniature automobiles and people. The exhibit spans Arizona to Texas and features an animated downtown Dallas street scene, the Palo Duro Drive-In Theater with a movie playing, West Texas refineries and working sawmills in Colorado.

11. Go from model trains to the real thing with a trip aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. This summer the railroad is offering a special excursion called The Swashbuckler Express, a thrilling rail ride with a pirate twist. The one-hour trip features interactive games and all the little buccaneers are encouraged to dress in their pirate best. This trip is perfect for families with small children or those who just want to get the experience of riding on a train.

Photo: Therese Powell

12. For another transportation adventure, go watch the planes land at Founders Plaza, a park/observation area near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. You can view DFW’s 1,700 plus take-offs and landings from the tiny park that (thankfully) has plenty of shade and seating. If you want a closer view, there are four telescopes on site. What really makes the trip worthwhile is the air traffic control communications from the FAA tower that are broadcast throughout the park. It really is exciting listening to the traffic controllers guide the arriving planes in for landing.

For even more kid-friendly events, explore the Kids & Family section of the Art&Seek calendar.