Most of us are down to the last few days of summer before the new school year gets underway. Naturally, you and the kids want to make the most the final lazy-hazy days, but after buying what seems to be enough school supplies to outfit a small island nation, you might find yourself a bit short on cash. Never fear, continuing on our things-do-before-summer-is-over theme, here are a few ways to finish off the summer with a bang without breaking the bank.
We’re in the middle of a welcome respite from the heat so there’s no better time to be outside with nature. Lucky you, not only is the weather agreeable, but, the Dallas Arboretum is having a fantastic summer sale. From now until August 31, admission to the Arboretum and the popular Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Garden is just a measly $1. Kids can peer into the reflecting pools (careful, don’t fall in); play hide and seek in the misty Fern Dell; dodge the water jets at Toad Corner fountains; or just run around like banshees amongst the miles of green space.
For those who prefer their nature a little more on the wild side, the Trinity River Audubon Center is also celebrating Dollar Days. Here’s just a sampling of all you can do for a buck: hike through the center’s five miles of wetland, prairie and forest habitats; get out the binoculars and go birding; visit their bee hives (and taste their local honey) or just relax in the butterfly garden. For an additional cost you can also rent a kayak and take a paddle down the Trinity River.
Speaking of paddling, head out to the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge Wednesday night for a different kind of canoe tour. You and the kiddos can drift down the West Fork of the Trinity River during the evening hours for their Full Moon Paddle. Besides it being cooler, your chances for seeing wildlife increases during a night tour. All the gear is provided, but be sure to wear your water shoes.
Did you see the Perseid meteor shower last weekend? If you missed it, check out the next best thing — the Planetarium at the University of Texas in Arlington. Stargazers and lovers of the night sky can choose from seven different shows, but one of the best is ‘Texas Stargazing.’ Kiddos can learn what planets and constellations are visible in the night sky tonight. There’s also a show for small fries called ‘One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure.’ It’s a fun romp with Big Bird and his Sesame Street Muppet pals as they explore the moon.
Get your creativity fix at the 2nd Annual Chalk Art Festival this Saturday at West 7th in Fort Worth. You can view elaborate chalk art creations by professional street painting artists (get there early so you can see the pieces evolve), or if you’re feeling artsy, give the amateur artist competition a whirl with your own masterpiece. Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Kiddos can get creative too in the Children’s art area. And if you miss the festival, no worries. The murals will be on display through Aug. 31.
The Dallas Museum of Art’s monthly Late Nights at the DMA is just the ticket for budding artists. This month’s theme explores the connection between sports and art with a variety of art-related family-friendly programming. Kids can compete in the DMAzing Race for a chance to win their own gold metal. participate in the Artmaking relay; show off their yoga skills; and everyone can dance to Latin rhythm courtesy of Havana NRG. The museum will be open until midnight this Friday so you’ll have plenty of time to explore and find your muse.
If you’re wanting to take one last road trip-like adventure that’s close to home, take a tour of the money factory, a.k.a. the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth. Kids can see money being printed from an enclosed walkway above the production floor, plus, there are two floors of interactive exhibits and displays showcasing currency history and the art of currency manufacturing. Reservations are not required; the tours are self-guided, on a first come, first serve basis, and are approximately 45 minutes. FYI, before the tour you should allow 30 minutes to clear WCF security, and cell phones and picture-taking are prohibited inside the facility.