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Art&Seek Jr: Go Play! Celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month With These 6 Events 9

Betcha didn’t know this, but July is National Parks and Recreation Month! If you have little ones, you know how important it is for them (and you) to get outside and burn off that excess energy with play, play, play.   The National Recreation and Park Association is challenging everyone (that means parents, too) to get off the couch and get their play on at their local parks and recreation centers. Agencies all over the country are cooking up all sorts of cool events in celebration of…well, parks and recreation. Join the party with these fun, outdoor activities in DFW area perfect for the whole family.

Photo: City of Mesquite

Photo: City of Mesquite

Load up the swagger wagon this Friday night and head to The Marq in Southlake for an outdoor movie.  This week they’ll be screening Disney’s ‘Zootopia.’ The show begins at sundown and happens at the Aria Amphitheater located behind The Marq Southlake. You can bring a picnic, but if you forget there will complimentary popcorn for you to snack on.

If you miss the show in Southlake, don’t worry. You’ll have another chance for a movie under the stars next Friday, July 21 at Movie in the Park at Paschall Park in Mesquite. There will be a screening of ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ and a Touch-a-Truck event where kids can climb and play in large city vehicles. Pre-show entertainment will begin at 7 p.m. and includes music, dancing, and games followed by the movie which begins at dusk. You can bring a picnic dinner or purchase snacks at the concession stand.

But wait! Don’t put the picnic basket and the blanket away just yet. Catch some live music under the stars this Friday night at the Addison Summer Series. The annual event at Addison’s Beckert Park features a variety of musical genres and happens every Friday night through the end of August. This Friday lay on a blanket and enjoy the contemporary jazz group Special EFX featuring Chieli Minucci.

Celebrate Farmers Branch Historical Park's 30th Birthday with a look at the stars. Photo: Farmers Branch Historical Park

Photo: Farmers Branch Historical Park

Speaking of stars, Farmers Branch Historical Park is holding their own celestial event under the stars this Friday at their Family Star Party. No, you won’t see Beyoncé, Jay-Z or the twins at this family star party, but you will find members of the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas with a variety of telescopes. You can get an up-close view of Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, the moon, or just do some plain ol’ star gazing. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their own telescopes, and, of course, a picnic basket!

If the idea of being outside makes you want to melt, grab the floaties and cool off at Bedford Splash Aquatic Center’s  Flick N’ Float. You and the tinies can enjoy the super sweet film ‘Finding Dory’ on a giant 16×21 foot screen while you drift in the pool waves under the stars. The movie is included in the Splash admission, so keep those bracelets on, otherwise, it’s $5 per person at the door.

Photo: City of Mansfield - Parks and Recreation

Photo: City of Mansfield – Parks and Recreation

I don’t know about you, but when I think of recreational activities kayaking is the first thing that springs to mind. There’s something about this popular outdoorsy activity that’s both relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. What other sport allows you to lazily paddle down a sleepy river one minute and encounter a thrilling rushing current the next? Sounds like fun, right? If you’re thinking you’d like to give kayaking a go,  a scenic paddle of the creeks leading to Joe Pool Lake is the perfect opportunity to get your feet wet (so to speak). The guide-led tour happens bright and early Saturday at morning at Britton Park in Mansfield and will give you and the kiddos a closeup view of the seldom seen flora and fauna along the shoreline. There’s no experience necessary. Instructors will give safety instructions and technique tips before you leave. This trip is best for ages 7 +and all children under 18 must have adult accompaniment.

Photo: City of Irving

Gather up the littles and head over to Fritz Park in Irving for their free Petting Farm. The farm is a peaceful setting where kids can get a closeup view of cows, horses, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and even peacocks. Best of all, it’s located in a clean, well-shaded area. Keep in mind, this is a SMALL petting farm, but it’s big enough to satisfy young animal lovers and the perfect activity to get in before nap time. The farm is open Tuesday through Sunday until the end of July.