Summer Fun in Dallas
We’re a fan of sun no matter where you get it!
Check out this article on great (and some free) ways to get out of the house this summer in DFW!
We found two national programs that let kids bowl free all summer.
Kids Bowl Free: This program, now in its fourth year, treats more than 1.6 million kids in the United States and Canada to up to two free games daily at more than 850 bowling centers. Register online at http://www.kidsbowlfree.com to receive emailed vouchers for local participating centers (details and ages of kids who can participate vary among centers). Most programs kick off Memorial Day weekend and end in late August or September. Also cool, the Kids Bowl Free Program is now working with the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award challenge. To participate in the challenge, visit http://www.presidentschallenge.org.
Kids Bowl Free at 300 Dallas: Apply for a free 300 Kids’ Club Card at the Dallas location, and kids 12 and younger can bowl one free game and get one free shoe rental daily, Sundays through Fridays before 5 p.m. through Sept. 4. 3805 Belt Line Road, Addison. 972-620-7700. http://www.threehundred.com.
Memorial Day weekend is when many local spray parks start their sprinklers, shooting refreshing water out at happy, squealing kids. All your child needs is a swimsuit, a towel and sunscreen to have a blast on a hot day. Check with your local city parks-and-recreation departments for a full list. Some are small and tucked away in neighborhoods or near schools. The bigger ones often adjoin a park for more activities. Aimed at the 12-and-younger set, most spray parks will stay open at least until Labor Day, with a few spraying water until the first frost comes. A couple of our favorites are Harry Myers Park East at 815 E. Washington in Rockwall and Celebration Park at 701 Angel Parkway in Allen. There are options in cities including:
Allen: Already open; closed Wednesdays, open all other days from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 214-509-4700. http://www.allenparks.org.
Arlington: Open May 28; continuing daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 817-459-5473. http://www.naturallyfun.org.
Dallas: Open May 27; varying times at different parks. 214-670-1923 or 214-670-8847. http://www.dallasparks.org.
Frisco: Open May 28; continuing daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 972-292-6500. http://www.friscofun.org.
McKinney: Already open; daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 972-547-7480. http://www.mckinneytexas.org.
Rockwall: Already open; daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 972-771-7740. http://www.rockwall.com/parks.
Here are some highlights this week:
May 27 at 8 p.m.: The animated, PG-rated Yogi Bear movie, featuring the voices of Justin Timberlake and Dan Aykroyd, will be screened as part of Castle Hills Movie Night on Friday at 8 p.m. Castle Hills Village Shops Plaza, 2560 King Arthur Blvd., Lewisville. 214-559-9266. http://www.castlehills.com.
June 2 at dusk or 9 p.m.: Sundance Square’s Stars Under the Stars series will include a climbing wall for the kids starting at 8 p.m., before a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sundance Square, Chisholm Trail Parking Lot at Fourth and Main, Fort Worth. Gates open at 8 p.m., free parking after 5. No pets or outside food, but concessions will be sold. 817-255-5700. http://www.sundancesquare.com.
You’ll find lots of free family-friendly concerts all around the area. The Chesapeake Energy Children’s Concert Series at Levitt Pavilion in Arlington highlights some of our favorite kids’ performers Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. in June. The series kicks off June 1 with Eddie Coker, the high-energy songwriter and singer of songs about purple ducks and other happy things. Take blankets or lawn chairs for outdoor seating. Picnics and coolers are allowed. No glass containers. Also on the roster: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo on June 8, Lannaya West African Drum and Dance Ensemble on June 15, Aaron Nigel Smith on June 22 and the Biscuit Brothers on June 29. 100 W. Abram St., Arlington. 817-543-4301. http://www.levittpavilionarlington.org.
Library reading programs
Nothing tops a library summer reading program in our book (sorry, couldn’t resist). Sign up with your local library to find out how many minutes or pages will win you free prizes; when you’re there, be sure to ask about all the other free fun things they’ve got planned (we’ll be highlighting some of those in Kid Beat throughout the summer, too). We don’t have the space to go through all the programs, but here are highlights from the Mayor’s Summer Reading Program in Dallas that runs June 4-Aug. 13: Ages 18 and younger are encouraged to read or listen to audio books at least four hours a week to earn one prize for each of the 10 weeks of the program; prizes include Dallas Children’s Theater tickets, Rangers baseball game tickets, family passes for the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center tickets, Auntie Anne’s pretzels, book bags and books. http://www.dallaslibrary.org.
Most local malls offer kids’ clubs with free activities all year round, with details available at the information desks or online. The Shops at Willow Bend also offers special Summer Fun Thursdays in June and July, giving kids a chance to rock with David Chicken, clown around with married clowns Slappy and Monday in a Barnum 200 Birthday Bash and meet the Berenstain Bear Kids. The program kicks off with Vocal Trash, which will present Street Show, featuring a cappella harmonies and Stomp-style drumming on June 9. The series runs on Thursdays from June 9 through July 28 at 1 p.m. in the Grand Court on the lower level of the mall near Neiman Marcus, 6121 W. Park Blvd. at the northwest corner of the intersection with the Dallas North Tollway, Plano. 972-202-4900. http://www.shopwillowbend.com.
Museums and cultural centers
We can’t think of a better way to get your kids excited about museums or cultural centers than taking them for a day of free activities designed to delight them. Here are some that will be continuing their regular free children’s programming throughout the summer:
First Tuesdays: The Dallas Museum of Art continues its year-round free programming on the first Tuesday of each month at its Center for Creative Connections. The fun usually includes art projects, storytelling, tours and a chance to greet museum mascot Arturo. Special summer themes are Road Trip USA in June, Into the Woods in July and Beat the Heat in August. June 7, July 5 and Aug. 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Families are welcome to stay for free until the museum closes at 5 p.m. 1717 N. Harwood St., Dallas. 214-922-1200. http://www.DallasMuseumofArt.org.
Target First Saturdays: Held the first Saturday of each month throughout the year at the Nasher Sculpture Center, the program features monthly themes that encourage kids to explore big ideas through art projects, performances, tours, sculpture demonstrations, story time and scavenger hunts. The kids can also do yoga in the outdoor sculpture garden and get NasherKids Passports, folders with activity cards so they can continue the learning at home. The summer theme for June is Details (the kids will get to decorate miniature animals with lifelike details), for July it’s Style (the kids can personalize a canvas sun hat) and for August it’s Symbols (kids will combine cut-out symbols to make a scene). June 4, July 2, Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2001 Flora St., Dallas. 214-242-5100. http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org.
Target Second Saturdays: The Latino Cultural Center’s free activities usually include hands-on art activities, dance and storytelling. A highlight for June will be the Tipi Tellers, a group of storytellers who will spin tales of diverse cultures in giant tepees in the plaza. June 11, July 9 and Aug. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center, 2600 Live Oak St., Dallas. 214-671-0045. http://www.dallasculture.org/latinocc.
Family Past Times: Held on the third Sunday of each month (but not in July and August) at Dallas Heritage Village, this is free for the kids, but adults pay general admission of $7, $5 for seniors 65 and older. The highlight of the June event is a celebration of the 15th birthday of the village’s mammoth donkeys Nip and Tuck. Kids will get to make party hats and homemade ice cream and take a ride in Nip and Tuck’s carriage. Other activities include a chance to pretend to be a customer or shop manager at Blum Brothers’ General store, play with toy trains and build toy log cabins. June 19 from noon to 4 p.m. at 1515 S. Harwood, Dallas. 214-421-5141. http://www.dallasheritagevillage.org.