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.
As I was suffering through Teen Beach Movie for the eighth time Saturday night, it occurred to me that summer is almost over. Not that it’s snuck up on me or anything. I’m reminded constantly by the barrage of back-to-school ads everywhere I look and the panicky parental chatter on Facebook about how much shopping everyone has left to do. No, what the happy-pappy, bouncy musical reminded me of was those carefree, break-into-song, lazy days are about to come to a screeching halt. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were making lists about all the cool things we were going to do this summer. And now … well, maybe the lazy days of summer made you and the kiddos just a little too lazy, and now you feel like time has slipped away. Don’t worry, there’s still time to get in some quality “summer fun stuff” with the little units before the school bell rings. Here’s the Junior’s list of ideas to try out this weekend:
1. Go see the 26th Annual Lion’s Club Balloon Festival and Fair 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. If 6 a.m. is too early for you, you can still join in the fun. There will be all sorts of activities for kids: tethered balloon rides, music, food and 1K and 5K runs. Don’t forget your lawn chairs, sunscreen and bug spray. The Lion’s Club will also offer free vision screening at the event.
2. Skip the dumb kid movie and go see a play. Seriously, for about the same price as one of the dogs currently in movie theaters, you can take your kids to see a quality play. Check out Fairy Tale Soap Opera at the Plaza Theater in Garland. It’s a comedy about fairy tale characters who are cast in a hugely successful soap opera. The trouble is, they’re getting tired of playing their parts but can’t get out of their contracts. Find out how they finally get a happily ever after ending for their show.
You can also celebrate the 50th anniversary of an award-winning book and take care of your science fiction fans with A Wrinkle in Time at the Artisan Center Theater in Hurst. It’s got something for everybody: family love, time travel AND the triumph of good over evil.
3. If you absolutely must see a kid movie, there is no better way than under the stars. So put the little kiddles in their jammies and head to the drive-in. For a vintage feel, try the Brazos Drive-In in Granbury. I loved their cute, old-fashioned snack bar with a banging screen door and retro iron chairs out front. You’ll swear you’re sitting on the porch at grandma’s house. The Coyote Drive In in Fort Worth boasts spectacular views of downtown Fort Worth along the Trinity River and a Canteen that features goodies like banana pudding, hummus and gourmet burgers. Mom and dad can enjoy wine and fancy-schmancy imported beer.
4. So your trip to Wally World fell through? Summer Adventures in Fair Park has got you covered. No, it’s not Six Flags, but at $14.95 a ticket you won’t care. For the cost of admission you can ride all the rides on the Midway as many times as you want with almost no waiting. That includes the Texas Star, the Texas SkyWay, the new Top o’ Texas Tower and the FlowRider – a wet ride on which guests ride waves on a boogie board. There are also several shows you can catch throughout the day. Our favorites were Tenzo Ticolini and his Amazing Fearless House Cats and Captain Kid’s Puppet Show. Not only were they tons of fun, but their air-conditioned theaters were a welcome break from the heat.
While we’re on the subject of heat, here’s a few pointers if you decide to head out to Summer Adventures.
- Wear appropriate foot gear. You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so now is not the time to break in the strappy platform wedges. The Bubble Fun House (which Rose deemed as the best ride) requires closed toed shoes.
- Bring the swimsuits. I didn’t, because I didn’t want to lug around towels and wet suits. And I wish I had. The spray grounds and the Flowrider are almost a necessity for coping with the heat, and there are lockers nearby to stash your stuff.
- You can’t bring in food or drink, so leave the bottled water at home. But don’t worry, you’ll be given a token for a free bottle of water, which you can refill at water fountains throughout the Midway.
- And finally, as much as I hate saying it, skip DART and take your car if you can. It’s a loooong walk from the entrance of the fairgrounds on Parry (where DART drops you off) to the Midway. And it’s an even longer walk on the way back, when the tot-lettes are hot and tired and the novelty of riding the train has worn off. There’s plenty of convenient parking near the Midway, and after sweating all day you’re going to want the fastest possible route home to your shower.
This weekend is your last chance to sample a Fletchers corny dog and ride the Texas Star before the fair, so don’t miss out.
Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 8-year-old daughter, Rose. Tell us about your ideas for quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at firstname.lastname@example.org.