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.
I saw an article on Facebook a couple of weeks ago about how to give your child a 1970s style summer. It included activities like watching 9 solid hours of Gilligan’s Island, allowing them to eat or drink anything they want including cherry Kool-Aid made with 4 cups of granulated sugar, and forcing them to stay outside all day even when it’s 105 out. As hilarious and tongue-in-cheek as the post was, it wasn’t too far from the truth. A number of my friends added to the list with things like walking to the store barefooted to fetch mom a pack of cigarettes, chasing lightning bugs, ladybugs and the mosquito fogging truck, and riding down a flooded water system canal on a trash can lid. Of course it goes without saying that all of these activities were done unsupervised. We were sans parents from dawn to dusk, but no one seemed concerned. Fear of Jason and Freddy Krueger were still years away, as proof in a friend’s comment that said she and her brother would ride bikes all over Dallas, and if they had to go to the bathroom they’d just pull over to a random house and knock on the door.
Us ’70s and ’80s kids-turned-parents look back on our summers with a mixed sense of wistfulness and horror. We vacillate between, “Wow, wasn’t it great” and “Wow, how did we survive?” The irony of it all is, we may have explored that abandoned gravel pit with glee, but no way howdy are we’re going to let our kids do the same.
Here are some kid-friendly events that have just enough adventure so you won’t feel like a complete helicopter parent.
Children love animals, but thanks to wide-spread reports of rabies, that baby raccoon isn’t as welcome in the house as it was when you were a kid. Fear not, Junior can get in touch with his wild side, literally, when the Critterman comes to town. The Critterman is none other than Dave Kleven who will bring his exotic animal show to Galleria Mall this Saturday. Some of the animals include a baby alligator, hedgehog, tarantula and a Burmese python. Kids can see some of these amazing animal ambassadors up close, and they’ll also get a chance to touch one too–if they want.
Another slithery opportunity awaits you at Fangs! A Family Festival of Herpetological Proportions Horticulture this Saturday at Texas Discovery Gardens. Take a look at native Texas snakes and other reptiles. Herpetologist Roger Sanderson will be on hand to fill you in on all of your favorite reptilian friends.
Got a kid that loves martial arts? Be sure to check out Matsuri! A Samurai Celebration at the Kimbell Art Museum this Saturday. The matsuri, which means “festival” in Japanese, is inspired by the Kimbell’s current exhibition, Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection and includes a variety family-friendly activities such as face painting, fan making, martial arts demonstrations, tai chi instruction, anime family films and a “selfie” photo booth. You’ll want to stick around because there’s a great line up of outdoor musical performances that happen later in the evening. Don’t forget your blanket.
Kids can be the hero and help thwart a bandit when they take a ride to the Fort Worth Stockyards on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. It’s all part of the fun of Great Train Robberies where young passengers are deputized by the Marshall as he chases the bandits through the train. The event is child friendly and the train robbers and marshal are happy to pose for pictures as they pass through all coaches. The robbery takes approximately 10 minutes and is part of the trip from Grapevine to Fort Worth.
You can rest easy knowing your child is playing inside the train, instead of on tracks like you did as a kid.
Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 9-year-old daughter, Rose. Tell us about your ideas for quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at [email protected].