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.
Okay, so we’re right in the middle of one of those rare, wonderful “cool spells” where we’re lulled into the belief that we can actually go OUTSIDE without the risk of spontaneous combustion. The high for Saturday is forecasted to be 89 degrees and the low is projected to be a positively frosty 70 degrees. But while you’re outside this weekend romping about in this glorious respite from the heat, keep this in mind–You live in Texas, it’s summer, and the temperatures will likely return to triple digits next week. Add to that, most outside play will cease to be an option for the munchkins once temperatures return to “normal.” Metal slides and little tushies are never a good mix during summer months, if you get my drift.
A good plan of action is to keep a list of inside activities handy, so when the kids start up the whiny chorus of, “it’s too sweaty outside, mommmm!” you’re armed and ready. Here are a few activities to help you through the dog days of summer.
Keep cool and give the kids a taste of a ’70s summer at a good old-fashioned roller rink. I absolutely love White Rock Skate in East Dallas. The rink has been opened since 1973 and with its disco balls, flashing colored lights and funky concession area it’s definitely a blast from the past–but in a good way. When you walk through the doors of this place I guarantee you’ll feel like you’re back in Junior High only with better skin. The bad news is that the rink is only open on the weekends, but the good news is that kids can skate all afternoon for just 6 bucks.
You can enjoy star gazing without having to worry about the humidity or mosquitos at the Planetarium at the University of Texas in Arlington. There are many shows to choose from, but one of the best is the Secret of the Cardboard Rocket. Kiddos 5 to 12 can land on Venus, fly through the rings of Saturn, and discover the secrets of the Solar System. There’s also a show for small fries called One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure, where Big Bird and his Sesame Street Muppet pals explore the moon.
Got a kid that loves animals? Then head to the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park for some fishy fun. This aquarium is especially great for the youngest visitors because it features raised floors so kids can really see into the tanks (no more strained backs trying to lift kids up) and a “touch tank” filled with horseshoe crabs, sea urchins and star fish. Children can explore the various habitats and creatures and then stay for the feeding demonstration at 2:30 daily. For REALLY big fun, check out the action at Stringray Bay. Kids can pet a variety of rays in tanks designed so little hands can reach them. Watch out! They splash!
There’s still time to enjoy one last camp before it’s time to hit the books. The nice folks at Oil and Cotton in Oak Cliff are offering one-day, mini art camps all next week for little campers ages 4-12. In the Summer in Texas Camps kids can sculpt Aztec medallions one day and create a pastel drawing of a cactus the next. You can take just one class or sign up for the whole week. The choice is yours!
Speaking of art, summer is the perfect time to explore one of the many fabulous museums around North Texas and the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth is a great place to start. Stop by the Kimbell’s Renzo Piano Pavilion this Saturday for their Kids Drop-In event. You and your favorite future Picasso can learn about fun ways to enjoy art and then create a studio art project together. The event is free, but is limited to 20 children so be sure to sign up early.
There’s no better way to beat the heat then a dip in a frosty pool, or better yet, a water park . Don’t have the funds for a fancy-schmancy water park? Then check out the very affordable Water Works Park in Denton. Besides a generous size children’s activity area, there’s also a lazy river, three large slides and best of all–2 large indoor pools. I say “best of all”, because after baking in the sun for three hours on the Lazy River it’s nice to be able to take a break and swim indoors. At lunchtime you have your choice of eating under one of the covered picnic pavilions, or spreading out a blanket on plentiful green space. The park allows you to bring in coolers, but there is also a concession area if you want to buy snacks. Water Works doesn’t have as many “rides” as the larger water parks, but at 7 to 11 dollars a person the price is definitely right and there’s plenty to keep the kids busy all day.
Cheer up! Only 148 more days until Christmas!
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].