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Art&Seek Jr: 4 Events For Your Little Thrill Seeker
by Therese Powell 1 Sep 2015

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.

It’s easy to spot the kids with no fear on the playground. They’re the ones with day glow casts, scabby elbows, and micro-bangs (the end result of cutting their own hair).

Thrill seekers are apparently born, not made. This first became evident to me at a 3-year-old’s birthday party I attended a number of years ago where the Critterman was the main attraction. For those of you not familiar,  the Critterman is an interactive show featuring live animals. The shows are different than a run-of-the-mill petting zoo in that the animals are more exotic than rabbits and chicks, and the guides that lead the show offer tidbits about each animal. Parents like the Critterman shows because of the educational component, and kids like the Critterman because he’s not a scary clown.

At this Critterman party the audience of tot-lettes sat cross-legged in a semi-circle as the guide showed them a possum, hedgehog, and tortoise. Everyone oohed, aahed and petted the small animals as they made their way around the circle. It was all rainbows and lollipops until it was time for the grand finale, which turned out to be a three-foot long  baby alligator. Even though these kids were barely out of diapers, they all instinctively knew this was a creature who was not to be trifled with. Most declined a closer look, and a few left the circle for safety of mom’s lap. But one small boy got up, toddled over to the reptile and patted him on the head as if he were a Pomeranian. The kid was completely unafraid, and on the contrary, was excited by the danger of it all.  The other kids were in awe of his bravery, while the parents joked with his mom to hang on to that good insurance.

If you’ve got a kid that loves a good thrill, check out this week’s highlights from the Junior.

Grab some aerial thrills at the Heard. Photo: Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary

Grab some aerial thrills at the Heard. Photo: Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary

Grab some aerial thrills this Saturday at the Heard Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney. You and the kids can take an exhilarating ride through a beautiful hardwood forest on a 700 foot long zip line during their Zip Line Day event. Purchase one ticket for each time you would like to go down the zip line. Tickets are $12 per person and preregistration is required. But hold on, before you start handing out crash helmets to the littles; kids must be at least 8 years-old and and fit in a harness properly to participate.

If you have a kid who loves scary stories you won’t want to miss Texas Ballet Theater’s production of Dracula. Far from the usual fare of dancing princesses and Sugar Plum Fairies, this production has a bite to it–literally. The Count and his 18 ghostly brides dance through a story full of pyrotechnics and wild stage theatrics. If that isn’t enough, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will be accompanying the Texas Ballet Theater. Of course the Prince of Darkness isn’t for everyone, and smaller children should probably sit this one out, but older kids will be wowed by the special effects and amazing choreography. You can see the Count in all his “gory” for weekend performances at the Winspear Opera House starting this Friday through Sept. 13.

Touché! Photo: Victorian Fencing Society

Touché! Photo: Victorian Fencing Society

Learn about the rich culture and traditions of the brave samurai warriors this Saturday at Adventure Asia at the Crow Museum of Asian Art. The tinies can create armor with their own personal insignia. Later, they can hear a traditional Japanese style of storytelling (kamishibai) from a real samurai expert.

Remember, the swashbuckling duels you and your brother got into with empty wrapping paper tubes? Sure, mom would yell at you to “take it outside,” but it really was one of the best parts of Christmas. Put away your cardboard sword and learn the finer points of late 19th century art of swordplay at a free hands-on demonstration by the Victorian Fencing Society. There’s no experience necessary and all ages are invited to watch, learn, and practice fencing with real foils and sabers this Sunday on the lawn of the Queen Anne Victorian Cottage at Farmers Branch Historical Park.

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 10-year-old daughter, Rose. Tell us about your ideas for quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at [email protected].