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Art&Seek Jr: 6 (Low Cost) Things To Do Before Summer is Over

by Therese Powell 20 Aug 2013 2:00 PM

Tardy bell’s ringing! Get out and have some fun before summer is over.


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.

Yep. Summer is definitely winding down. If the wee ones haven’t already started school, they’re definitely going back next week. But don’t worry, there’s still time to get in an adventure or two before the tardy bell rings. Continuing on our things-do-before-summer-is-over theme, here are some fun, LOW-COST ways to make this a summer to remember.

Go enjoy the last school-free days of summer with your favorite kid. (Photo: Therese Powell)

1. Take a drive out to White Rock Lake in East Dallas and enjoy an urban oasis. Bring your bikes and take a spin around the lake, rent a kayak and paddle along the shore. Or just take a stroll out on one of the many docks and feed the ducks. For something really different, try sneaking a peek at the Monk Parakeets nesting at the Lawther substation. The birds appeared about 20 years ago at the lake and are thought to be the descendants of escaped pets. The little fugitives took up residence in a TU Electric transformer station behind the old Dallas Water Works Building. The best viewing is from the dam and the bike trail, near West Lawther Drive and White Rock Road. Be sure to bring your binoculars for a close-up view.

2. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but it is made in Fort Worth. Take a tour of the money factory, a.k.a. the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Western Currency Facility, where kids can see money being printed from an enclosed walkway above the production floor.  In addition to the tour, there are two floors of interactive exhibits and displays showcasing currency history and the art of currency manufacturing. Reservations are not required; the tours are self-guided and on a first come, first serve basis.  The tour is approximately 45 minutes along an elevated walkway. FYI …  before the tour you should allow 30 minutes to clear WCF security.

3. Go watch the planes land at Founders Plaza, a park/observation area near Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport. You can view DFW’s  1,700 plus take-offs and landings from the tiny park that (thankfully) has plenty of shade and seating. If you want a closer view, there are four telescopes on site. What really makes the trip worthwhile is the air traffic control communications from the FAA tower that are broadcast throughout the park. It really is exciting listening to the traffic controllers guide the arriving planes in for landing.

Brain freeze! (Photo Therese Powell)

Brain freeze! (Photo Therese Powell)

4. Relive your childhood and sport some red, red lips with an old-fashioned shaved ice. A great place to grab one of these frosty treats is TC Shaved Ice on Garland Road. My favorite flavor is Tiger’s Blood, a mixture of coconut and strawberry, but you can do any combination of their 36 favors . If you’re feeling really adventuresome, try their newest concoction – the Piccadilly, any snow cone flavor topped with chopped up pickles!

5. Escape the heat with a dip in an indoor pool. There are probably plenty of neighborhood pools around where you live, but c’mon people, it’s August for Pete’s sake! I’m betting they’re less than refreshing about now. The City of Denton has a great indoor pool that’s part of its Water Works complex. In addition to plenty of room to swim and places to sit, the pool also has two diving boards (a rarity these days) and a pretty cool slide.

6. And last but certainly not least, visit your local library. As we speak there are a kabillion different activities for kids taking place in libraries across North Texas. Here are just a few you should check out:

  • Kindergarten Kick-Off at the Davis branch of the Plano Public Library. The tinies get a chance to learn independently about listening, letters, counting and more without mommy butting in!
  • Cowboy Story Time at the Emily Fowler branch of the Denton Public Library. A cowboy-themed story time for the little buckaroos complete with stories, songs, puppets and crafts to help celebrate the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo in Denton.
  • The Nicholson Memorial Library System’s South Garland Branch Library will be hosting a free Model Train Exhibit on Aug. 22, 23 and 24. The models on display represent railroading from the 1880s to the present day and operate steam, diesel, freight and passenger equipment.

Time’s wasting! Now get out there and have fun!

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 [email protected].