If the kiddos in your house haven’t gone back to school yet, this weekend is definitely the swan song for summer vacation. And just like you would expect, back-to-school means boatloads of emotion. Kids are anxiously wondering if their teacher will nice and if it’s true that 3rd-grade math is waaaay harder than 2nd-grade math. Meanwhile, their parents are studying the school supply list and thinking, “What the heck is a folder with brads?”
Take a break from the stress and enjoy these final lazy-hazy days, with one last summer excursion. Continuing on our things-do-before-summer-is-over theme, here are a few ways to finish off the summer with a bang without breaking the bank.
Go watch the planes land at Founders Plaza, a park/observation area near Dallas/Fort 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.
Go from planes to trains with a trip aboard the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. The Saturday morning Grapevine Fun Train is a one-hour excursion on a 1953 diesel locomotive. It departs the Grapevine Cotton Belt Depot at 10 a.m. and travels the historic Cotton Belt Route from Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Celebrate the last breath of summer with a good old fashion fireworks display. Load up Granny and the kids and head to Lake Grapevine this Friday night for their SummerBlast Fireworks Show. The weekly 12-minute show runs Friday nights until the end of August and can be viewed from the rooftop of the parking garage at Gaylord Texan Resort, as well as parks around Lake Grapevine.
Take a nature walk during the cool evening hours this Saturday night at a Nike Hike at Lewisville Lake Educational Learning Area (LLELA). Trail guides will lead you on a twilight stroll down one of LLELA’s trails where you’ll have an out-of-the ordinary hiking adventure. Listen for hooting owls, howling coyotes, and other nocturnal wildlife as you experience nature under the stars. The hike is best for ages 5 and up and registration is required by 11 a.m. the Friday before the night hike.
Stop by the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park for some fishy fun. This aquarium is especially great for young 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 starfish. 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 Stingray Bay. Kids can pet a variety of rays in tanks designed so little hands can reach them. Watch out! They splash!
Head to downtown Dallas this Saturday night to Reunion Tower for the ultimate lawn party. This after dark community party will have something for everyone, a beer garden for mom and dad, gourmet food trucks–including the Cool Haus ice cream truck for the kids, and live music from the Tom Petty tribute band Petty Theft for everyone to chill out to. In true backyard fashion, there will also be lawn games you can rent or bring from home. Best of all, it’s free to get in.
Face it, you know you’re going to have to make one final dash to the mall before school starts. Bookmarks at NorthPark Mall is making that shopping trip a little more bearable with a free Tropical Hula Dance show from Grace Hula Dance. Kids can learn about the spirit of Aloha through Hula and Tahitian dancing and even join in the dance as well. This event happens Saturday morning on the lower level by the food court. Don’t forget to check out some books at Bookmarks while you’re there. This branch of the Dallas Public Library has a great selection of DVDs as well.