Do you know what the most important thing you’ll do to prepare for Thanksgiving is? No, it’s not transferring the bird from the freezer to the frig or figuring out the sleeping arrangments–although both of those are extremely important. No, what’s REALLY important is devising the all-important strategy of getting the family out of the house this weekend. Because, although you love each and every one of them to pieces, there’s only so much togetherness a family can stand.
Here are some activities to get everyone out of the house (and out of your hair). They’re fun, too. Trust me, even Great Aunt Gertrude will have a good time.
Feeling logy after that big meal? Work it off those post-Thanksgiving pounds with a little outdoor ice skating. You and the family can take a spin around the ice at Panther Island Ice, Fort Worth’s only outside ice skating rink. The popular rink opens this Friday and is back for another year of holiday skating at Panther Island Pavilion. You and the family can skate to your heart’s content until Jan. 19. Admission is $11, which includes skate rental. Farmers Branch also has an outdoor rink this holiday season at Children’s Health StarCenter. Their rink opens the day after Thanksgiving and has skating until Jan. 17. Admission is $15, including skate rental.
The State Fair of Texas might be over, but Fair Park is a great place to seek out fun. Take a long walk down the Esplanade and check out the historical buildings, murals, and artwork that you never notice or appreciate when you’re racing for that Corney dog during State Fair time. Stop by Leonhardt Lagoon on Saturday for Pop-Up Park Days. The lagoon will be transformed with holiday-themed activities, art-making, storytimes, and drum circles. Next, flutter on over to Texas Discovery Gardens and take a tour of the butterfly house. You’ll see 61 different varieties of butterflies, a 2-story tropical garden the butterflies call home, and even a honeybee tree. Finish up the day with a stop at the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park for some fishy fun. It’s located just a short walk from Texas Discovery Gardens. The aquarium 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. 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!
If you’ve got a family who just can’t wait for the yuletide season to begin you’re in luck because the elaborate 12 Days of Christmas exhibit is back for another year at the Dallas Arboretum. The display features a collection of large Victorian gazebos–12 to be exact–filled with costumed characters and scenery made in the theme of the famous Christmas carol. The garden is also featuring the world premiere of a new Christmas Village. Inspired by the European Christmas markets, The Village is comprised of 13 shops and elaborate illustrations and façades that represent a European hamlet. Each shop varies in size, from 16 to 19 feet, and has space for several children and adult guests to experience at the same time.
For even more seasonal fun, load up grandma and the kiddos and head over to Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie for Prairie Lights. This drive-thru experience is the mother of all light displays. It features 4 million twinkling lights set along 2 miles of path, many of which arch over the roadway. At the halfway point you can stop at the Holiday Village for some hot chocolate and kettle corn. Let the littles take a romp through the Holiday Magic Walk-Through Forest. The lights are on view through Dec. 31 and admission is $45 per car.
If you’re a thrill-seeker and just can’t stay away from the mall this weekend, be sure to take time out from your shop-o-palooza to catch Missile Toes, the famous ice skating, back flipping, pyrotechnic Santa Claus at Galleria Dallas. Friday at noon and Saturday at 6 p.m., the big guy will be performing with local children around the country’s tallest indoor Christmas tree as part of the Grand Tree Lighting Celebration. He’ll also play host to an array of national and international skating celebrities this holiday season, including 2018 Olympic Team Champion, Patrick Chan who’ll be there Friday at noon.
For a complete list of all the fun happening this season, check out Art&Seek’s Holiday Events Theme.