It’s all at ARTsPARK

posted by on 2014.04.03, under What to do today!

We love one-stop shops. Baby wipes, bananas, new bathing suit. One and done. Which is why we also love this family festival at NorthPark coming up this Saturday.

At the fifth annual ARTsPARK, more than 30 local arts and culture organizations (complete list online) are hosting live artist demonstrations, performances and activities of all sorts for all ages.

artspark 3Take the kids to NorthPark noon–4pm for fun with some of our favorite heavy hitters – Dallas Zoo, Dallas Children’s Theater – but also more that you may not yet have encountered.
–Indian Cultural Heritage Foundation
–Jane Austen Society of North America
–Kaligrafos (Dallas Calligraphy Society)
–Maguire Academy of Irish Dance
–Museum of Geometric and MADI Art

spark-titleYou’ll also have the opportunity to be a part of something else that’s building steam in Dallas. SPARK, while several years out from being completed, will be a “playground for the mind,” a highly interactive venue that focuses on showing kids ages 7–17 how to expanded their creativity – think painting, arts, sculpture, music, even woodworking. Much of the ideas, organizers say, are inspired by the mind-blowing City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.

SPARK is going to make a big unveiling at ARTsPARK, and your kids can take part in helping to build some of the features that will be part of the new venue.

Stay tuned for more info about ProtoSPARK, a prototype of the SPARK, expected to open later this summer to groups of visitors at the South Side on Lamar.

For more family-friendly events every day, visit the calendar at and sign up to receive our Weekend Guide newsletters each Thursday to your inbox.

Walking Among Dinosaurs


Today we got a sneak peek into the Perot Museum’s newest traveling exhibit – The World’s Largest Dinosaurs exhibit. While the exhibit is not a gallery lined wall-to-wall of giant dinosaurs (it does feature a colossal dino, the Mamenchisaurus, with a 30-foot-long neck), the exhibit is packed with fossils and features to show kids young and old(er) how their bodies worked. How do you breathe with a 30-foot-long neck? And what kind of engineering did their bone structure have to hold up said neck?

Get your tickets online to see the exhibit opening Thursday for members and to the public on Sunday. The hall on the bottom floor is loaded with interactive features, including a dino dig area in the raised sandbox. (The Perot’s Children’s Museum has a digging area more accessible for toddlers).

Have a seat in front of the Mamenchisaurus to watch the projected video demonstrate how its organs worked.DSCN1130

It sure had a set of lungs on it. DSCN1135

Behold, the world’s largest salad (aka, how much it ate in one day).DSCN1143

You’ve got to pump it up! Pump these levers to feel the blood pressure in a human compared to an African elephant.DSCN1148

While you’re there, check out more dinosaur fossils on the museum’s permanent hall on the fourth floor, and catch the 3-D film Dinosaurs – Giants of Patagonia, opening Thursday. Get a combo ticket for a discount to both the film and the new exhibit.

For more family-friendly events every day, visit the calendar at and sign up to receive our Weekend Guide newsletters each Thursday to your inbox.

Come On, Ride That Train


Courtesy of the Museum of the American RailroadThomas the Tank Engine rolls into downtown Grapevine’s Cotton Belt Depot today for the annual Day Out with Thomas.

While Thomas is in town all this weekend and the next, March 28–30 and April 4–6, take the kids to the train station for not only a half-hour ride on the life-sized version of their locomotive idol but all-day entertainment:
–Meet the Thomas’ train director, Sir Topham Hatt
–Ride the miniature Choo Choo Express trackless train
–Another miniature train, this one a model built by the local Lone Star Hi-Railers
–Magic shows, puppet shows and Boocoos the Clown
–Cuddle with furry and feathered animals in the petting zoo
–Build sandcastles in the Sandbox FunDig
–Storybook readings and more fun at the Imagination Station

Courtesy of the Museum of the American RailroadTickets start at $17 and the train departs every 45 minutes. Get your tickets early by calling 866/468-7630 or visiting

Thinking of throwing your kid a train-themed birthday party? See how one mom used Thomas as inspiration for her son’s fourth birthday bash.

For more family-friendly events every day, visit the calendar at and sign up to receive our Weekend Guide newsletters each Thursday to your inbox.

Just announced: Dallas Blooms festival extended


PeacocksHappy first day of spring! The Dallas Arboretum is extending its Dallas Blooms festival through Easter, April 20, which means a whole month more to see the peacock topiaries and more play dates in the Pecan Grove. Bring the kids on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10am–2pm for face painting, a petting zoo, crafts and Kindermusik, free with garden admission.

The arboretum had previously postponed the cherry blossom viewing festival, called Hanami, from last Sunday for the cold weather and rescheduled it for this Sunday, March 23. The forecast doesn’t look so hot for this Sunday either but Texas weather, as we know, is predictably unpredictable.

Check out the arboretum’s bird-centric entertainment schedule, after it’s Birds in Paradise theme, and next Saturday, a special children’s performance by the Dallas Opera next door at the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

For more of the best family entertainment in DFW, sign up for Weekend Guide newsletter, sent to your inbox each Thursday.

Sharks on a Mission

posted by on 2014.03.07, under What to do today!

SEA LIFE Aquarium has just opened an interactive zone called Shark Mission in honor of the ever-terrifying, ever-fascinating creatures. You and the kids can learn about different species, get a look at their anatomy and play games on four large touchscreens, while a cartoon shark with an Australian accent narrates. DSCN1055

The redesigned Shark Walk – the room with the glass-bottom floors so you can peer into the ocean tank from above – has been outfitted with information about the prehistoric Megaladon, whose teeth were 10-times larger than the great whites we know today. How big is that? Head downstairs to stand inside the giant set of Mega-jaws. DSCN1084

Stop by the discovery touch pools to see shark teeth and eggs for yourself, and to see SEA LIFE’s own sharks in action, time your visit around 2pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays when divers feed them from inside the ocean tank.DSCN1053

For more family-friendly events every day, visit the calendar at and sign up to receive our Weekend Guide newsletters each Thursday to your inbox.

Preview of new Indiana Jones exhibit


DSCN1032aI cannot pretend to hide my excitement about Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology, opening Saturday at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

This morning, we got a preview through the exhibit featuring clips and behind-the-scenes footage, tons of costumes and props from all four films, which for lesser movie buffs are: Raiders of the Lost Ark (’81), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (’84), the Last Crusade (’89), and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ‘(08).

DSCN1036We took a look at Indiana’s original outfit from hat to holster, Shia LaBeouf’s motorcycle, the enormously shiny ark of the covenant. Alas, no giant rolling boulder.

DSCN1045But the exhibit’s purpose in addition to reminiscing about Indy’s adventures (don’t miss the first stop on the audio tour, an intro voiced by Harrison Ford himself) is to educate you and the kids on pieces of actual archaeological history. Make sure you walk through all the smaller exhibit rooms to get a look at artifacts – pottery, jewelry, carvings – from the ancient Nazca civilization, Machu Picchu and more locales unearthed by famous archaeologists.

DSCN1044aPick up a tablet on your way in so you can listen to the audio guide and play along with the virtual treasure hunt for the kids. Swipe your tablet over these pillars for clues and then check out your pieced-together artifact on a big screen and compare your scores.

2014-03-06 10.59.08I had a great time reliving Indiana’s adventures, at least until these two brutes kicked me out. I don’t know who they think they are.


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