Get your feet wet with these watery (and water-inspired) activities on Monday and Tuesday in Dallas-Fort Worth. First up, today the Perot Museum in Dallas opens its new ocean-themed exhibit that features your own creations as works of art, and on Tuesday, you can join the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson at multiple pools and aquatic centers in the area.
Recycle Reef opens
The newest exhibit at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, open today, is actually a giant activity station where you and the kids can create sea creatures from recyclable craft materials and learn about the importance of recycling at the same time. Grab pieces of cardboard and find a spot at one of the 90 craft stations, look around the room for your craft inspiration – seahorses, eels, crabs, sharks – and spent as much time as you like fashioning your own ocean animal. Then take your creation home, or head into the second section of the exhibit and an attendant will help you add your craft to Recycle Reef’s kelp forest, deep ocean, shipwreck or coral reef. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for kids 2–11, plus a $2 surcharge.
World’s Largest Swimming Lesson
On Tuesday, thousands of swimmers around the world will try for a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records and attempt to break the 2011 record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson. Grab your swimsuits and goggles and visit worldslargestswimminglesson.org to find the nearest participating location to you. Each of the 17 Dallas community pools is hosting the free, swimming event at 10am on Tuesday.
In addition to being a great excuse to head out to the pool, the swimming lesson is meant to educate families and prevent drowning, which the organization says is the second leading cause of injury-related death of kids ages 1–14. For tips on water safety, visit worldslargestswimminglesson.org/water-safety. Be safe and have fun this summer!
Sign up to receive our Weekend Guide newsletters each Thursday to your inbox, and for more family-friendly events every day, visit the calendar at dfwchild.com/calendar.
Give your kids a chance to connect with children of the Holocaust by visiting a new exhibit at the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance. In A Monument of Good Deeds, open today, see interactive panels with sketches, poems, diaries and handmade games created by 13 children and young adults of the Holocaust – all victims but with a message of hope that has lasted the decades since. Encourage the kids to submit their own records of good deeds by visiting dallasholocaustmuseum.org.
To find more family-friendly events, visit the calendar at dfwchild.com/showcalendar.asp.
Star Party at Farmers Branch Historical Park
With a short drive to Farmers Branch, you can get a look at star clusters and more celestial bodies from millions of miles away during the city’s Star Party, hosted by the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas. Look through the members’ high-powered telescopes or bring your own telescope for the event from dusk–9pm. Free.
Titanic – The Artifact Exhibition
The Titanic exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, originally set to leave March 24, has been extended through April 28. Don’t wait any longer to see the 250 restored artifacts and recreated rooms in the exhibit that commemorate the ship’s 100th anniversary. Exhibit admission is $26 for adults, $18 for ages 4–12 and $10 for ages 2–3.
Save the date for Father/Daughter Prom
Registration is open for Flower Mound’s 14th annual Father/Daughter Prom on April 13 from 6–9pm at the DFW Lakes Hilton Hotel in Grapevine. The evening dance with dinner and entertainment is for dads and daughters ages 4–13. Registration is $70 per couple and $25 per additional child, and professional photos will be available for purchase. Register by March 24. Call 972/874-6276 or visit flower-mound.com.
To find more family-friendly events, visit the calendar at dfwchild.com/showcalendar.asp.
Tomorrow the Dallas Blooms festival begins at the Dallas Arboretum. While you’re walking through the display gardens and breathing in the perfume from the half a million tulips; 100,00 pansies, violas and poppies; and 6,000 azaleas, check out The Adventures of Great Explorers, the arboretum’s new exhibit of six playhouses inspired by the destinations of notable explorers in history.
The playhouses include a tiki hut to represent Captain James Cook, the first European to visit the Hawaiian Islands, and Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth (a destination we wish he had found). The kids will really love the Aztec pyramid representing the travels of Hernán Cortés. The pyramid has steps and a tall bright red slide built into the design.
In another section of the garden, you’ll see an Asian pagoda with foo dogs standing guard to mark Marco Polo’s travels to China. The pagoda and adjacent pond will be even more gorgeous when the cherry blossom trees behind the playhouse are in full bloom. And of course, Lewis and Clark’s journey across North America is remembered with a large teepee and dugout canoe. The exhibit will be up through December 31.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science opens Dec. 1
Get excited: In just 5 weeks, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will open its doors (and glass-sided elevators) to families in the DFW area. With 11 permanent exhibit halls and a traveling exhibition gallery, the museum promises the best in scientific fun for families. Today we got a sneak peak of the state-of-the-art Hoglund Foundation Theater and two exhibit halls on Level 4 of the Museum.
The 298-seat theater is gorgeous; the design reflects the textured façade of the museum. But the magic really begins when you don your 3D glasses and watch everything from prehistoric predators to animated turtles come to life on the screen. Today we saw previews of two National Geographic films, Sea Monsters and Meerkats, both showing this winter (and both looking spectacular in that in-your-face mode of the latest 3D technology). The Perot Museum will be keeping prices low, with $5 tickets for short films in the morning and $6–$8 tickets for longer films in the afternoon and evening. Expect exclusive Nat-Geo reels, animated stories, live streaming and anything else you could watch from the comfort of a gently-reclining theater seat.
Dancing Water Molecules
What I love about this museum is that no space is wasted. Just about every space in the museum provides an experience, from the musical stairs to the elevators that reveal their mechanisms, from the dancing water molecules in the Level 4 atrium to the solar-powered hanging sculpture by Daniel Chadwick. You and the kiddos will discover something new everywhere you look. This place is an explorer’s dream – and the whimsy will please kids and kids-at-heart alike (you should have seen me ogling those molecules).
Locally unearthed specimens in the T. Boone Pickens Hall.
But if you can drag the kiddos away from the musical stairs, the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall and the adjoining Rose Hall of Birds will be must-sees. And once the young ones spy the monstrous Alamosaurus towering over the exhibit hall, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble luring them in. The Pickens Hall houses other dinosaur skeletons, many, like the relatively small Dallasaurus, unearthed locally – which may have your kids begging to go fossil-hunting. You will also find contemporary specimens, such as moose and bison, that are used to make comparisons to prehistoric animal lifestyles.
Alamosaurus and T-Rex in the T. Boone Pickens Hall
The Hall of Birds is one I wish existed when I was growing up. It’s all about interactive learning, including a station-by-station Build Your Own Bird activity where kids can design everything from feathers to songs of their very own species – and then see it fly. Or they can stand in front of a 3D screen and maneuver an eagle through mountainous terrain using their own body movements. Think Wii, but without the remote and with more educational value.
Though we only toured a small part of the 180,000-square-foot museum, I’m already excited to return when the whole thing opens up. This is exactly the kind of museum I would have loved when I was a kid – and that I know I will still enjoy now. It’s snazzy, it’s scientific and it’s all about making connections to the here-and-now.
Patience, my friends. December 1 will be here soon enough. In the meantime, visit perotmuseum.org for more information.
It’s been a busy morning of announcements. Lighted exhibits at both the Dallas Arboretum and at Fair Park have been extended. Originally slated to end November 5, the Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum will be extended through December 31. The gardens will be open for Chihuly Nights from 6–9 pm Monday through Wednesday evenings and each night from December 26–30. The dramatic glass sculptures – made by renowned artist Dale Chihuly and installed at 15 locations throughout the arboretum – are even more breathtaking at night. Visit dallasarboretum.org.
Over at Fair Park, the Chinese Lantern Festival, an elaborate nightscape over the lagoon, will reopen on November 1 for display through January 6, 2013. The festival, which had previously ended with the close of the State Fair on October 21, will be open nightly from 5–10pm. If you didn’t make it there during the fair, this is your chance to see the peacocks, flamingos, a 50-foot pagoda and a giant dragon as well as cattle and bluebonnets. Visit chineselanternfestival.com and note that tickets for kids 4–12 on Monday through Wednesday are half price until December 1.