Top 11 Things to Do During Your Spring Break Staycation in DFW!

Staying around Dallas-Ft. Worth this spring break?
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You and me both . . .or should I say, you and your kids and me and my kids – all of us.  There’s no excuse for just hanging around – so much is going on around DFW during this break, you will find some wonderful activities to do with the your family.  (And, if you’d rather find Spring Break Day Camps / Drop-Off Camps, see our guide on MomsPlan.)

Enjoy your holiday with the kids!

#1 – Stop and Smell the Flowers:

The annual Dallas Blooms! festival at the Dallas Arboretum starts on March 7 and promises to be just as spectacular as years before.  With over 450,000 spring bulbs and 3000 azaleas, this is a breathtaking place to spend a day.  During Dallas Blooms, 14 Storybook Playhouses will be on display throughout the grounds, each based on a favorite children’s story.  Specials on the weekdays include Mommy & Me Mondays and Tiny Tots Tuesdays, with face painting, petting zoo, music, and crafts from 10am – 2pm on both days.  Two for One Wednesdays allows you to print a coupon from their website (PLEASE NOTE – I couldn’t find the link, so print out the Dallas Blooms page and I’m sure they’ll take it!) and get one free admission with purchase of at least one adult regular price admission.  Artscape will be held on March 21-22, and will feature artists from around the country with art for sale, wine tasting, food, entertainment, and fun for everyone. 

For your visit, make an appointment with Amy Columbus Photography, who is offering a special “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” session discount of $25 off for MomsOutLoud.com readers.  See her coupon or profile page on MomsOutLoud.com.

#2 – Check out Summer Camps and Area Kid Businesses:

On March 14 (the first Saturday of Spring Break), from 10am – 3pm, you’ll be able to check out more than 20 local Summer Camps under one roof! Gattitown in Frisco is hosting this Summer Camp fair, which will include local vendors like Frisco YMCA, RoughRiders, Sweet & Sassy, Express Cheer and more!   Plus, enter to win one of 18 FREE summer camps/workshops!  MomsOutLoud.com will be there with our friends at North Texas Kids, so please stop by and say hello. (Purchase of buffet is required at entry.)

The Dallas Kids Expo will also be held over Spring Break week, on March 21 and 22. Held at Dallas Market Hall, this  two-day event is jam-packed with interactive games, hands-on-learning activities, educational workshops, exhibitor booths, and continuous entertainment for the entire family to enjoy.  $7 admission for adults on-site or $5 pre-sale, $1 for kids under 12 (free with a canned food). 

#3 – Explore the Animal World:

If you think hay rides and mazes are only available in the fall during “pumpkin patch” season, you’re wrong.  Country Critter Farms is having its Grand Opening in Mansfield on March 21.  Now, on weekends, you can visit this petting zoo and farm without a reservation.  Pet the animals, take a train ride, find your way through the maze.  There’s lots to do for young and old.  The Peter Rabbit Trail starts on March 21, where the kids follow Peter Rabbit’s footprints through the vegetable garden, past giant eggs, through the bird and butterfly garden, and finally to Peter Rabbit himself.  Admission to the farm is $7 for children under 12 (under 18 mo. are free); adults $5.

Also in Mansfield, on March 17, members of the Fort Worth Zoo staff will be bringing some of their most exotic animals to the Mansfield Activities Center for you to see up close.  After this Animal Extravaganza presentation, stick around and enjoy some snacks and crafts with an animal theme.  $5 for children aged 2 and up.

Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch in Pilot Point is a great place to take your family to see a wide range of animals.  Sitting on 126 acres, it houses around 100 animals (70 permanent residents and 30 rescues/fosters).  Some of the animals on the ranch are kangaroos, lemurs, camel, buffalo, a sloth, and lots more.  Gates open at 10am and close at 4:30pm on Public Days, which include March 14 and March 19 -21.

The Heard Museum in McKinney has two exhibits open right now:  Inside a Beehive and Animals Around the World.  Loaned by Sharkarosa (see above) and the New Braunfels Snake Farm, the Animals Around the World exhibit features many different animals, including a porcupine, kinkajou, mongoose, and wallaby.  Additionally, the 2009 entries to the Heard’s annual photography contest will be on display.

Another option to see animals in a smaller setting is Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville.  This is also a true gem, a great place for little ones because it’s got a wonderful variety of animals in a more “contained” area.  On March 17, they are celebrating Frank Buck’s birthday and will have zoo admission for “a buck a head” ($1).  You can also explore the World’s only Frank Buck exhibit located in the zoo gift shop (yes, he really does deserve an exhibit; check out his colorful bio on the Frank Buck Zoo website).  Who knew that the father of modern-day zoos was born in Gainesville?  Or that the Zoo was born as a Community Circus?  Interesting.

Join us in celebrating Frank “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” Buck’s birthday. In honor of Frank Buck’s birthday zoo admission will be “a buck a head” ($1). Explore the World’s only Frank Buck exhibit located in the zoo gift shop. Enjoy birthday cake while it lasts!

#4 – Get Your Green On:

Fort Worth Stockyards is hosting a Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Event on March 14.   Pony rides, petting zoo, Radio Disney, face painting, and more!  Cow herding at 4pm, followed by the  Cowtown Goes Green Parade.  Festivities run from 1-4pm.  If you miss the St. Paddy’s event, check out Spring Break Fun the Cowboy Way at the Stockyards between March 18 – 20, where they will have a petting zoo (11:30-4:30pm daily), CowHerd Camp (1:30 – 4:30 pm daily) and cattle drive (4pm daily). 

Another kind of St. Patty’s Party is happening at Bounce U in Carrollton, with a Family Bounce Night on March 17 (6-8:30pm). Wear green and bring some St. Patty’s artwork in and get $1 off admission.  They’ll even take care of dinner for an additional cost.

#5 – Bounce Around:

Many area bounce places are offering special Open Play times during Spring Break, in addition to Summer Camps.  In Carrollton, check out Bounce U, which is having Open Bounce on Monday, March 16 and Friday, March 20. They’re also hosting special evening events that week, including a Family Bounce Night on St. Patrick’s Day (see above, too) and a Rockin’ Rock Band Tween Night on Thursday, March 18 (ages 12-14).

Pump It Up Dallas is hosting 3 additional Pop In Play times during Spring Break Week.  They will have two play times (10-11:30am and 12-1:30pm) on Tues/Wed/Fri March 17, 18, and 20.  And for the littler ones, Pump It Up, Jr. in Plano will keep their same schedule of Pop In Play times (10am – 12pm) on Tues/Wed/Fri March 17, 18, and 20 (Thursday being toddler only). 

Boomerang’s in Plano, Flower Mound, and Hurst are having spring break camps all week.  Additionally, they are offering a special during spring break week on food:  pizza and a pitcher of soda/lemonade for $13.99 (regular price is $19.98) – that’s a 30% discount!.  

#6 – Arts & Crafts:

The Dallas Museum of Art is having their monthly Late Nights at the DMA on March 20.  If you haven’t been to this fun event yet, you can see pictures and find out more in the article we did on them two weeks ago.  This month’s event is particularly special because Judy Schachner, the author of the Skippyjon Jones books will be there – what a treat!  MomsOutLoud.com is also giving away FREE Family of 4 Passes on MomsReview, so don’t forget to enter the contest!

Also, every weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 1-3:39, the DMA hosts [WE]ekends at the DMA.  This month, learn about the animals, both pets and gods, in ancient Egypt by visiting the King Tut exhibition and the Museum’s own ancient Egyptian collection on Level 3.  Afterward, kids can create a mask of his/her favorite animal to wear.

#7 – Learn About Science:

The Dallas Museum of Nature & Science is having their “Raise the Roof” Exhibit, which teaches kids all about buildings, how they are built, and the laws of physics behind them.  From a Mongolian yurt, to a collapsible dome, to an “inside” view of a 40-foot skyscraper, there’s a lot to see.  (Special ticket offer from March 14 – April 19; bring in paintbrushes/rollers and get a child’s admission free, see website for full details).  In addition to that great exhibit, special Discovery Days are happening on the second Saturday of the month.  On March 14, this special extra will be called Discover Construction, an exploration of green buildings.  Chock-full of hands-on activities, demonstrations, exhibits, and so much more, these daylong programs offer a new twist to learning about science.

Mad Science will be hosting Slimy Adventures at Mansfield Activities Center on March 19.  Come see our Mad Science Circus of Experiments and watch Binky The Famous Flea eat the color blue, from 3-4pm.  Stay after the show to participate in our workshop from 4-5pm and make your own Mad Science Putty to take home!  $3 per child age 2 and older for presentation portion; stay for workshop for $12.

#8 – Get Moving, Get Outside!

The Fort Worth Nature & Refuge Center is a hidden gem of nature, just outside the city limits of Ft. Worth.  For Spring Break, they have a variety of events going on, including a Canyon Ridge Hike (March 14), Canoe Rides (March 15 & 18), Feeding the Bison(March 17 & 19), and more.  Many of these events are limited on space, so pre-registration is required.  See the Fort Worth Nature & Refuge Center website for more details.

#9 – See a Show:

While Spring Break is not the busiest time for live children’s theater, there are a few prime options on the weekends kicking off and closing spring break week.

  • Schoolhouse Rock! Jr. will be shown at Theater Arlington, with performances on Friday and Saturday night at 7:30pm, and matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, March 13-15.  Performed by an all-youth cast, you’ll love to share such favorites as “I’m Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction What’s Your Function?” with your kids.
  • Disney’s High School Musical will be shown at The Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth from March 10 – 15.  Specifically on the first weekend of Spring Break, showtimes are on Friday/Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 7pm, with matinees on Saturday/Sunday at 2pm, March 13-15.  Watch Troy and Gabriella follow their dreams and score the lead roles in their high school musical.
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit will kick off a month-long run on March 20, sponsored by the Dallas Children’s Theater.  This is a puppet show that will delight kids aged 4 and over.
  • Disney on Ice! begins on March 18 at the American Airlines Center, showtimes vary by date.  Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Adventure takes you on a journey through the magical worlds of The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Peter Pan, and Lilo & Stitch.

#10 – Libraries Aren’t Just for Books:

While we hope that the weather during Spring Break will keep us mostly outside, many area libraries are having special events this week while kids are out of school.  You can find the full “story” on our searchable calendar of events, but here’s a few highlights that are too interesting not to mention.

  • The Woodland West Branch Library in Arlington is having a Triply Play Movie Days from March 16-18, 2-4pm.  Teens in grades 7 through 12 are invited to watch a movie a day from a popular trilogy (hint: McFly, Delorean, etc.).
  • The Southeast Branch Library in Arlington is having a Wii FREE Play Night and Day on Tues, March 17 from 2-5pm.  All games and equipment will be provided – please do not bring your own. Space is limited.
  • The Lake Arlington Branch Library in Arlington is hosting an Alien Invasion! Mystery Game on Fri, March 20 from 2-4:30pm.  Kids between the ages of 12-18 can help find the aliens among us.
  • The Coppell Public Library has several events during spring break, including showing High School Musical on Tuesday, March 17 and Madagascar Escape 2 Africa on March 19.  On March 18, the Creature Teacher will perform.  All programs at 3pm.
  • The Schimelpfenig Library in Plano is hosting Press Play @ Your Library, with games, crafts and other activities.  On Wed, March 18, 2-3:30pm.

#11 – Day Trip:

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose is a fun day trip.  Located 55 miles SW of Fort Worth and 75 miles SW of Dallas, it is a hike, but well worth it to drive through the 9.5 mile trek through 1700 acres of open space.  You’ll see many different types of wildlife – including giraffes, antelope, rhinos, emus, and so many more.  On March 20, they are hosting a special Discovery After Dark event from 7-10pm, a unique chance to go on a guided after-dark adventure through the park ($45/person, includes tickets to the scenic drive that can be used the day of or day after).

While you are out that way, you should stop at Dinosaur Valley State Park, which contains some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world.  (The dinosaur tracks are located in the riverbed, so please call ahead to check on river conditions.)

Rebekah Cooksey - Moms Out Loud Founder

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