Whether vacation time, budget, or just – ahem – lack of planning has you grounded in the Dallas / Fort Worth metro area this spring break, don’t despair. MomsOutLoud.com has scoured local venues and events to pick the Top 12 things to do with your kids and family this March.
(Don’t forget to check out ourUltimate Guide to Local Museums and Attractionsfor more great ideas for things to do with your family over spring break.)
#1 – Come See the Animals.
We are lucky in Dallas / Fort Worth to have two great zoos in our metro area. Both the Dallas Zoo and the Fort Worth Zoo are world class. The Dallas Zoo will be opening their Giants of the Savannah exhibit in a couple of months (and, yes, we’ll have all the scoop here as time gets closer!). The Fort Worth Zoo is opening a brand new Herpetorium (that means reptile house in laywoman terms) called Museum of Living Art on March 6. This $19-million, 30,000-square-foot, indoor/outdoor facility, houses more than 100 amphibian and reptile species, representing more than 850 animals. This investment was done in response to the global amphibian crisis — 32 percent of the world’s amphibians are facing extinction in the next five to 10 years and some biologists liken it to the mass extinction of the dinosaur.
There are also a couple of other opportunities you may not know about – YET.
And, best yet, these are both wildlife rescues, which take in injured or unwanted animals and rehabilitate and care for them. Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch in Pilot Point (north west of Frisco) will have ‘Open to the Public” days on March 17 – 20 (they are normally only open on the weekends to keep operating costs down). Sharkarosa has a wide variety of wildlife, including camels, kangaroos, lemurs, and other unique creatures. In-Sync Exotics in Wylie, which rescues and shelters exotic cats, has tours on Saturdays and Sundays between 11am – 6pm.
#2 – Pull Your Strings at a Puppet Show.
Who knew there were so many opportunities coming up to see a puppet show? Well, uh, we did. Here are four in the DFW area showing during Spring Break: Dallas Children’s Theatre is showing Hansel & Gretel. Slappy’s Puppet Playhouse (in the Dallas Galleria) is showing Beauty & the Beast. The Dallas Puppet Theater will be in Coppell at the Coppell Center for the Arts to show two classic tales, The Princess & the Pea and The Tortoise & the Hare, for three days of the week (March 16-18). The Irving Arts Center is producing The Stinky Cheese Man on March 17, two performances only.
#3 – Stop and Smell the Tulips.
Dallas Blooms, the largest floral exhibit in the South, opens on March 6, and will be at its peak during Spring Break. If you’ve never seen the Dallas Arboretum at its showiest, you should make a point to bring the family out. There are lots of open areas for the kids to play, so don’t think stuffy formal gardens. They even have Mommy & Me Mondays and Tiny Tot Tuesday activities. You can get Buy 1 Get 1 Free Tuesdays coupons at any Capital One Bank branch, a $1 off admission coupon at any Tom Thumb, or click here to print a Buy 1 Get 1 Free Wednesdays coupon or a Senior Citizens $7.50 admission on Thursdays coupon.
#4 – Take a Walk Through the Trinity.
The Trinity River Audubon Center, located on 120 acres just 8 minutes from downtown Dallas, opened in October 2008 and has been adding great family programs since then. The land, formerly an illegal dump site, has been reclaimed by the City of Dallas and beautifully demonstrates how a municipal liability can be transformed into a major asset for people of all ages to enjoy. There are hands-on exhibits, 4 miles of nature viewing trails, a Children’s Discovery Garden, and many educational programs. Admission is free on the third Thursday of every month (which just so happens to be in Spring Break this month!), and they are doing a special session on Giant Spiders at 7pm that evening. See more at their website: .
#5 – Turn BACK the Clock – by a Century.
The dreaded “Spring Forward” (hardest tim
e change for kids, let me tell you) is during Spring Break (March 14 at 2 a.m., to be exact). Well, here’s a way to turn back that clock – by visiting Dallas Heritage Village’s Spring Fling. Costumed, living history interpreters will be on hand to show your family how kids had fun before TV and video games. See all the details at their website: on the Spring Fling event detail page.
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#6 – Help Haiti – and Learn About “The Forces of Nature“.
The Fort Worth Museum of Science & History has so many things to do for families (see our contributor articles about the museum by Mariah and Stefanie). One of the activities you can do at the FWMSH is to watch an Omni Imax movie. From every ticket sold for the Forces of Nature movie, which is billed as “as close as you’d ever want to be to some of the earth’s most violent natural disasters”, the museum will donate 50 cents to the relief effort in Haiti. Or, if your children are too young to enjoy this, Animalopolis is also showing, which is geared for the whole family, including young ones. And if neither of those sound appealing, Sharks is also on the Imax screen at FWMSH.
#7 – Go Through the Rabbit Hole.
By spring break, you may have already taken your children to see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. If so, they’ll probably be asking you for all sorts of Alice memorabilia. Well, come to the Dallas Museum of Art’s Late Night on Friday, March 19 from 6pm – midnight to celebrate all things Alice with Mad Hatter treasure hunts, concerts, and family activities. Details on the DMA website.
#8 – See a Fairy Tale.
The Artisan Theatre in Hurst will have extra showings of Sleeping Beauty throughout Spring Break week, and tickets are just $5 for all ages. About the Show:It’s Princess Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, and Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather must use their fairy magic to save her from the evil sorceress Maleficent! This classic fairy tale told Disney-style is made more lovely with Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music.
#9 –See a Favorite Movie on a Really BIG Screen.
The University of Arlington’s Planetarium shows movies for $2 every Wednesday & Friday at 5:30pm and Saturday at 2:30pm. During Spring Break week, the movie will be Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. See the March schedule of $2 movies here, or read more on the Planetarium at UTA’s website.
#10 – Take a Train Ride.
Everyone’s favorite engine, Thomas the Tank Engine, will be in town on the weekends of March 5-6-7 and March 12-13-14 to delight young train enthusiasts. Day Out With Thomas™ offers an opportunity for children and their grownups to take a 25 minute ride with Thomas the Tank Engine™ and to have their picture taken with Sir Topham Hatt™, the Superintendent of the Railroad. Every event includes Thomas & Friends™ storytelling, a viewing station for Thomas & Friends videos, temporary tattoos, and an Imagination Station. We even have a coupon code for $2 off your tickets to this event on MomsTalk – click here to see the details.
Running the entire Spring Break week (March 15 – March 21), the Spring Fling Train is a round trip from Grapevine to the Ft. Worth Stockyards which will take you through parts of DFW you may have never seen. Plus, the train is sure to get robbed along the way. See the Grapevine Community Calendar (link here) for all the details.
#11 – Learn How to be a Cow Hand.
The Fort Worth Stockyards are all about the Cowboy Way. During Spring Break week, they are offering special events on Wed, Thurs, and Fri (March 17, 18, 19). A petting zoo will be open from 11:30 – 3:00 and the CowCamp will run from 1:30 – 2:30pm. And, of course, the daily cattle drive will be held at 4:00 pm. More info at the Stockyards Station website.
#12 – Check Out Your Local Rec Center or Library for Special Programs.
There are many special events happening all around Dallas-Fort Worth through city programs that are designed to keep kids busy during spring break. A couple of examples are included here, but check your city website for the Parks & Rec department or the Library department for event calendars. Mansfield Activity Center is one of our personal faves; they are having a Spring Break Kids Zone Camp all week, and also hosting the Ft. Worth Zoo for an Animal Extravaganza on Tuesday, March 16 at 1:00pm and a Mad Science Demonstration on Thursday, March 18 at 1:00pm. Plano Public Libraries are having several events at different library locations, including movies, video games, and other activities. You can see the full calendar here.
There are so many great events and attractions in the metroplex! If we missed any you think Moms will want to know about, please comment below.