May 27, 2014

Free or cheap summer activities for kids in DFW

These fun-filled activities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will keep children busy and parents free of frustration.

Rants, raves, reviews and resources for Dallas-Fort Worth parents

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last updated on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. New events will appear at the top of the list; outdated events will appear at the bottom.

At least one time during the summer, moms and dads everywhere here this familiar refrain: “I’m bored.”

These fun-filled activities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will keep children busy and parents free of frustration. Some of these ongoing events are absolutely free.

Keep checking back for updates on events as the summer progresses. Please feel free to add any suggestions in the comments below.

Have a great summer!


Meet-and-greet with “The LEGO® Movie” characters

To celebrate the release of the DVD, fans can meet with costumed characters Emmet and Wyldstyle in the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth retail shop. While you're waiting, you could also snap your picture with 6-foot-tall LEGO model replicas of Emmet and Wyldstyle.

Good to know: Character meet-and-greets are free and open to the public, but limited spots are available. Get special discounts to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth with “The LEGO® Movie” DVD purchase. Follow @ldcdfw on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a chance to win minifigures from “The LEGO® Movie”.

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, June 21, 2014 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, June 22, 2014

Where: LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth at Grapevine Mills Mall, 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, Texas 76051

Info: 877-818-1677;

Cost: FREE!


YMCA Community Swim Program

The YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth is once again opening three of its outdoor pools to Fort Worth residents. Through August 17, City of Fort Worth residents can access three YMCA pools with no membership dues required (daily admission prices required). The three Fort Worth pools are: Eastside YMCA, E.R. Van Zandt Southwest YMCA and Westside YMCA.

Good to know: This is the fifth year the City of Fort Worth and the YMCA have partnered on the Community Swim Program.

When: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., June 10, 2014 through August 17, 2014

Where: Eastside YMCA, 1500 Sandy Lane, Fort Worth, 76112; E.R. Van Zandt Southwest YMCA, 4750 Barwick Drive, Fort Worth, 76132; and Westside YMCA, 8201 Calmont Avenue, 76116


Cost: Daily admission prices are $2, adults and $1, children 17 and younger


Free Family Summer Programs at DMA

Throughout June and July the Dallas Museum of Art will offer daily free activities that will include story telling and family tours.

Good to know: General admission is free every day. Some art classes have fees and require reservations.

Recommended ages: All

When: Story Time is at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays in June and July; Family Tours at 2 p.m. Thursdays in June and July.

Where: Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., Dallas, TX 75201

Info: 214-922-1200,

Cost: FREE!


Levitt Pavilion Summer Concert Series

Arlington’s outdoor pavilion offers free weekend concerts, sponsored by the Star-Telegram, through July 13. There is also a Children’s Concert Series that runs June 11 through July 9 with concerts at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Check web site for schedule.

Good to know: Bring blankets, lawn chairs, picnics and coolers to enjoy the outdoor lawn concerts. Beer and wine are allowed, but no glass containers. Don’t forget the bug repellant. Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash at all times and cleaned up after.

Recommended ages: All

When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays through July 13. Children’s concerts are at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, June 11-July 9.

Where: Levitt Pavilion at Founders Plaza, 100 W. Abram St., Arlington (intersection of Abram and Center streets, directly across the street from City Hall)

Info: 817-543-4301,

Cost: FREE!


Sunset Cinema at Amon Carter Museum

Beginning May 29, the Amon Carter Museum will offer a free outdoor film series called “Sunset Cinema.” You can pack a picnic dinner and bring blankets to watch the series on the museum lawn. Here is the film schedule:

May 29: Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958; PG)

June 26: Toy Story (1995; G)

July 31: Chicago (2002; PG-13)

Good to know: No glass bottles, alcohol or pets. Get updates on the program -- changes due to weather, etc. -- via text message or e-mail, call 817-989-5030 or e-mail

Recommended ages: Check film ratings above for age guidelines.

When: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday, May 29; June 26; July 31. The lawn opens at 6 p.m. and if you arrive early, you can enjoy a tour of the museum from 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Films begin at 8:30 p.m.

Where: Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76107

Info: 817-738-1933,

Cost: Free!


Grapevine Summer Blast

Every Friday night from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Grapevine features a 12-minute fireworks show over Lake Grapevine.

Good to know: Best viewing locations are your favorite lake parks or on top of the parking garage at the Gaylord Texan Resort, which is home to the Garage Rock Out Party.

Recommended ages: All

When: 9:30 p.m. Fridays beginning Friday, May 23 through Labor Day.

Where: Lake Grapevine, Grapevine, Texas


Cost: FREE!


Summer Fun at Studio A

Each month, “Summer Fun in Studio A” will introduce new learning activities that explore thematic “do-it-together” activities focusing on color, along with a reading nook and digital interactive station. These play-based, content-rich experiences will connect with artworks on view and concepts in early childhood development. Opening day will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 25 and will include studio-art activities for little ones and mini-classes for parents about exploring art with their children. Grand opening day visitors will also receive a special “colorific” gift.

Good to know: Space is limited, however, no reservations are required.

Recommended ages: Children 5 and younger

When: Saturday, May 24 through Sunday, August 31

Where: Piano Pavilion Education Studio A, Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76107-2792

Info: 817-332-8451;

Cost: FREE!


Passport to Imagination at Michaels

The annual in-store program invites children to explore culture through crafts, and this year Irving-based Michaels has partnered with seven of North America’s best museums including The Perot Museum to create a museum road trip with projects that correspond to each museum’s exhibits. The six other museums are the Georgia Aquarium, The Field Museum, The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), the Denver Art Museum, the Pima Air & Space Museum and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Register for classes online at

Good to know: During the week of June 16, the first 50 participants at each store will receive a free souvenir album. Parents can purchase additional themed project kits each week to complete with their kids at home.

Recommended ages: Ages 5 to 12

When: 10 a.m. to Noon, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from June 16 through Aug. 2.

Where: Participating Michaels stores


Cost: $2 per child for two-hour classes.

• • • 

Photography Workshop

Young photographers, ages 12 through 17, can sharpen their skills at this free workshop. Edgar Miller, education director at Fort Worth Camera, will present a basic tutorial while allowing participants to shoot live subjects at the Ranch Sorting National Championships at The Will Rogers Memorial Complex. Participants will also tour the Barbara Van Cleve “Hard Twist” exhibit at the National Cowgirl Museum.

Good to know: The workshop is free but RSVP is required and space is limited. Contact Bethany Dodson at 817-509-8665 or Registration closes on Monday, June 9.

Recommended ages: 12-17

When: 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 10.

Where: National Cowgirl Museum, 1720 Gendy Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107


Cost: FREE!


Action Hero Saturday

The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will host a fun day of learning. The day starts at 9 a.m. with local heroes, Fire Station #18 firefighters, who will have their fire truck on display outside the main Lantern entrance. Pick up free comic books, posters, and other give-aways while on your way into exhibits. Children will also get the chance to meet Star Wars and Star Trek characters as well as watch live Indiana Jones stunts at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.! Little superheroes can make their own capes or color super heroes. Special guest speakers will be sharing what it’s like to “Being a Hero” and how you can be one too!

Good to know: Tickets to Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology or the Omni Theater, an IMAX dome, can be purchase at an additional charge.

Recommended ages: All

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, June 7

Where: 1600 Gendy Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Info: 817-255-9540,

Cost: Action Hero Saturday is included with general admission: $15 adults; $11 children (2-12); $13 seniors (65+); Museum members are free. Admission is half off for children 12 and younger in a full hero costume and free for active military per each military I.D.


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