Mari's Moments

Free family fun on spring break

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art offers a free Family Fun Week during spring break, where kids and their families can explore, hear stories and create their own artist-inspired works of art.
The Amon Carter Museum of American Art offers a free Family Fun Week during spring break, where kids and their families can explore, hear stories and create their own artist-inspired works of art. Star-Telegram archives

For parents, spring break is a love-hate proposition. Sure, it’s nice for kids to get a break from studies and homework, but the prospect of having to spend hard-earned cash for activities to entertain those children so soon after the holiday deluge can be daunting. For a family of four, a spring break jaunt could easily set you back a couple thousand dollars, and even a well-planned staycation can cost hundreds of dollars.

How can your family have fun during spring break without breaking the bank?

Here are some free options in Dallas-Fort Worth, broken down by a child’s interest, that will keep your students happy without making a dent on your family budget.

Read about unique Spring Break activities here.

For the artist

Get creative at Amon Carter Museum of American Art

This year’s Fun Week at the Amon Carter is geared toward tweens and teens. The museum will offer gallery games, creativity challenges, printmaking and an art project that have been designed to get older children to create, compete and consider American art in a new way. Parents and caregivers should plan on staying at the museum with kids younger than 16 during Fun Week hours.

Recommended for: 11 and older

When: 1-3 p.m. March 14 through March 17

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

Info: 817-989-5030;

Good to know: Admission to the museum is always free.

Spring Break Wonders at the Modern

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is usually closed Mondays, but will offer free admission March 13. In addition, spring break programming will also be available through March 16. Each session is led by a docent and includes a gallery project designed by the education department.

Don’t forget to check out a free sketchbook at the admission desk.

Recommended for: All ages

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 13; spring break sessions are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. through March 17.

Where: 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth

Info: 817-738-9215;

Good to know: On March 13, Cafe Modern will open the Modern Grill and serve hot dogs, chips and cookies from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each child 12 and younger will get a free hot dog and bag of chips.

For the nature lover

Explore BRIT

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas is open for free public tours every Thursday and the first Saturday of every month. Learn about BRIT research programs and the herbarium, and take a tour of the new LEED platinum home. On First Saturdays, explore the pocket prairie, participate in plant IDs or attend storytime.

Recommended for: All ages

When: 1:30 p.m. Thursdays; 9 a.m.-noon, first Saturday of the month

Where: 1700 University Drive, Fort Worth

Info: 817-332-4441,

Good to know: BRIT offers a preschool program and summer camp.

Take in the beauty at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Down the road from BRIT, head over to the oldest botanic garden in Texas. By March, you’ll see peach, cherry, and crab apple trees bloom and you might even spot tulips and daffodils.

Recommended for: All ages

When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Where: 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth

Info: 817-392-5510,

Good to know: The main garden is free. There are fees for the Japanese Garden and conservatory.

For the music lover

Listen to the classics through Bancroft Family Concerts

The Bancroft Family Concerts series, presented by the Fine Arts Chamber Players, is a casual introduction to classical music for youngsters. Upcoming concerts include the Brahms Trio, the Cliburn in Concert and the Cézanne Quartet.

Recommended for: All ages

When: Doors open at 2:30 p.m., performance at 3 p.m. March 25, April 15 and May 13

Where: Horchow Auditorium at Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., Dallas


Good to know: Seating is first come, first served.

Cowtown Opry

Most every Sunday, fans can enjoy a free Western music concert at the Livestock Exchange Building in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The Cowtown Opry Club specializes in all forms of music associated with the American cowboy, including Texas music, music from the singing-cowboy movies, old-time cowboy ballads and Western swing.

Recommended for: All ages

When: 2 p.m. Sundays

Where: 131 E. Exchange Ave. Fort Worth


Good to know: For a schedule of performances, go to the website at

For the outdoor adventurer

Reel in some fun at Flyfest

Experienced and first-time anglers are invited to the banks of the Trinity River, where the Tarrant Regional Water District will release 2,200 pounds of trout during Flyfest. There will be lessons on casting and fishing, kids activities, cooking demos and classes for Boy Scouts to earn a fly-fishing merit badge. There will also be competitive challenges to win prizes.

Recommended for: All ages

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 11

Where: Intersection of Bryant Irvin Road and River Park Drive in Fort Worth. Park at River Park Trailhead, 3100 Bryant Irvin Road, Fort Worth,


Good to know: Bring your own rod and bait to fish along the Trinity. A fishing license is required for anglers age 17 and older. The event is free, however, some lectures have a small fee that can be paid on site. Check website for details:

Take a hike at River Legacy Parks

Every second Saturday of every month, River Legacy offers a family-friendly guided nature walk. You’ll be able to explore the nature trails surrounding the Living Science Center. For little ones, there’s also a free storytime every third Saturday of each month. Space is limited for both activities so call in advance to RSVP at 817-860-6752.

Recommended for: All ages

When: 2-3 p.m. March 11

Where: River Legacy Living Science Center, 703 N.W. Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington

Info: 817-860-6752;

Good to know: During spring break week (March 13-17), River Legacy is also offering inexpensive science and nature activities that include tree and bug hikes, as well as up-close and personal animal investigations of reptiles and mammals. Each activity includes fun interactive components. Cost is $2 per person; children 2 and younger get in free and must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited and tickets are available on the day of each event, first come, first served.

For the learner

Lego Americana Roadshow at Stonebriar mall

If your child loves history and Legos, this is the exhibit for you. View large-scale replicas of some of the country’s beloved landmarks, including the U.S. Capitol Building, the Statue of Liberty, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.

Recommended for: All ages

When: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. through March 4; noon-6 p.m. March 5

Where: Stonebriar Centre, 2601 Preston Road, Frisco


Good to know: Toss a penny into the Lincoln Memorial for good luck.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing tour

See how billions of dollars are printed from an enclosed walkway above the production floor of the U.S. Treasury’s printing plant. More than half of the nation’s paper currency is produced in Fort Worth. Reservations are not required.

Recommended for: All ages

When: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday

Where: 9000 Blue Mound Road, Fort Worth

Info: 817-231-4000;

Good to know: The visitor center has a gift shop where you can purchase uncut currency sheets and other specialty products.

Maricar Estrella blogs at Find her on Twitter @mymarimoments +