Mari's Moments

Have fun and stay cool at the same time this weekend

Community park splash pads are a great way to beat the heat. The Cannon Parkway splash pad in Roanoke is next to the city’s skate park.
Community park splash pads are a great way to beat the heat. The Cannon Parkway splash pad in Roanoke is next to the city’s skate park. Maricar Estrella

As temperatures continue to rise, the temptation is to stay inside, especially if you have small kids running around. But there’s a way to beat the heat, have fun and stay on a budget.

Here are some free and cheap ways to keep cool in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Splish, splash

Check your city’s website to find one of the many free splash zones at community parks. Unlike community pools where you still have to pay a fee, splash pads are a come-and-go free option for families. You can bring your picnic lunch and spend as long as you want splashing the heat away. Roanoke’s Cannon Parkway Park is a great option because it has a splash pads, courts for basketball, tennis and sand volleyball, and is next to a skate park. Info:

Check out my favorite splash pads here.

Get artsy

Several museums in the DFW area offer free general admission, including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, although they usually charge extra for special exhibits. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth offers free admission to all exhibits year-round. Through Sept. 3, you can check out “The Polaroid Project,” which features a wide range of artists and innovative photography. Info:

Treat yourself

Does Thai-style rolled ice cream or a liquid nitrogen treat sound intriguing to you?

Check out one of the trendy frozen treat options in North Texas. I’m partial to the Filipino Halo-halo — shaved ice and sweetened milk mixed with all sorts of fruits and beans (such as red beans and white beans) and topped with an ice cream scoop. Get it at Shojimoto in Arlington. Info:Shojimoto on Facebook

Get a list of options at

Take a tour

There are plenty of tours around town, including walking through the world-famous AT&T Stadium, but if you’re looking for a free, educational way to pass the time, your best bet is the U.S. Treasury’s printing plant in Fort Worth. You’ll see how more than half of the nation’s paper currency is made, right here in Fort Worth.

Watch a blockbuster — no baby sitter needed

For parents with young children, it’s hard to catch up with summer blockbusters. Harkins Theater in Southlake offers a great solution. Children ages 3 through 8 can be dropped off at the PlayCenter to play games, read books and watch movies. Each parent gets a pager so you can be reached during your movie. Reservations are encouraged. Cost per child is $6 — less than a movie ticket and two hours of baby-sitting. Info: 817-310-0345,

Maricar Estrella blogs at Find her on Twitter @mymarimoments +

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