Mari's Moments

Where to take your family this holiday season

It’s that time of year when folks gather to celebrate with their families.

Nearly 51 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving week alone, according to AAA.

This means your family may be expecting some out-of-town visitors soon. How should you impress your guests?

Here are some holiday happenings that are unique to Dallas-Fort Worth and will ensure that your friends and family experience the charms of Texas.

Ice skating at Panther Island Ice

The outdoor skating rink in Fort Worth is open seven days a week, including all holidays. The rink is a great way for novices and experts to slide around in an open-air environment.

Good to know: After the skating, children can also run around in the adjacent playground. Plus, you can enjoy seasonal food and beverages from the Coyote Canteen under a tent-covered table area.

When: Open daily, including all holidays, through Jan. 15. Check website for hours.

Where: Panther Island Ice is within the Coyote Drive-In complex at 223 N.E. Fourth St., Fort Worth

Cost: $12 includes skate rental and tax; $10 for group of 15; $9 for military or Tarrant County College students or faculty with valid ID. On Tuesdays, get half-price admission for $6. On Food Drive Wednedays, bring two canned goods to donate to Tarrant Area Food Bank to get $10 admission.


Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market

Arlington is building a new holiday tradition. Located on the grounds of Globe Life Park, Enchant boasts the “world’s largest light maze.” For folks wondering what happened to the Christkindl Market that used to be near the ballpark, it is now called Texas Christkindle Market Lane and will be included in the Enchant Christmas Market, where vendors will offer unique holiday gifts. There’s also an ice skating pond! Don’t forget to visit Ol’ St. Nick in his golden palace.

Good to know: Younger kids can enjoy the Mini Maze.

When: 5-11 p.m. Nov. 24 through Dec. 31

Where: Globe Life Park, Lot F (At the corner of East Copeland Road and AT&T Way), 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington

Cost: Tickets start at $21.95 for children ages 5-14; $29.95 for 15 and older; children 4 and younger are free.


The Trains at NorthPark

It’s the 30th anniversary of this holiday family tradition. Train enthusiasts will be enthralled by this display, which includes 1,600 feet of track rolling through and past mini versions of Dallas landmarks and sites across the U.S.

Good to know: Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill or injured children.

When: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday; through Jan. 7.

Where: Second Level near Nordstrom at NorthPark Center, North Central Expressway at Northwest Highway Dallas

Cost: $7 adults; $4 children ages 2-12


Disney On Ice presents Reach for the Stars at Allen Event Center

See your favorite Disney characters at Disney on Ice. Disney on Ice

If you have Disney fanatics visiting or living in your home, this is fun way to experience favorite Disney stories. When I took my 7-year-old son to a performance in Dallas, it became a sing-along for him. Characters in the Reach for the Stars show include sisters Anna and Elsa from “Frozen”; Sebastian and Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”; and Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.” Of course, a Disney show wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from the Mouse himself.

Good to know: Ticket prices are the same for children age 2 and up as they are for adults.

When: Nov. 22-Nov. 26

Where: Allen Event Center, 200 E. Stacy Road, No. 1350, Allen

Cost: Tickets start at $15


Magical Winter Lights Festival at Lone Star Park

This festival features several themed sections, including Magical Wonderland, Christmas Candy Land, The Lone Star State, Dinosaur Land and Mystery of the East. The designs are based on Chinese lanterns and transforms them into larger-than-life remakes of well-known landmarks.

Good to know: A Holiday Market Square gives guests the opportunity to shop and eat, as well as watch nightly acrobatic performances and other live entertainment.

When: Through Jan. 7

Where: Lone Star Park, 1000 Lone Star Parkway, Grand Prairie


ICE at Gaylord Texan Resort

Take a gander at more than 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures during the Lone Star Christmas celebration at this Grapevine hotel. This year’s theme is “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Participants are given special parkas to wear throughout the exhibit. Don’t forget to swish down the ice slide, too!

Good to know: Snow tubing is also available in the resort, and there are combo tickets available for both ICE and the snow tubing.

When: Through Jan. 1

Where: Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine

Cost: $29.99 adults; $12.99 children ages 4-12; free children 3 and younger


Bowling at Pinstack

This more-upscale bowling center provides a swanky alternative to the typical bowling experience. Lane-side food and beverage service is provided, offering craft cocktails, Waygu beef sliders and more.

Good to know: Some locations offer other activities, including a ropes course, bumper cars and laser tag.

When: Check website for hours

Where: 635 Central Expressway North, Allen; 2750 West I-635, Irving; 6205 Dallas Parkway, Plano


Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Texas

Check out the frosty snowhill at Six Flags Over Texas. Courtesy of Six Flags Over Texas

During the holidays, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington is transformed into a winter wonderland of activities, including the Frosty Snowhill. Children can ride on the sled by themselves or with a parent (recommended for younger kids). It’s a fun way to get a taste of the North Pole.

Good to know: Other holiday touches include Santa photos, “A Jolly Holiday” show, Holiday Tree of Trees Light Spectacular, Christmas Karaoke for Kids and Reindeer Holi-Daze Dance Party.

When: Through Jan. 7

Where: Six Flags Over Texas, 2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington

Cost: $78.99 general admission; $63.99 children under 48 inches tall; free for 2 and younger. For tickets and season passes:


Santa Claus: A New Musical at Casa Mañana

Back by popular demand, “Santa Claus: A New Musical” is a fresh take on the behind-the-scenes action at Santa’s workshop. After a thousand years of delivering toys to good girls and boys, Santa decides to retire and needs to find a replacement to fill his jolly ol’ boots.

Good to know: Don’t forget to line up after the play to get a photo with Santa, as well as get autographs and photos with cast members.

When: Nov. 24 through Dec. 23

Where: Casa Mañana Theatre, 3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth

Cost: Tickets start at $21


SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium

New on the lower level of Ridgmar Mall, the aquarium offers up close and personal interactions with sea creatures. Guests can feed the animals in this environment.

Good to know: For an extra fee, guests can snorkel with stingrays.

When: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Ridgmar Mall, 1974 Green Oaks Road, Fort Worth


Maricar Estrella blogs at Find her on Twitter @mymarimoments +

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram