By: Sarah Jane Grisham
Ah, summer. It’s finally here. And not without its usual sports camps, family vacations, and subconscious expectations that sound something like: “This is the summer. This is the one in which we are going to explore, have adventures, inhale dreams, and exhale carpe diem. No more TV marathons on the couch – we’re going to get out there and really do this thing.”
Reality: It’s week two and you’ve been to your usual pool three times.
Thankfully for Fort Worthians, there’s plenty for kids to do just around the area. Jump on the anti-boring-summer-train and keep kids entertained and engaged without breaking the bank.
1. Plunge down the Green Extreme at NrH20.
Located in North Richland Hills, NrH20 has waterslides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. If you’re brave enough, grab a tube and get on the fast-paced Green Extreme – a 1,161-feet-long, 81-feet-high water-coaster. Just don’t forget sunscreen.
Daily, June- August
9001 Boulevard 26, North Richland Hills
2. Lions, and tigers, and slides oh my!
After a full morning scoping out wildlife, grab your swimsuit and head over to Fort Worth Zoo’s Safari Splash - a 14,000-square-foot designated splash zone that has four water slides, a water dump tower, animal water cannons, and an area for toddlers to play. You can snag a sandwich and drink at Splash Snacks or make a run to Tropical Treasures for towels, sunscreen, and swim diapers if you didn’t bring your own. Safari Splash is an additional $5 with zoo admission.
Daily, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
1989 Colonial Parkway, 76110
3. Experience the Art of Storytelling at the Amon Carter Museum
For those looking to keep their imaginations engaged while school is out, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art is inviting families with young children to join them for a free storytime. A different themed story will be read every week from 10 a.m. to noon, and a snack will be provided By GoGo squeeZ.
Every Wednesday, June and July
3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., 76107
4. Delve into the past as a Junior Pioneer at Log Cabin Village
This “village,” located off of University Boulevard, was built in the 1950’s in an effort to preserve log cabins- the structures prevalent in the historic 1800’s landscape of North Texas. Six cabins, each featuring a different aspect of pioneer life, were relocated to Fort Worth and restored. Embark on the Junior Pioneer Program to discover historical artifacts around the village, interact with a historical interpreter, and complete tasks to earn the Certificate of Achievement.
2100 Log Cabin Village Lane., 76109
5. Catch Grease Lightening at Sundance Square
Bring blankets and chairs and meet on the square at dusk to watch family favorites for free in the heart of the downtown. Sundance Square is featuring the “Princess Bride,” “Back to the Future,” “Ghostbusters (1984),” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and “Grease” this year. And as for your pre-movie dinner, we can think of just a few options in the area.
Every Thursday, June 15- July 13
201 Main St. 76102
6. Enjoy the afternoon cinema at Central Library
Swing by the Fort Worth Central Library for a free, family-friendly flick. Whether you’re helping Prince Charming find the mysterious beauty he met at the ball, or following Pooh and Tigger in an adventure through the Hundred-Acre Wood, families will enjoy taking in a movie in-between the books.
Second Saturdays, July- November
500 W. Third St., 76102
7. Dream Big at Omni IMAX Theater and Noble Planetarium
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History does more than just educate its visitors, it immerses them inside the earth and the cosmos. Enter into the giant 120-foot-wide screen IMAX theatre —the largest IMAX west of the Mississippi —and take a look at today’s innovations in “Dream Big: Engineering Our World.” Then check out the Noble Planetarium with its all-immersive, dome-shaped video screen with a fiber optic dual-hemisphere star projector to see more than 7,000 stars.
1600 Gendy St., 76107
8. Play all day in Paradise Springs at Gaylord Texan SummerFest
The Gaylord Texan Resort, located in Grapevine, is hosting Texas-themed family-friendly entertainment to help beat the heat. Kids can take on the 10-acre outdoor water park, Paradise Springs, the 600-foot Lazy River, and the 6,000 square-foot family lagoon. Work together solving clues in the Escape the Wild West: Escape Room game, explore caves in Crazy Pete’s Panning Adventure, and learn new skills at Junior Chefs Camp. There will also be fireworks, a local artists show, a western comedy show and more.
May 26- September 4
1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine
9. Hop on board the Vintage Railroad
Hit the rails in an authentic 1920’s Victorian-style coach between Grapevine and the Fort Worth Stockyards. You’ll be riding in one of two vintage trains — “Puffy” the 1896 steam locomotive or “Vinny” the 1953 diesel locomotive. Leaving from the Fort Worth location, visitors can ride the Trinity River Ride on a trip to the river and back.
Friday-Sunday, June 2- August 20
130 E. Exchange Avenue
10. Go back in time at Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show
Dating back to the late 19th century, Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show was a true legend. And now, it’s being brought back to life in a historical reenactment in the Stockyards. With animals, trick roping, pistol shooting, riding, and a singing cowboy, this family friendly entertainment won’t disappoint.
Saturday- Sunday, June 24- July 16 and July 3-4
121 E Exchange Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76164
11. Channel your inner Picasso at Van Grow Art Camp
Van Grow is an art studio instructing all ages in the fine arts. Participate in an all day art camps or drop in for a visit to create pottery, "fauxsaic” mosaics, tie-dye t-shirts and splatter painting at their summer open studio.
Open Studio: Tuesday- Saturday, Art Camp: Weekly, June 5- August 25
3434 W 7th St, 76107
12. Try your hand at Glass Blowing at SiNaCa Studios
Located on Magnolia Street, SiNaCa is a nonprofit glassblowing school founded by five local artists. The studio offers educational, hands-on experience for kids in either the one hour course Kids Connect2glass, a weekend camp, or week long Kids Camp SiNaCa.
Camp: June 26- 30
1013 W Magnolia, 76104
13. Inhale, exhale at PoserKids Summer Camp
PoserKids has kids’ mental and physical health covered. PoserKids is teaching a yoga-centered camp at Clear Fork Food Park. Campers will participate in fitness, cooking, music, and creative arts. Lunch and snacks are provided daily and kids will go home with a PoserKids t-shirt as well as the crafts they made throughout the week.
July 10- 14
1541 Merrimac Circle, 76107
14. Race through Ninjago City at LEGOLand
The indoor playground located in Grapevine submerges visitors into the world of LEGO. Put on your game face and storm the Ninjago obstacle course, navigating through a vortex spinning barrel and crawling through hover rings. Challenge family members in Kingdom Quest, revel at Lego 4D cinema, and feel like a giant wandering the streets of miniland.
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine
15. Swim with sharks at Sea Life Aquarium
Just kidding. But you can definitely wave hello. Another great option for animal lovers, the Sea Life Aquarium provides an ocean wildlife experience without leaving North Texas. You can watch stingrays during feeding time, learn about the aquarium’s two green sea turtles, and watch in awe as jellyfish glide around the coral garden.
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine
16. Discover hidden treasure with Trinity Trails Geocaching
Trinity Trails Geocaching brings together the serenity of nature and the rush of adventure that keeps you entertained. Discover 30 hidden geocaches hidden along the Trinity River while finding new favorite spots along the way.
Along the Trinity River
17. Get chopped at Young Chef's Academy
Calling all cooking protégés. Camp Can-I-Cook is a series of mini camps lasting three or four days, each with a different theme. Some themes for Summer 2017 are: “ YCA Gets Chopped,” “Dining Through the Decades,” “Farm-To-Table,” and “YCA Summer Bake Off.”
Select weeks, June-August
6333 Camp Bowie Blvd #260, Fort Worth, TX 76116
18. Listen up! Trail Tales is back at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
A cowboy’s take on classic storytime, Trail Tales will feature a new western-themed storybook each week. After reading, kids and their parents can enjoy a free guided tour of the museum.
Saturdays, June- July
128 East Exchange Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76164
19. Saddle a steer at Cow Camp in the Stockyards
The famous Fort Worth Herd can be seen twice a day on a cattle drive through the Stockyards. And at the Herd Cow Camp, adults and kids can try their hand at roping and saddling, and watch cattle drive demos with cowboy equipment from the cattle drive era.
Saturday-Sunday, May 27- September 3
140 East Exchange Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76164-8203
20. Make new friends at Mini Preschool with Mr. Russell
Children ages five and under are invited to the Fairmount Community Library to socialize and explore new themes in art, music, and play each week. $15 per child and $10 for additional siblings.
Wednesday Mornings, 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
1310 W Allen Ave. Fort Worth, Texas, TX 76110
21. Take the spotlight in stride at Stage West
Located on W. Vickery Blvd., Stage West Theatre is offering summer camps for ages 7-18. If you’re a “Harry Potter” Fan, don’t miss the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them-themed camp, where you will invent your own beasts and create a short play.
Weekly, June 5-30
821 W. Vickery Blvd., 76104
22. Splash Out Childhood Cancer at Hawaiian Falls
For the thrill seekers, there’s the 65-foot-high Waikiki Wipeout body slide, and for those looking to kickback, the Kona Kooler Adventure River is the place to be. TeamConnor is working with Hawaiian Falls for the 6th summer in a row to fight childhood cancer. Buy tickets to Hawaiian Falls on the TeamConnor website, and the proceeds will help raise awareness and fund research toward curing childhood cancer.
May 27- Sept 4
4400 Paige Rd, The Colony