When you’re young, it seems like summer vacation stretches on forever, but as parents we know the new school year will be here before we know it. Before that time comes, it’s important to make some memories and have some fun. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan area. If you’re running short on inspiration, these ideas should help you have fun with your family before school starts.
Visit Dallas Zoo
Dallas Zoo is a family-friendly attraction that delights all ages. Tickets are usually at their most expensive in summer, but you can get them for just $8 each on the first Tuesday of each month, known as Tiger Tuesdays. Make sure you take time to feed the giraffes and see the lions, who spend most of their time in summer in the shady spots at the front of their enclosure. It can get hot at this time of year, so bring your beach towels and you can cool off at the free splash pad at the Children’s Zoo.
Have a Picnic Lunch
Once the school year starts, you’ll miss sharing lunch with your kids throughout the week. A picnic lunch at a local park can give you memories to look back on when you’re all too busy to come together. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Flag Pole Hill Park, and Turtle Creek Park are all excellent spots for a picnic. Bring an assortment of sandwiches and cold meats, or make use of the onsite grills. With full bellies, you can relax while your kids burn off some energy on the playground equipment or sporting fields.
See the Texas Rangers Play
Summer is the perfect time to see the Texas Rangers in action. Taking the kids to Globe Life Field is much more exciting than cheering on these hometown heroes in your living room. Tickets are digital, so make sure you download the team’s app before heading to the stadium. Children under 36 inches get free admission, so don’t worry about buying tickets for your little ones. Hot dogs and popcorn are a part of the live sporting experience, but you can bring in a bottle of sealed water and snacks in clear sealed plastic bags to keep your costs down.
Enjoy Ice Cream With a Difference
Going out for ice cream is a summer vacation tradition for many families, but you can do it a little differently in Dallas. For an ice cream date with a twist, hit up some of the city’s most innovative ice cream parlors. MILK•CREAM specializes in delicious donuts stuffed with ice cream, so it’s a must-visit for dessert lovers. Botolino Gelato Artigianale offers a taste of Italy with its gelato made fresh in-house using ingredients sourced from Texas farms. Can’t make up your mind? Try the ice cream flights, featuring three or six mini-cones with your choice of flavors, at Baldo’s.
Camping gives your family a chance to disconnect from their devices and reconnect with nature and each other. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has plenty of awesome camping grounds, including Loyd Park in Grand Prairie and Joe Pool Lake in Cedar Hill State Park. Research the facilities to check whether you should bring along recreational gear such as volleyballs, fishing poles, and mountain bikes. When the sun goes down, the clear skies in these campgrounds are ideal for stargazing. Do your homework before you leave, and you can tell your kids about the constellations you see in the clear Texan sky.
Visit a Water Park
Splash pads are great fun for kids, but water parks are a better choice for the whole family. Adults have just as much fun as their children zooming down water slides and floating along lazy rivers. Dallas is home to Bahama Beach, an exciting water park with enclosed and racing slides, the Coconut Grove water playground, and the Boomerango, a hair-raising two-person tube ride. Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark in nearby Grand Prairie brings all the fun of a classic water park inside. Feel your heart pumping on the rides and slides, or take a dip in the Swimming Hole pool.
Shop at a Farmers Market
Good nutrition can take a back seat during summer vacations, but you’ll want to reintroduce healthy habits before the school year starts. Shopping at a farmers market can remind kids how good fresh food can be. Many stalls have samples and unique items kids will want in their lunchboxes. They might even learn to grow their own produce at Mama Ida’s community teaching garden, part of the Dallas Farmers Market at the Shed every Saturday and Sunday. There are also inspirational cooking and gardening workshops at the Good Local Markets in White Rock on Saturdays and Lakewood on Sundays.
Visit the Library
On paper, visiting the library might not sound like a lot of fun for kids, but these institutions are far from boring. All Dallas Public Library branches participate in the SMART summer reading program, which rewards children and adults who read over the summer with free books and entry into fantastic prize draws. Getting involved can encourage your children to keep their minds sharp during their vacation and provide opportunities for quiet family bonding time at home. J. Erik Jonsson Central Library also holds fun free events on summer Saturdays, including a Shakespearian Renaissance fair and community nature expo.
Search For a New Car
If you’re ready for a new set of wheels, shopping for a car as a family before school goes back can be great fun. Kids love taking cars for test drives and feeling involved in major family decisions. Huffines Hyundai McKinney opens from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day but Sunday, so you can easily stop by the dealership and browse our range before or after your summer activities. We have the latest Hyundai vehicles and a quality selection of used cars, so no matter your taste and budget, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Huffines Hyundai McKinney.