Spring Break 2011 is here, my friend.
In times when gas prices are reaching astonishing highs and airlines are charging passengers per piece of luggage (good-bye, suitcase dedicated solely to shoes); dreams of a spring vacation to somewhere exotic and sunny are quickly fading. Before all hope of having a fun and exciting spring break is lost, take a look around at the Dallas /Fort Worth area. Home to thousands of family-friendly attractions, DFW is a great place for a family to spend their Spring Break.
Knowing it is just as easy to break the bank on a vacation at home (When will we ever get over using the tired word “Staycation”?) as it is laying on a tropical beach, finding local, affordable fun is a must for the budget-conscious family. Below are two great fun-filled days of budget-friendly activities in the Dallas Fort Worth Area.
Unpack your bags, give your bank account a rest and load up the kids for some fun at home. Texas-style.
There is a reason ol JR, Bobby, and Pam took residence in Dallas: Big D is home to a plethora of fun adventures. Although JR likely never had to check the family budget before taking out Sue Ellen and the boys, these days Dallas residents know the Dallas places to play that are both family-friendly and kind to the wallet.
Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art is welcoming Spring Breakers by giving half-price admission and ½ price parking to all their guests the week of March 14-18th (After 5pm). The DMA is hosting “Spring Break Family Experiences”, four fun-filled days of activities including a chance to craft with wire in the Space Bar, an opportunity to create a Stickley-inspired photo shoot, story times, interactive gallery tours, and family movie time. Art museums are not merely for the old and educated. The Dallas Museum of Art makes the museum-going experience fun and interactive for guests of all ages.
Dallas Farmers Market
Nothing is more evident of spring’s arrival than a visit to the famous Dallas Farmer’s Market. The Dallas Farmers Market is one of the largest public markets of its nature in the country. It offers a wide variety of locally grown produce, specialty foods, and landscaping materials such as shrubs and flowers. Introducing children to an abundant selection of fresh produce (farmers often pass out complimentary pieces of fruits and vegetables to sample) is a great way to expand their palate. The Dallas market is open seven days a week, 362 days a year. Check out the market’s website for a list of produce that is currently in season and to learn more about events and classes hosted there. The best thing about visiting the Dallas Farmers Market is that children might be inspired to try a new fruit or vegetable…perhaps even something green and leafy.
McKinney Avenue Trolley
Ride the rails this Spring Break on the McKinney Avenue Trolley.The M-Line trolleys run 365 days a year, from 7:00am to 10:00pm during the week. The best part of this authentic street care experience…it is FREE. Spend the day in Uptown shopping, dining and enjoying a free ride on the McKinney Avenue Trolley. Children will be intrigued by the seats that can change direction with a flip of (strong) hand and watch passengers pull the stop cord to let the conductor know the trolley has reached their stop. Hint: The Dallas Museum of Art is at one end of the trolley stop. Pair a trip to the DMA with a ride on the McKinney Avenue Trolley for a day filled with adventure.
Farmers Branch Historical Park
Step back into the late 1800’s and walk through buildings reminiscent of days gone by at the Farmers Branch Historical Park. While at this park, families will enjoy visiting a school house from 1905, a railroad depot built in 1877 and the home of the former first mayor of Farmers Branch. Children can walk through a recreated Texaco Service Station from the 1930’s and stop in and shop at an interactive 1920’s General Store. Admission to the park is free, but donations are always welcome and greatly appreciated.
Heritage Farmstead Museum
When people think of Plano, they rarely of a farmstead tucked into this sprawling suburb. However the Heritage Farmstead Museum is an old-fashioned farm right in the middle of this busy Dallas suburb. This Spring Break, the Heritage Farmstead Museum is hosting a Staycation at the Farm (March 15 -18). Charging only a $2 admission price per person, this outdoor museum is hosting four fun-filled days of self-guided tours around their turn-of-the century farm. Visitors can play historic games, visit craft stations, and enjoy petting farm animals. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day at this living historical farm.
Home to more than cows and beautiful sunsets, Fort Worth is a hot-spot of family-friendly fun that is easy on the budget. Toss on some boats, grab a cowboy hat and step into the friendly culture of Fort Worth.
Amon Carter Museum
The Amon Carter Museumis set in the heart of Fort Worth and is devoted entirely to American Art. During the week of March 15-18, the Amon Carter Museum is hosting “Family Fun Week.” Each of the four days during this series has a different theme, ranging from an inside look at the wild west to an exploration of photography. The family programs run from 10:30am to Noon, Tuesday through Friday. Admission is free.
Fort Worth Botanical Gardens
Spring is evident among the eight gardens that comprise the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. Spend a sunny morning walking through the gardens’ grounds, examining a variety of roses in the Rose Garden or taking in the view from above as one wonders along the Texas Native Forest Boardwalk. The Gardens are open from 8:00am to dusk. Admission to parts of the Gardens is free, while entrance into the Conservatory costs just one dollar. Be sure to bring a camera, as there are many photo opportunities to be had at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.
Forest Park Miniature Railroad
Spend time riding the rails…miniature rails. The Forest Park Miniature Railroad is a Fort Worth staple when it comes to children’s entertainment. Children young and old will enjoy this 45 minute train ride, which takes passengers through the scenic Trinity Park and over six different bridges (including a 350 foot girder bridge that will make moms hold on a little tighter to their little ones and make kids squeal with glee). Trains run on the hour, starting at 11:00am until dusk. Adults are $3, while children are $2.50.
Fort Worth Herd
When tourists think of Fort Worth, they often think of cowboys and ranch hands. The Fort Worth Stockyards is the best place for tourists and locals to get their cowboy fix. Daily visitors to the Stockyards can witness the Fort Worth Herd, a scene of cows, horses and cowboys all coming down the brick-paved streets. Cattle-herds are not common sites these days, especially in the middle of a city, which makes this fun show a great way to spend a part of one’s afternoon. Catch the Herd at 11:30am and 4pm daily. Arrive early to grab a great spot to witness all the action.
Kimbell Art Museum
Fort Worth has its own share of museums, one of those being the Kimbell Art Museum. From March 15-18, the Kimbell is hosting their Spring Break Art Extravaganza. This free event (*Special Exhibits do require an admission fee.) is packed full of crafts, mini art tours and family friendly films. Stop by the Kimbell while out and about in Fort Worth from 10am -3pm and experience a slice of art with the family….for free!