Where to find quick summer fun for kids around D-FW

These summer programs make it easy to plan a special day out for tots, teens and others.

Wondering how to keep your out-of-school child entertained this summer? Here are a few solutions to the the inevitable “I’m so bored” syndrome that’s likely to surface in between the family vacation trip or sleep-away camp. These are one-day outings and most are free. (For a list of day camps and classes with broader schedules, check out our Parents’ Guide to Summer.)

Bookmarks Children Shows

FREE Take a break from shopping and drop by the Bookmarks library for children at NorthPark. There’s a cute show for young kids that may include singalongs, hula dancing, magic or animal encounters. Look for Bookmarks on level one between Nordstrom and Macy’s.

Wednesdays starting June 8 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Bookmarks in NorthPark Center, Dallas. northparkcenter.com.

Butterfly Houses

Step into the climate-controlled tropical world of the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. The two-story structure is filled with tropical plants and hundreds of free-flying butterflies. A butterfly release takes place each day at noon.

Wednesdays-Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Free with price of admission. txdg.org.

You’ll find more fluttering butterflies at the Native Texas Butterfly House and Garden at McKinney’s Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. The butterfly house is open June 4 through Oct. 2.

Tuesdays-Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., check the website for any date or time exceptions. Free with price of admission. heardmuseum.org.

Children’s Drawing From the Masters

Informal drawing instruction for children ages 5-12 is offered at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University. Monthly classes are led by an artist and elementary school art teacher. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

May 15, June 19, July 17 and Aug. 21 from 3:30 to 4 p.m. at the Meadows Museum, Dallas. Free with museum admission. meadowsmuseumdallas.org.

The Irving Arts Center offers free art programs for children.
The Irving Arts Center offers free art programs for children.

JumpstART Stories and Art

FREE The Irving Arts Center teams up with the Irving Library for a drop-in event on the first Thursday of the month. Each themed session combines art and children’s literature. Kids ages 2 and older can create a take-home art project and browse the galleries with their families. All craft supplies are provided.

June 2, July 7, Aug. 4, Sept. 1 at 10 a.m. at the Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving. irvingartscenter.com.

Kimbell Kids Drop-In Studio

FREE On Saturday afternoons, children 12 and younger can explore the gallery and then visit the studio for a related art-making project. No preregistration required.

Saturdays from 1 to 1:45 p.m. at the Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. kimbellart.org.

Children take on challenges in the obstacle course gym at Ninja Nation in Frisco.
Children take on challenges in the obstacle course gym at Ninja Nation in Frisco. (Ninja Nation)

Ninja Nation Single Day Camp

Inspired by the TV show, children ages 5-12 can have supervised fun navigating the obstacle course and taking part in friendly competitions. Drop-in options are also available.

Mondays-Fridays from June 6 to Aug. 5 at Ninja Nation locations in Frisco and Murphy. $75 per day. ninjanation.com.

Summer Reading Programs

FREE Kids from infants to teens can enroll in summer reading programs at their local libraries and win prizes for reaching their summer reading goals. Free events such as hands-on science and crafting, animal encounters and performances by children’s entertainers and more will be offered each week. Visit library websites to sign up.

Online at dallaslibrary2.org and other public library websites.

Young Makers Club

FREE The Dallas Young Makers Club guides students 8-18 in hands-on workshops twice monthly at Dallas’ Central Library. From robotics to zines and comics, youths are provided with workspace, equipment and mentors to help them complete their projects.

Every second and fourth Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St., Dallas. dallaslibrary2.org.

Bonus Tips:

During August Dollar Days, admission to the Dallas Arboretum is $3 for everyone (children age 1 and younger get in free), plus $6 parking and other $1 deals will be offered. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Visit the Dallas Zoo on the first Tuesday of each month for Tiger Tuesday $8 admission.

Purchase a Dallas CityPASSfor $49 and get admission to four top attractions. Choices include the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Reunion Tower Geo-Deck, Dallas Zoo, George W. Bush Presidential Center and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Find all the details here.

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