By Amy Reisner
TX at its Best Dallas Blooms at Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
For 30 years, crowds have flocked to see nature at its most enchanting as thousands of blooming bulbs—more than 500,000 to be exact—spring to life to mark the beginning of a new season. Dallas Blooms is an experience that changes with each new day, but never ceases to amaze. And although it can be experienced through April 12, if you plan to visit during Spring Break you’ll surely find yourself in more peaceful surroundings as less of a crowd is to be expected.
This year’s theme, Deep in the Hearts of Texas, brings even more meaning to the spectacle as some of the state’s most iconic symbols are incorporated throughout the garden grounds. As you stroll through blankets of daffodils, hyacinths, pansies, violas and perennials, you’ll also spot Texas- themed topiaries including two longhorns and the Texas Star, entertainment, food and special activities celebrating Texas. Thousands of azaleas and Japanese cherry trees are also expected to bloom during the festival, along with the largest display of tulips in a public garden anywhere west of Holland.
Klyde Warren offers a taste of a big city’s big park
This is the stuff “people playing chess in the park” movie scenes are made from, and if you’ve
ever wondered how to take part in such fun—so close to home— welcome to Klyde Warren Park. This 5.2-acre deck park is built over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets in downtown Dallas. The sustainable landscaping includes 37 native plant species and 322 trees. Although quite a bit smaller, does this remind you of any other famous big city’s big park?
Award-winning landscape architect Jim Burnett, principal of The Office of James Burnett, designed Klyde Warren Park to give visitors the sense that they are moving through different “rooms” throughout the park. Klyde Warren Park has 15 distinct areas that include a dog park, a reading and games courtyard, a children’s park and a commons area amongst others. From Zumba to chess to outdoor concerts and films, the park offers myriad free programs to the public. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., there are four to five activities planned each day and a host of weekend activities. Game Cart hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Need to nosh? Each day a host of food trucks descend on the park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., but a staple at Klyde Warren is Savor—a modern gastropub—located right in the park. Need to stay connected? The park offers free WiFi.
Privately operated and managed by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, the park is usually teaming with people from all walks of life and of all ages, especially with its close proximity to the Dallas Arts District. While adults might be found visiting the park on their lunch break, kids usually hang out after school. However, with Spring Break calling them away to other places, you’ll have the park and all it has to offer essentially to yourself.
Cavanaugh Flight Museum offers warbird rides
When’s the last time you visited a museum and they let you take an artifact for a test drive?
Located on the grounds of Addison Airport in North Dallas, the Cavanaugh Flight Museum restores and displays historically significant, vintage aircraft, and collects materials related to the history of aviation spanning the time period from World War I through the Vietnam conflict. Did we mention they operate and maintain these aircraft as well?
Civilian-operated vintage military aircraft—warbirds—are the stuff aviation enthusiasts dream about. The Cavanaugh Flight Museum offers rides over North Dallas in several of their distinctive warbird aircraft. The 30-minute flight experience is a once in a lifetime, bucket list item you’ll want to scratch off soon, and Spring Break is the perfect time to do it.
Ranging in price from $250 to $2,000, flights are available on trainers and fighter aircraft—for $50 more they’ll toss in some acrobatics on the North American Texan trainer. Made for adults 18 and older, and usually one rider at a time, the flights are perfect for mom and dad who can take turns with the kiddos exploring the museum while the other takes a trip back in time.
Head for the Herd
World’s Only Twice-Daily Cattle Drive Right Here in Fort Worth
Take a trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards to see genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards Historic District. And as the name implies, the historic district is the perfect place to step back in time and witness an authentic cattle drive.
You know the longhorn is synonymous with Texas legend and lore—there is many a story about great herds of these cattle roaming free across the Lone Star plains in the decades following the Civil War. But what you may not know is the role Fort Worth played in what was soon to be a mass exodus of this majestic creature to the northeast. Although worth only about a dollar a head in Texas, a single longhorn could fetch a price of around $40 in a state such as Kansas. Seeing what this could do for the flailing Texas economy, drovers—as they were called—rounded up the longhorns and began prepping for their cattle drive in Fort Worth where they would gather supplies and begin their journey.
The Fort Worth Herd Cattle Drive isn’t just a fancy way to show off Texas longhorn cattle. It’s a living, breathing history lesson about events that took place right in our own back yard more than 100 years ago. Every detail— from the saddles and chaps to the boots and hats—is historically true.
The Fort Worth Herd is the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive, and it happens every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can watch the cattle drive from the sidewalks and restaurants near the visitor center on Exchange Avenue. Let Trail Boss Kristin Jaworski who has served as Fort Worth Herd Trail Boss since 2002 take the guess work out of your planning for you—she’ll determine what weather is or isn’t right for the cattle drive. If it looks like rain, in other words, chances are the Herd won’t be heard or seen.
Family Photos at the Fort Worth Water Gardens
An urban park oasis, the Fort Worth Water Gardens can be just the respite you need it to be or the unique attraction you want it to be. Whether you’re looking to add modern architecture to your family photos or just have a desire to visit this 40-year-old, close-to-home attraction, there’s a reason for a skip, hop or jump over to the Water Gardens.
Designed by Phillip Johnson, the water gardens include a variety of water features throughout the park including three distinct pools. Surrounded by trees, one area has walls covered in thin sheets of water cascading down to a sunken, quiet meditation pool below. Then there is an aerating pool with illuminated spray fountains. But the active pool is considered the main attraction. With water cascading 38 feet down terraces and steps into a small pool at the bottom, it was built with exploration in mind. The terraced steps are not only perfect for walking among the crashing water, but make for good subject placement when taking photos.
The bluebonnets and wildflowers have yet to show face in these parts, and it looks like they won’t in time for those great family photo opportunities. The Fort Worth Water Gardens make the perfect backdrop for family photos, and with most of the tourists away on vacation you’ll practically have the grounds to yourself. Adjacent to the Fort Worth Convention Center is an architectural and engineering wonder that can be enjoyed any time of the year, but why not enjoy it while the crowds are at an all time low, and you’ll feel more like a guest than a tourist.
Coyote Drive-In on Panther
Island in Fort Worth Watching a double feature—of newly released films of course—while enjoying
the stunning views of downtown Fort Worth along the Trinity River is a great, family friendly activity. And we suggest you enjoy an evening such as this during Spring Break at Coyote Drive-In on Panther Island in Fort Worth.
Coyote Drive-in was founded in 2011 by four guys from the hospitality business, who envisioned a simple place to escape the chaos and hang out with friends and family and admire the stars shining bright up above. They also felt good food and great prices were a must as well. While there, don’t miss the chance to enjoy the food from the drive-in’s restaurant on your visit. Craft beers, “Canteen Classics” and cotton candy make for a well-rounded concessions menu—we just suggest not all at once. The drive-in is open seven days a week (weather permitting), with general admission starting at $6 for children 4 to 10, and $8 for ages 11 and older. Children 3 and younger are free!
And you can’t beat the weather this time of year. Sitting in the running car with the AC cranked up during the summer doesn’t make for the best movie-watching experience. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy the drive-in theater with the windows rolled down enjoying nature’s spring time evening AC?
Competitive Walking Tours
Explore Dallas with Urban Adventure Quest
It’s easy to walk right past a building or statue you see everyday and pay little attention to the historical marker or plaque of some significance attached to it. But really, when do you have time
stop and read it? The goal of Urban Quest Adventure is to make you do just that. And what better time to casually walk the streets of downtown Dallas than when they are somewhat empty during
Spring Break. A short, daytime spring fling, Urban Adventure Quest creates an interactive tour using your smart phone or other mobile device to provide clues that lead you on a walking tour
of the city.
The mission of the Adventure Quest team is to create fun and unique scavenger hunt city tours that have the flexibility to be played on your schedule. Sign up online, download the program to your mobile device and take part any day you wish. The price per team—2 to 5 people—is $49.
It’s a little bit of National Treasure meets Amazing Race. You solve clues, complete challenges
and work together to unravel secrets of the city. If you get stuck, don’t worry, they give you
optional hints to make sure all teams can find a location or solve a challenge to move forward.
The fun aspect about the quest is that you earn points! Teams receive points for correct answers, so you can form multiple teams to compete with friends. The best part? You’ll see famous sights and hidden gems of the city while learning interesting facts and discovering unique history.
The Dallas quest will begin in the historical district at Union Station and take you on a journey
through a famous cattle drive, a cemetery and various important buildings and monuments
throughout the city—including The Old Red Courthouse.
Ninjas in Training
LEGOLAND at Grapevine Mills Mall wants to know if you have what it takes
Training to be a ninja should be on everyone’s list of things to do over Spring Break. You never know when these skills might come in handy. Join the Ninjago team at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth at Grapevine Mills Mall and help take on the bad guys at the new LEGO Ninjago Training Camp.
The training camp brings the popular line of LEGO Ninjago toys to life and gives visitors the chance to show off their ninja skills with interactive features. Enhance your coordination and test your reactions with ninja missions, grow your creativity by building Ninjago out of LEGO bricks, then demonstrate your agility and skill by taking on the laser maze.
This limited-time attraction begins March 6, and tickets are included with the price of admission to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth, which is $21 for guests 3 years of age and older and free for kids 2 and under. The 35,000-square-foot indoor attraction is geared toward children ages 3 to 10 and their families. It features millions of LEGO bricks and offers a fun, highly interactive and educational two to three hour experience. Interactive features include hands-on play areas, a 4D cinema, LEGO rides and an outdoor water playground. Hours for the Discovery Center are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday,
10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Rainy Day Plans
It’s inevitable. Just when you’ve packed up your picnic basket and loaded the kids in the car, those heavy raindrops start falling. But not to worry; we’ve got you covered with more than just an umbrella. There are indoor activities to enjoy around town to keep you busy— and might just teach you a thing or two.
Bureau of Printing and Engraving Spring Break Event
Trying to teach your kids that money doesn’t grow on trees may be a lesson you can bring home by visiting the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving’s Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, which produces more than half of the nation’s paper currency.
Something special to experience March 10-13 is the WCF’s Annual Employee Craft Demonstration event. During this free event, kids will be able to witness Intaglio engraving artisanship at the engraver’s workbench and learn how Intaglio printing plates are “grown” in a nickel solution. They’ll also be able to create their own currency from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.—for ages 8
to 18—and see how currency was printed circa 1900 at the refurbished spider press.
In addition to the Spring Break event, the public tour and visitor center is a great place to learn about U.S. currency. Open Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the tour is perfect for a rainy day. Visitors can see billions of dollars printed below them as they travel down an enclosed walkway suspended above the production floor. After viewing the production room, there are two floors of interactive exhibits and displays showcasing currency history and the intricate art of currency manufacturing. The tour includes a high-definition theater
film as well.