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Southlake Style

Summer Hit List: 22 Adventures to Experience Now

Jul 05, 2016 12:20PM ● By Ashley Pape

By Amy Reisner

If your summer plans include riding a roller coaster or feeding giraffes, then go have a blast. Or if you intend to bask by the pool with a magazine in hand, that’s great, too. However, if you’re looking for activities not found on the usual lineup of places to go and things to do, we have you covered. While these ideas may not top the charts of local summer bucket-list blogs, they’re sure to make your summer a hit.   




1. Eat a Wicked Pig at a Texas Rangers Game

Baseball and summer—they are almost synonymous. Throw in ballpark food and you’ve got the perfect trifecta. If you find yourself at a Texas Rangers game at Globe Life Park in Arlington this summer, make sure your taste buds visit the 557 Smokehouse in section 49. For $27, you can pig out on a truly wicked sandwich. The Wicked Pig is a Hawaiian roll layered with pulled pork, thick-cut Danish bacon, a split sausage, prosciutto and thick-sliced ham, covered in barbecue sauce, and topped with coleslaw and pork rinds. It’s a splurge in every sense of the word, but it’s so worth it. 


2. Grab Some Grub at Klyde Warren Park

Who knew an outdoor oasis could exist amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Dallas? If you’re going to visit Klyde Warren Park this summer, do so with purpose. We’ve got a great idea for an afternoon lunch to share with the family or friends. A variety of food trucks line up each day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the park, serving everything from pizza and barbecue to sandwiches and salads.


3. Don’t Let Your Steel City Pop Melt

A Steel City Pop isn’t your average summer treat, and to let the heat melt your ice pop before it can be thoroughly enjoyed would be a shame. The Fort Worth location of Steel City Pops is located on Currie Street just south of West 7th Street. Grab a famous flavor such as Fruity Lavender Lemonade or Creamy Coconut and explore downtown Fort Worth—and try not to let your pop melt in the Cowtown heat!

4. Be a Pepper Lover at Milwaukee Joe’s

The Texas summer heat calls for a truly Texan way to cool off—a scoop or two of Dr Pepper ice cream, made from authentic Dr Pepper syrup. And you don’t have to travel to Waco to get your spoons on this one. Milwaukee Joe’s Gourmet Ice Cream in Southlake Town Square serves up a variety of unique flavors daily, including this special recipe. The family-owned and -operated eatery makes every batch of ice cream at its Colleyville creamery.




5. Discover the Outdoor Murals of Denton

Once a hidden gem known only to locals and college students, Denton has made a new name for itself as a well-known music venue and art hub. Take a driving tour of the city to see the myriad outdoor murals. Through the Keep Denton Beautiful initiative, local artists are commissioned to paint these murals ranging in style from realistic to abstract. One of our favorites is located at the corner of Bell Avenue and Sherman Drive (pictured) and was completed by Travis Sykes in April.


6. Visit a Collection of Collections

Baseball cards? Shoes? What tickles your collection fancy? Surprisingly, what the Eye of the Collector exhibit at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas shows us is that if something can be amassed, people will amass it. Peek into the lives of collectors and see what makes their minds tick. See Dallas Cowboys memorabilia, PEZ dispensers and the largest Star Wars collection in the world.


7. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Remember those long days of summer you spent playing your favorite video games either at the arcade or at home? Spend this summer checking out the National Videogame Museum in Frisco and take a trip down memory lane. Featuring more than 100,000 videogame consoles, games and artifacts plus more than 25 years of historical documents and data, the museum is 10,000 square feet of nostalgia. Among the many visual exhibits, there is an interactive game room that allows for friendly competition among family members and friends.




8. Have a Tea Party in the Garden

The Fort Worth Japanese Garden, located at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, consists of 7.5 acres of cherry trees, Japanese maples, magnolias, bamboo, bridges and ponds that are home to more than 1,200 Koi fish. Mark your calendars for the third Saturday each month to take part in an authentic Japanese Tea Ceremony set in the garden from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sponsored by the Fort Worth Japanese Society, event tickets are $30 per person.


9. Stop a Train Robbery

This summer, set your sights on adventure! Give the kids a chance to participate in a Great Train Robbery at the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. As the train departs Grapevine and heads toward Fort Worth, train robbers thwart the journey. It is up to the deputies, a.k.a. your kids, to capture the outlaws so the train can continue its course. Robberies are held Saturdays and Sundays through September 3.


10. Catch a Concert or Movie Under the Stars

Why waste your summer evenings indoors when you can enjoy jazz and other entertainment under the stars on a picnic blanket? Pack a picnic dinner and head to Addison Circle Park for the city’s annual Summer Series. Every Saturday in July, starting July 9, enjoy Christmas in July events in Beckert Park. Enjoy photos with Santa on vacation, activities for the whole family, and more! Family-friendly, holiday-themed films will be projected onto a giant outdoor screen once it is dark, around 8:30 p.m.


11. Go on an Adventure with Alice at Gaylord Texan

Things are getting curiouser and curiouser at SummerFest at Gaylord Texan. Grab a pair of 3D glasses and journey with Alice on a 4D Wonderland Adventure that includes colorful lights, 3D artwork and more. If your kids are up for solving some riddles, they can go on a blacklight scavenger hunt to find hidden Cheshire Cats. And if they want to embrace their inner artist, they can paint a tea cup or an Alice-themed canvas. Times and ticket prices vary.


12. Take Your Movie Night Outdoors

Grab some blankets and lawn chairs and catch a free flick with your family during Movies at The Marq. There are two Thursday-evening showings this month: “Norm of the North” on July 14 and “Avengers” on July 28. (Be sure to have your kids dress up as their favorite superhero for this one!) Movies begin at 7 p.m., but there’s fun to be had all evening with complimentary inflatables, crafts and popcorn. Food trucks will also be onsite with snacks and drinks for purchase.





13. Shop Local at Flower Mound’s Farmers Market

While thoughts of fruits and veggies cross your mind when a farmer’s market is mentioned, you’ll discover much more than food in the area’s many open-air marketplaces. Spend a summer Saturday browsing fresh produce and locally made artisan products at Flower Mound’s farmer’s market or those in nearby Grapevine, Coppell and Keller. You’ll take home more than just a tomato or two—perhaps some handmade soap or candles.


14. Travel on a McKinney Avenue Trolley

See the Uptown Dallas streets from inside a trolley car this summer along the M-Line. The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority runs the M-Line and its air-conditioned (and heated) restored vintage trolleys. While it serves as free public transport first and foremost, the trolley has an historic ambiance not lost on passengers riding for purpose or pleasure. There is no official starting or stopping point along the M-Line; just look for one of the 38 signs to catch a ride.




15. Sip an Umbrella Drink at a Swim-Up Bar

Somehow, a Mai Tai tastes better when it’s sipped from a poolside bar. While this might seem like a luxury reserved for a beach vacation, you can sip your beverages this summer at Jade Waters, a world-class, resort-style pool new to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The three-acre water facility has it all: a beach-entry family pool, two 30-foot slides, luxury cabanas, recreation areas and plenty of walking and green spaces. No need to renew your passport for this summer escape; just take a jaunt over to Big D.


16. Watch the Sailboats at White Rock Lake

You’ll have to arrive early on summer weekends, as it seems everyone in town is at White Rock Lake Park. But watching sailing and sailboat races (or even getting into the captain’s seat yourself) on the 1,250-acre lake is a summer bucket list item for sure. Located in northeast Dallas, White Rock Lake Park features green space for picnics, trees for hanging hammocks and trails for hiking, biking or unicycling (if that’s your thing).


17. Go Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Irving

Stand Up Paddle North Texas closed their Grapevine location this year due to unpredictable water levels, but you can still get your paddle on in nearby Irving. Bring your own or rent one and glide along the Mandalay canals, waterfalls and fountains. Kids as young as four can navigate their own boards, and toddlers can sit on an adult’s board—wearing a life jacket, of course. SUPNTX also offers fitness classes, moonlight tours and more.


18. Swing from the Trees at Go Ape

Plano’s latest outdoor attraction, located at Oak Point Park Nature Preserve, will give you something to swing about. The Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course contains zip lines, obstacles and Tarzan swings and takes about two to three hours to complete. Participants are given an initial training course and instructors make themselves available throughout so there is no need for prior experience. Only kids 10 years or older can use the course, and individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.


19. Rent a Bike to Ride the Katy Trail

The historic Katy Trail in Dallas is 3.5 miles of tree-lined terrain that makes a perfect backdrop to your biking excursion this summer. No bike? No problem. There are plenty of places to rent a bike for a leisurely ride along the trail. Part of the City of Dallas park system, the trail is built on an old railroad line. There are lights along the trail that turn on at 5 a.m. and then again at sunset until midnight.


20. Watch a Summer Sunset on a Saddle

The folks at Marshall Creek Ranch will take you on a horseback ride through the 12,000 wooded acres that surround Lake Grapevine and if you are lucky enough to arrive as the sun sets, you’re in for a treat. Some of the best moments of summer are spent watching a sunset, and the views here don’t disappoint. If you’re in the mood to witness the sun going down in the evening Texas sky, why not experience it at Lake Grapevine with the help of Marshall Creek Ranch in Southlake?


21. Treat Your Furry Friend to a Summer Frolic

Don’t let Fido miss out on summer fun. The largest of its kind in North Texas, NorthBark Dog Park is a 22.3-acre off-leash dog park located in far north Dallas. The park includes a six-foot-wide loop trail, an expansive lawn area, a dog beach adjacent to a doggy lake and a doggy shower. Fido will be much obliged to meet new friends and get out of the house every once and awhile. The park is closed on rainy days and on Tuesdays for maintenance.


22. Feed the Animals at Homestead Farms

Don’t settle for a simple summer hayride at Homestead Farms in Fort Worth; take a full tour of the farm and learn how the cow eats cabbage. A reserved tour of the farm includes a hayride and also a chance for the kids to feed the animals and get a hands-on lesson of how a farm works. The tour takes about one hour, and tickets must be purchased in advance.