Dallas Arboretum -- Okay, it’s not totally free, but the Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road in Dallas, has slashed daytime prices to $5 a person through August 31. The Chihuly glass sculptures are beautiful day or night. And with temperatures for the coming week forecast to stay only in the 90’s (practically a cold front for Texans), it’s a good time to get out during the day. Check the website, www.dallasarboretum.org/,for details.
Trinity Audubon Center -- Take a tour of the sleek, eco-friendly building and its indoor, interactive exhibits at 6500 Great Trinity Forest Way (formerly 6500 S. Loop 12) just outside Dallas, for $1 per person through August 31. Then go outside for a variety of hiking options and a play area. Wear sturdy shoes! See http://trinityaudubon.org/.
Interurban Railway Museum -- Electric trains are nothing new to North Texas -- before DART there was the Texas Electric Railway, memorialized at 901 E. 15th St., in Plano (adjacent to a DART stop). The museum, with model trains and interactive exhibits, is open Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. Preschool story time, 10:30 a.m. Admission is free, but they’d love a dollar or two donation. See http://plano.gov/Departments/parksandrecreations/recenters/Interurban/ .
Family movies at the library -- Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr., screens Hunger Games this Saturday, August 18, at 2 p.m. For teens, ages 12-18. Free, bring your own snacks. Also, the library’s Elvis film series continues August 21 and 28. See www.cityofallen.org/index.aspx?NID=900/.
Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair -- It’s August 24-26, at the African American Museum at Fair Park, 3536 Grand Avenue. Free, but some events require advance registration. While you’re in the museum, check out the galleries housing exhibits on the Freedman’s Cemetery and Fair Park sculptures, among others. See
http://tulisoma.org/ for details.
Spray parks -- Most public swimming pools are now closed for the season, but Dallas spray parks are open through September 4, for that last splash of summer. Free, of course. See www.dallasparks.org/Downloads/spraygroundschedule2012.pdf/.
While you’re having fun, get the kids looking good with free children’s haircuts through August 31 at all JC Penney salons. Reservations strongly recommended because of high demand. Call 1-855-JCP-KIDS or go to www.jcpenney.com/FreeHaircuts/