Friday, May 23, 2014

Totally Texas -- It’s a wet, wet world!

So much great, non-pricey stuff to do with kids, I’m going to concentrate on only one--water play--for this Memorial Day weekend. With so much available, I’m mostly addressing Dallas options. If you’re an outlier, see your city’s website for local options.

Dallas swimming pools don’t officially open until June 7, but if register yourself or your kids for lessons through the end of May, you’ll take home a free ticket to Bahama Beach Family Waterpark. Click on “program guide” at for a complete listing of pools and classes. Register at the website or your local recreation center. Not sure you can afford swim lessons? Check out the scholarship programs available through the website. And then get a free preview at Samuell Grand Pool’s Splash Day, June 6, 2-5 p.m., with free swim lesson evaluations and water games for the whole family.

Can’t wait a week to get all wet? Lucky for us, Dallas spraygrounds open tomorrow, May 24, to give us a preview of water fun before Memorial Day storms come through town. My neighborhood’s Ridgewood Park sprayground is among those opening for the season, after being closed the past two summers for renovations. With some exceptions, spraygrounds are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. See for a complete list and schedule.

Hot items later this summer:

Friday dive-in movie specials, combining two of my passions, water and film. Films June 13, June 27, July 18, and August 8, free with paid pool admission. See the Dallas Aquatics site for programs for sites and times.

Cardboard boat races, July 11, at Samuell Grand Pool. My grandkids were fascinated to hear about this event which, yes, involves constructing a vessel completely out of cardboard (and waterproof tape, lots and lots of tape) able to navigate all the way across the pool. That’s all the way, the long way. Entry fee is $15 per boat. I’ll give you this hint from observation--speed is less essential than waterproofing. Last summer, most entries disintegrate before making it past the halfway point. Teams still get recognition of they can pull or push the remains of their boats to the finish line.

I’m also looking forward to Dog Day Afternoon, August 23, 2-5 p.m., with swimming, splash and swimsuit contests for dogs. Swimsuits for dogs? Definitely a photo op. At Samuell Grand Pool. See page 16 of the Dallas Aquatics site program book for details.

Need more options for free or nearly free water fun? How about the Dallas Arboretum’s beloved Toad Fountain? The Arboretum is usually on my pricier list, but admissions on Wednesdays are buy one, get one free, making it easier for kids to enjoy the fountain and the rest of the Arboretum’s regular attractions. If you can wait until August, admission goes down to $1 for the month (parking not included). Caution: the Arboretum doesn’t allow changing clothes in its restrooms, so come prepared to get wet.

Other wet, wild and free options my family likes: the interactive water fountains at Klyde Warren Park, 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas; Pegasus Plaza, Main and Akard, in Dallas; Main Street Garden, 1900 Main Street, Dallas, between South St. Paul and Harwood (a favorite for water garden, playground, café, restrooms and lending library); Addison Circle Park, Addison Circle Drive, Addison; Belo Garden, 1014 Main Street, Dallas. I’ll address these and more later in the summer, but for now, see “Water spouts keep summer flowing” and “Summer winds down, splashes keep going,” at this site.

(Next Friday--kid movie mania. And yeah, it’s mostly free or low-cost.)


  1. Wow. Cardboard boats looks like great fun! Sound like you're planning a great summer, Melissa

    1. Thanks, Deborah, I am. Already trolling for big cardboard boxes. . .