Friday, June 21, 2013

Totally Texas -- Movies for free -- or almost!

Most of the time my family is about the outdoors. But come rainy days -- or Texas summer days hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk, we’ll settle for the great indoors. Among our favorite indoor venues -- a movie theater. With the right movie, the boys are spellbound, grownups rest and laugh at jokes over the kids’ heads, and everybody’s cool and dry -- at least for a couple of hours.

Big spenders that we aren’t, for family movie days or evenings, we look for bargains. We’re lucky enough to live close to a couple of discount movie houses, but other family-friendly deals abound, especially in summer.

High on our list of bargains is Studio Movie Grill’s Children’s Summer series, at several locations in the Dallas area. Monday - Friday, we can catch movies for $1 per kid, $2 per adult, starting at 11 a.m. Yes, you can buy a meal there, too, but you don’t have to. This week’s movie is Despicable Me; next week’s is How to Train Your Dragon. This deal is only good at the box office. Get there early -- it often sells out. For the full schedule, click on “family” at

(Studio Movie Grill also shows $2 cartoons weekends year round. And for evening movies at $1, often mild enough for older kids, click on the “alternate programming” link. )

Or, combine movies with the outdoors, as in “dive-in” movies at selected Dallas swimming pools. Tonight, June 21, it’s Hotel Transylvania at the Walnut Hill Pool, free with cost of pool admission. Gates open at 8:30 p.m. Dive-in movies later this summer are Madagascar 3, July 12; Wreck-it Ralph, July 26, and Pirates: Band of Misfits, August 16. For locations, see

Also tonight, you can catch Moonrise Kingdom as part of the Nasher Sculpture Center’s ‘til Midnight programming each third Friday. Admission to the museum, music and movie is free from 6 p.m. to midnight. The film screens at 9 p.m., but hey, tomorrow’s not a school day! July’s film is Cars, August’s is Three Amigos. And yes, it continues in the fall. For details, see

Also free, and not too late for little ones, are the family movie nights at the Dallas Public Library’s Central Branch. Films screen every Thursday during the summer, beginning at 6 p.m. at the second floor Children’s Center. When I called, I was told licensing agreements prevent the library from publishing the line-up online, so give the librarians a call at 214-670-1671 for each week’s movie. For directions and other library events, see www.dallaslibrary/.

For later this summer, I’ve already put the Dallas Museum of Art’s film series, Love, War and Myth in Ancient Greece, on my calendar. Sound too heavy? Think -- Jason and the Argonauts, with mythical monsters by the late Ray Harryhausen. Thursdays this August at 7 p.m. Tickets are a tad more expensive than others listed here -- $5. But when was the last time you saw the skeleton warriors on the big screen? For the full schedule, see

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