Friday, January 31, 2014

Totally Texas -- Blazing weekend in Dallas Arts District

Good times are always free in the Dallas Arts District the first Saturday of each month, with Target First Saturdays at the Nasher Sculpture Center and Adventure Asia family programs at the Crow Collection of Asian Art across the street.

This Saturday, February 1, is even more special because New Year’s Day welcomes the Chinese Year of the Horse, with more than 10,000 visitors expected for a day-long celebration.

The Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora Street, opens an hour early at 10 a.m. on first Saturdays. This month’s theme for kid-friendly activities is “Exploration”, and the opening children’s art activity is “special delivery boxes,” 10 a.m. to noon. Or take a family tour of art collection indoors and out at 10:15, 11:15 and 12:15; stretch and relax with yoga in the garden at 11:30 a.m.; or explore current events through poetry and flash fiction with the Dallas Writer’s Garret, noon to 1 p.m.

Grab a kid’s meal at the Nasher CafĂ© from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. or belly up to the Asian-themed food trucks parked nearby for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Official children’s activities wrap up by 2 p.m., but free admission continues until 5 p.m. You don’t even have to be accompanied by a child to enter. For a complete schedule of Target First Saturday events, see

At the Crow Collection, across the street at 2010 Flora, events overflow onto the street for the New Year’s celebration, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On the main stage across adjacent Olive Street, there’s music and dance, Chinese lions and a kung fu display. In keeping with the Year of the Horse theme, cowboys and cowgirls compete in costume contests, and everything ends with a bang of fireworks at 6:15 p.m.

Around the museum, get your face painted or your fortune told, or pet some of the visiting miniature horses (parental supervision needed for children). Inside, make horse puppets, practice calligraphy, join local writers for literary activities, and more. For a complete schedule see

Events at both the Nasher and Crow are free, but you’re on your own for food, drinks and shopping at the street side merchandise booths.

Need more to do? Admission to the adjacent Dallas Museum of Art is always free, but on Saturdays you can also take docent-led tours at 2 p.m. or create your own abstract painting in the art studio from 1 -2:30 p.m.

There is parking in lots and at meters all around the Arts District, but given the crowds, this would be a great time to take DART into downtown and pack yourself and kids aboard one of the pink D-Link buses shuttling around downtown. See “In the pink with Dallas D-Link,” January 24, 2014, at this site for more on the free shuttle buses. Or map your trip at www.dart/dlink/dlink.asp/.

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