Sunday, March 9, 2014

How to enjoy a Spring Break Staycation in Dallas

The author's daughter at the Dallas Arboretum

How to enjoy a Spring Break Staycation in Dallas
by Jayne Herring

My kindergartener is on Spring Break this week, and I know we are not the only family having a staycation. Rather than organizing file cabinets and hanging artwork while the munchkin catches up on Disney films, we came up with a list of things we plan to do to keep learning and exploring our city even while school is closed. There are many options around Dallas that will provide fun for the whole family, and quite a few of them won't cost you anything.

Founded in 1888, the DALLAS ZOO was the first zoo in the southwest. Next week, educational interpreters will be available at the stage throughout the day with a variety of animals to provide close-up encounters, answer questions, and help educate Dallas Zoo guests about wildlife. Click HERE to schedule your encounter. We will take DART from Uptown; ride DART to the Zoo Mondays and Tuesdays to receive a $2.00 discount on general admission. Show your same-day DART Pass at the Dallas Zoo ticket booth to enjoy your discount! 

After visiting last September, we have been wanted to get back to the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum. Loaded with fun activities and displays to fill up little brains of budding scientists and and even their parents, the outdoor science museum is also a picturesque oasis in the city, on the edge of White Rock Lake.Monday and Tuesday will be sunny with temps in the 70's, so you can bet you will find us there then. Arboretum memberships includes visits to the Children's Garden (number of visits dependent on membership level), and reservations are recommended.  Visit

View dinosaurs at the Perot Science Museum

Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts' Beauty and the Beast at Dallas Children's Theater, the largest professional family theater in the Southwest. Located in the newly renovated Rosewood Center for Family Arts in Lake Highlands, the DCT has a national touring company, theater academy, and “arts-in-education” programs for local schools. Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts is the oldest resident puppet theatre in the southwest. Although entertainment is the troupe’s primary goal, educational aims are inextricably interwoven. Both the founder of the company and the playwright/composer possess degrees in education. Beauty and The Beast is present at 11:30am this Tuesday through Friday at 11:30am; tickets are $17-$26, (take up to 35% off those prices for subscribers)

As newbies to the city, we thought the tree-shaded 20-acre Dallas Heritage Village might be a good stop this week, where we can stroll the grounds and discover what life was like over 100 years ago for ordinary Texans. This week is their Spring Fling, open from 10am-4pm Tuesdaythrough 4pm, with activities from 11-3. Children 4-12 get in for $5, and adults for $9. Members are admitted free.

Yes, more science! Kids can't get enough of it and nor should they. The Perot Science Museum will be very busy this week but they are prepared; just make sure you are with pre-purchased tickets through their website (tickets are for a specific reserved time). There will be extended hours this week, from 10am-7pm through Friday, with special member-only hours 8:30am-10am weekdays and 10am-noon on Sunday. We plan to take the FREE M-Line Trolley to get there, and will put in a little time at Klyde Warren Park after our museum visit.

Klyde Warren Park, the Bryant Park of Dallas, (or is Bryant Park now the Klyde Warren Park of NYC?), is always a great idea, especially when the weather will be as beautiful as this week is expected to be. With a fun and safe playground, fountains for playing in, food trucks of all kinds (sushi? snow cones? grilled cheese? Yes please!), views of the beautiful arts district buildings and downtown skyline, and daily FREE activities like yoga, salsa classes, architecture tours, live music, a reading room… it's the best deal in the city. Visit their website for a full schedule and notes on visiting.

The author's daughter plays in the fountain in front of Winspear Opera House

The Dallas Museum of Art has FREE general admission every day, and has a schedule of special family-friendly spring break activities this week, including interactive gallery tours and art project activities centered around the NCAA Championship Trophy, which will be displayed. Visit  

Visitors during spring break from March 8-16, 2014 will enjoy half price admission to the Nasher Sculpture Center, including free access to the new exhibition, David Bates.  Admission during spring break is only $5 for adults, $3.50 for students and seniors, and FREE for members and children 12 and under.  Home to one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculptures in the world, the Nasher Sculpture Garden features more than 300 masterpieces by Calder, Giacometti, Matisse, Picasso, Rodin, and more, and was designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano in collaboration with landscape architect Peter Walker.  Visit

Friday night (Pi Day!) is the Dallas Arts District Spring Break Block Party, a FREE family event from 6pm through midnight. Flora and Harwood streets will be shut down, and food trucks will line the streets, and the Crow Collection of Asian Art (featuring the theme Spring Break India), Nasher Sculpture Center (with a concert and film screening of Labyrinth), and Dallas Museum of Art (Art Madness) all collaborate with special tours and activities. Visit

And finally, the historic M-Line Trolley in Uptown is a fantastic way to get to the park and the museums; it's FREE, it's fun, and kids love it. As we live along the route we take it weekly, sometimes just to loop around the neighborhood and people-watch. It connects to the west entrance of Cityplace/Uptown Station (right next to The Rustic, Mutt's, and the West Village shopping area) on the DART Rail system. Visit

The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau also has lots of great suggestions. To find more fun and FREE ideas, visit them at Have fun and tell me what you experienced! 

About the author: Jayne Chobot Herring

Jayne is an executive liaison from New York City who fell in love with a Texan and is now embracing everything about her new life in Dallas.  A passionate traveler, hostess, and mom to a sassy little girl, she is often over-caffeinated and always on the hunt for new & interesting. You can follow her adventures online @jayniemarie,and on her blog A Moveable Appentency.