Things To Do: Dallas-Fort Worth Summer Fun for Every Kind of Kid / 26 camps and activities for future dancers, scientists and more
What do your children want to be when they grow up? Maybe a movie star, a scientist, a singer or Spiderman—the possibilities are as endless as their imaginations, and North Texas has got kid-approved activities to match. We asked kids from our 2018 Model Search what they want to be when they’re older and rounded up the best summer camps, museums and other local destinations to help them achieve their dreams. Read on to find summer suggestions for your own budding banker or aspiring artist.
“I want to be a movie star or play a Minion on TV.” —Rainn, 5
Sorry, no Minions, but your kid could play a pilot, veterinarian, farmer or anything else his imagination cooks up at PLAY STREET MUSEUM, an indoor play space for kids 8 and younger. Each Dallas-area outpost has a different theme, from “On the Go” in Allen to “Downtown” in Lake Highlands, with mini sets, props and costumes to match.
COST: $11.50 for ages 1–8; free for adults and infants
WHERE: Multiple locations; playstreetmuseum.com
Kids who are serious about show biz can get even closer to their silver screen dreams at KD STUDIO, which boasts alumni like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Glee’s Kevin McHale. Film acting camps for ages 7–11 run throughout the summer, with one-week and two-week options available. Campers learn improv and acting exercises, audition techniques and kid-friendly monologues to prepare for casting calls, and parents learn how to help their child break into the industry. Kids can also choose from ongoing courses, like the four-week introductory acting class Kreative Kids I (ages 4–6) and the eight-week Childrens 1 (ages 7–11).
WHEN: June 4–Aug. 3
COST: $350–$595 per camp; classes from $125
WHERE: 2600 N. Stemmons Freeway, Suite 117, Dallas; 214/638-0484; kdstudio.com
Future babes on Broadway can hone their musical theater skills at ENCORE KIDS. Each weeklong, half-day program is dedicated to producing and performing a show—from the musical mystery Once Upon a Crime to a Shakespearean-inspired hip hop musical to a production of We Are the Greatest Showmen— all geared toward campers in kindergarten through ninth grade.
WHEN: June 18–22, July 9–13, July 30–Aug. 3
COST: $125 per session
WHERE:3926 Old Denton Road, Carrollton; 214/900-8348; encorekidstx.com
KIDS WHO CARE hits all the right notes with their International Musical Theatre Camp. Youngsters in first through 12th grades from around the world are welcome at this three week, full-day camp. All campers will learn acting exercises and stage presence techniques to prepare for their roles in an original show. Daily cultural immersions about each country represented at the camp—think German dance classes and an Aussie-approved Vegemite tasting— will show young performers that indeed, all the world’s a stage.
WHEN: July 8–July 29
WHERE: 1300 Gendy St., Fort Worth; 817/737-5437; kidswhocare.org
“I want to be an artist because I’m a good artist here, right? That’s why I want to be an artist.” —Madeline, 5
All artists are welcome to join weeklong summer camps at J’S ART STUDIO, where mini Michelangelos ages 5–13 can learn the basics of painting, drawing and sculpting through fun themes, from PURR-fect Pets to Galaxy Far Far Away. Weeks are divided into differently themed morning and afternoon sessions, so your child can customize her artsy experience.
WHEN: June 4–Aug. 10
COST: $200 per week
WHERE: 17630 Davenport Road, Suite 102, Dallas; 972/931-1933; jsartstudio.com
On the weekends, take a break from Saturday morning cartoons at KID ART’s Saturday camps. Kiddos in pre-K to sixth grade can come back every other Saturday during the summer for art projects on different cultural themes, from the Impressionist movement in France to beautiful scenes of Hawaii. Kid Art also has weeklong summer camps during which budding artists learn to use a variety of media, from paint to clay.
WHEN: Weeklong camps run June 4–Aug. 24; Saturday sessions are every other Saturday from June 16–Aug. 18.
COST: $260 for weeklong camps; $65 for Saturday sessions (includes supplies)
WHERE: 3407 Milton Ave., Dallas; 214/750-7118; kidartdallas.com
Find your inner artist and cowgirl at the SID RICHARDSON MUSEUM. In addition to a very wild wild West art collection, the museum boasts free family activities. Watch a kid-friendly flick followed by a hands-on gallery activity on select Mondays in June. Or enjoy Sid’s Story Time for ages 3–8—again followed by an art activity—every Thursday at 11am.
COST: Free admission and activities
WHERE: 309 Main St., Fort Worth; 817/332-6554; sidrichardsonmuseum.org
“I want to be a banker during the week and a dance instructor on the weekend.” —Jake, 9
First, about that weekend gig: Shimmy on over to PARK CITIES STUDIOS. Their half-day camps for ages 2 and up cover the fancy footwork of ballet, jazz, hip hop and contemporary dance. Classes are organized by skill level in two-to-three-hour sessions. While most camps are coed, boys can groove in Boy Zone, a hip hop and tumbling camp.
WHEN: June 4–Aug. 17
COST: $75–$300 per week
WHERE: 7979 Inwood Road, Suite 201, Dallas; 214/357-8888; parkcitiesdance.com
MCKINNEY DANCE STUDIO kicks off its summer season of classes and camps on June 11. Kids of all ages can dance it out with 10 weeks of ballet, hip hop, jazz, tap, modern or contemporary dance, or opt for weeklong, half-day camps like Shake It Up, which introduces beginning dancers age 7 and up to many different styles of dance in a high-energy environment.
WHEN: Starting June 11
COST: Tuition from $65 per month; camps $175 per week
WHERE: 7209 Virginia Parkway, Suite 120, McKinney; 214/592- 4866; mckinneydancestudio.com
Youngsters who want to get an early start on their finances can see where more than half the country’s money is printed at the BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING. Learn all about money and its history through interactive exhibits and even take a peek at the money-printing process. June 26–29 and July 24–27, the Bureau hosts its annual Employee Craftsmanship Demonstrations, where kiddos can make their own currency.
WHERE: 9000 Blue Mound Road Fort Worth; 817/231-4000; moneyfactory.gov
“I want to be a basketball star and play for the San Antonio Spurs.” —Armando, 5
Nowitzki wannabes with hometown pride (fine—and Spurs fans too) can chase their NBA dreams at DALLAS MAVERICKS HOOP CAMP. In each weeklong camp, campers ages 8–18 learn drills used by the pros and practice their passing, defense and shooting skills—they’ll even have the chance to show off their moves to a real Mavs player. At the end of each week, coaches hold an awards ceremony to celebrate the session’s MVPs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
WHEN: June 4–Aug. 10
COST: $250 per week
WHERE: Multiple locations; 214/747-6287; mavs.com/hoopcamp
For the younger set, the weeklong Basketball Skills Camp hosted by the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS offers court instruction organized by age (athletes 5–18 are welcome). Campers will learn basketball basics, play fun games and compete in daily team scrimmages. Contact Coach Polly Thomason at email@example.com for more information.
WHEN: June 18–22, June 25–29, July 9–13
COST: From $200 for full-day and $115 for half-day
WHERE: 800 W. Campbell Rd., Richardson; 972/883-4077; utdallas.edu
Tarrant County kiddos who want to take the court can visit any of the community centers in Fort Worth this summer for CAMP FORT WORTH. Campers ages 5–13 will play basketball, golf and tennis and take field trips to museums, water parks and swimming pools. Visit your local community center for further details.
WHEN: June 11–Aug. 10 (except July 4)
COST: $270 for nine weeks
WHERE: Multiple locations; fortworthtexas.gov
“I want to be a brain surgeon so that I can help people get better.” —Andrew, 8
The Doogie Howser in your life can put his stethoscope skills to the test at LITTLE MEDICAL SCHOOL. Weeklong camps for kids in kindergarten to sixth grade teach the importance of overall health, medicine and science through interactive crafts and activities, like a good game of pin the organ on the body. And forget camp T-shirts—campers don white coats and even receive a diploma.
WHEN: June 11–August 10
COST: $175–$300 per week
WHERE: Multiple locations; 833/362-5437; littlemedicalschool.com
And be sure to drop by the newly renovated Being Human Hall at the PEROT MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE for a supersized Operation-style surgery game, plus other interactive ways to examine the human body. Children’s Health partnered with the Perot to revamp Bio Lab, where ages 8 and up can practice separating and inspecting DNA.
COST: $20 adults; $13 ages 2–12; free for children under 2
WHERE: 2201 N. Field St., Dallas; 214/428-5555; perotmuseum.org
“I want to be a girl pilot so that I can fly high in the sky.” —Claudette, 4
At FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT MUSEUM’s summer camps, petite pilots in first through 10th grades do age-appropriate activities that are pretty out of this world, from the Aviators Workshop, during which campers take field trips to see the man-made machines at Love Field and natural flying creatures at Texas Discovery Gardens, to Intergalactic Science, where rocketeers explore the solar system with the museum’s portable planetarium.
WHEN: June 11–Aug. 3
COST: $245 per week for members, $275 for nonmembers
WHERE: 6911 Lemmon Ave., Dallas; 214/699-4619; flightmuseum.com
When she’s old enough, take her to DFW ADVENTURE PARK’s four zip lines, where kids 10 and older can soar high (35–40 feet in the air, to be exact) through the trees. While there, check out the laser tag and paintball attractions too—the perfect regimen for a fun-filled weekend.
COST: $40 per person; reservations required
WHERE: 13055 Cleveland Gibbs Road, Northlake; 817/854-0085; dfwap.com
HEARD NATURAL SCIENCE MUSEUM & WILDLIFE SANCTUARY also gives visitors the chance to soar sans aircraft, thanks to their Zip Line Day, where kids ages 10 and up climb a 23-foot tree and then whiz across 487 feet of open air. See upcoming dates online and reserve your spot.
COST: $12 per ride
WHERE: 1 Nature Place, McKinney; 972/832-0670; heardmuseum.org
Future pilots of any age can practice their paper airplane-making skills or build water rockets for blast-off at the FORT WORTH AVIATION MUSEUM. In addition to the hands-on activities, the museum has a “petting zoo” of real military aircraft dating from 1943 to present day, plus a cockpit simulator and two computerized flight simulators to satisfy your kiddo’s need for speed.
COST: $5 adults, $1 ages 6–16; free for children under 6
WHERE: 3300 Ross Ave., Fort Worth; 855/733-9627; fortworthaviationmuseum.com
“I want to be a scientist so I can create formulas and figure out how to make my own gum.” —Zion, 6
We can’t promise you’ll make your own gum, but every weeklong DESTINATION SCIENCE camp will have kids 5–11 making something— from robots and Rube Goldberg machines to a working roller coaster or the next SpaceX spacecraft. Each week, campers work on different scientific experiments, so your kiddos can sign up for all four themed sessions and never get bored with their discoveries. Register online.
WHEN: July 2–Aug. 3
COST: From $309 per week
WHERE: Multiple locations; destinationscience.org
Indulge your scientific sweet tooth at ICREAM CAFÉ, where kids can make their own frozen yogurt, ice cream or shakes. Once they pick their base (dairy-free options available) and flavors, liquid nitrogen instantly freezes their custom-made dessert.
WHERE: 9250 Dallas Parkway, Suite 150, Frisco; 214/618-2443; icreamfrisco.com
“I want to be a singer.” —Holland, 8
If your kiddo already has the rock star attitude, SCHOOL OF ROCK’s weeklong camps will give her the singing skills to go with. Kids ages 7–17 get a backstage pass to studio recording sessions, one-on-one instruction and a full rock ’n’ roll education, from the Beatles to Aretha. Campers will learn up to six songs from legendary artists and put on a concert for their adoring fans (that’s you!) at the end of each camp.
WHEN: June 4–Aug. 17
COST: $495 per week for full-day sessions; $395 for half-day
WHERE: Multiple locations; schoolofrock.com
For dinner and a show starring your little superstar, head over to WOODY’S SPORTS RESTAURANT in Frisco on a Tuesday or Thursday for kids’ karaoke night starting at 6:30pm.
WHERE: 307 W. Main St., Suite 105, Frisco; 214/872-4943; woodyssportsrestaurant.com
“I want to be a zookeeper so I can drive the tour bus around to show people the animals and feed the kangaroos.” —Sydney, 8
The obvious place to kick-start your kid’s zookeeping dreams is the DALLAS ZOO’s weeklong and single-day camps, where kids in pre-K through third grade observe all sorts of animal behaviors and see how animals have inspired innovators from Walt Disney to the Wright Brothers. For a backstage pass to the zoo’s exhibits, reserve spots on the Backstage Safari, a 90-minute tour offered every Saturday. Or sign up for the Junior Rancher Adventure (for ages 3–8) to help keepers at the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo care for chickens, armadillos and more.
WHEN: Camps run June 11–Aug. 10; Backstage Safari offered Saturday at 10am; Junior Rancher Adventure offered Thursday–Sunday at 9:15am.
COST: Prices vary by activity
WHERE: 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas; 469/554-7300; dallaszoo.com
Until she’s old enough to get her license, you can do the driving to spot bison, cheetahs, zebras, rhinos and more at FOSSIL RIM WILDLIFE CENTER. Take a self-guided safari or board a guided tour bus decorated with giraffe spots. For an extra-special treat, reserve spots on a behind-the-scenes tour. Purchase tickets online; book guided tours three days in advance.
COST: Self-guided admission starts at $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for ages 3–11; guided tours start at $30.95 per person
WHERE: 2299 County Road 2008, Glen Rose; 254/897-2960; fossilrim.org
“I want to be a baker just like my mom.” —Sophia, 4
YOUNG CHEFS ACADEMY has the ingredients for your favorite summer ever. In addition to weekly classes a la carte, kids ages 4–17 (Frisco) or 6 and up (Rockwall) can enroll in weeklong, half-day Camp Can-I-Cook sessions organized by age and skill. The menu—er, schedule—offers everything from a competition-style baking showdown to entire camps devoted to cupcakes and chocolate.
WHEN: June 4–Aug. 10 (Frisco); June 13–Aug. 10 (Rockwall)
COST: Starting at $60 per day or $199 per week; prices vary by location
WHERE: 8855 Preston Trace Blvd., Suite 100; Frisco; 972/335-4449 910
Steger Towne Drive, Rockwall; 469/264-7445; youngchefsacademy.com