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 Dallas-Fort Worth 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, Richardson
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
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
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 hiphop musical to a production of We Are the Greatest Showman— 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
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
Your kiddos ages 8-14 can hone their musical theater skills at The Actors Conservatory Theatre. Summer camp productions include musical classics Willy Wonka and The Lion King; during each two-week session, future babes on Broadway will learn choreography, stage direction and singing skills. Register online; for more information, email email@example.com.
When: June 25–July 8 (Willy Wonka), July 30–Aug. 12 (The Lion King)
Cost: $250 per session; $225 per session sibling discount
Where: 359 Lake Park Road, Suite 118, Lewisville; 972/436-8228
“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, Fort Worth
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
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. Call to sign up. Kid Art also has weeklong summer camps during which budding artists learn to use a variety of media, from paint to clay. Register online.
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
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
If pipe cleaners and glitter glue are too passé, consider SCRAP Denton’s weeklong, full-day Camp Scrap. Instead of traditional art supplies, campers in first through sixth grade use recycled materials like plastic spoons, cardboard, paint samples and beads to create works of art. Register online.
When: June 4–Aug. 3
Cost: $200 per week; $180 for siblings
Where: 420 S. Bell Ave., Denton // 940/808-1611
“I want to be a banker during the week and a dance instructor on the weekend.”–Jake, 9, Grapevine
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 hiphop and tumbling camp.
When: June 4–Aug. 17
Cost: $75–$300 per week
Where: 7979 Inwood Road, Suite 201, Dallas // 214/357-8888
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
Youngsters who want to get an early start on their finances will enjoy a day trip to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Fort Worth, where more than half the country’s money is printed. Learn all about money and its history through interactive exhibits and even take a peek at the money printing process. During the Employee Craftsmanship Demonstrations June 26–29 and July 24–27, kiddos can see the money-making process up close and even make their own currency— all for free.
Where: 9000 Blue Mound Road Fort Worth // 817/231-4000
“I want to be a basketball star and play for the San Antonio Spurs.”–Armando, 5, Cedar Hill
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. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
When: June 4–Aug. 10
Cost: $250 per week
Where: Multiple locations // 214/747-6287
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 Road, Richardson // 972/883-4071
Ballers ages 5–6 can take the court at Bowmen Basketball Academy camp, hosted by Flower Mound Parks and Recreation at the Community Activity Center. During the half-day camp, boys and girls will learn basketball basics, play games and compete in daily team scrimmages.
When: Aug. 6–9
Cost: $65 CAC members; $72 nonmembers
Where: 1200 Gerault Road, Flower Mound // 972/874-7275
Tarrant County kiddos who want to take the court can visit many local community centers 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
“I want to be a baker just like my mom.”–Sophia, 4, Frisco
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
Sign your sweet tooth up for one of Taste Buds Kitchen‘s weeklong summer camps for age 4 to teens, like Baking 101 or Chocolate Lovers. If your babe has her nose in a book and her hand in the cookie jar, sign up for Tasty Tales, where chefs ages 4–8 learn how to make treats from popular storybooks. Basic kitchen techniques—from mixing ingredients to proper knife use—are addressed in each session.
When: May 28–Aug. 24
Cost: $49–$75 per day; $200–$315 per week
Where: 2140 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake // 817/488-0538
“I want to be a brain surgeon so that I can help people get better.”–Andrew, 8, North Richland Hills
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
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
“I want to be a girl pilot so that I can fly high in the sky.”–Claudette, 4, Dallas
At Frontier 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
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary 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
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
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
“I want to be a scientist so I can create formulas and figure out how to make my own gum.”–Zion, 6, Addison
We can’t promise you’ll make your own gum, but every weeklong Destination Science camp will have kiddos 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.
When: July 2–Aug. 3
Cost: From $309 per week
Where: Multiple locations
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
Each themed week at Win Kids‘ Specialty Science summer camp will have kiddos 5 and up making something scientific—from lava lamps and papier-mache volcanoes (to learn about the earth) to fish prints and shell castings (to learn about the sea). Register for the weeklong, half-day camps over the phone or in person.
When: June 18–Aug. 2
Cost: $180 per week, plus $25 fee for supplies
Where: 3000 Waketon Road, Flower Mound // 972/355-9988
“I want to be a singer.”–Holland, 8, Grapevine
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 Aretha to Zeppelin. 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 session.
When: June 4–Aug. 17
Cost: $495 per week for full-day sessions; $395 for half-day
Where: Multiple locations
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
“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, Rowlett
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
Take a walk on the wild side at Elm Fork Education Center‘s Explorer Camp and learn about the creatures roaming free in Denton’s natural ecosystems. During half-day programs that vary by week and age group, kids in second through eighth grade examine local critters and habitats, solve environmental problems and dig for archaeological clues.
When: June 11–July 20
Cost: $110–$140 per week; multi-week discounts available
Where: 1155 Union Circle, Denton // 940/565-4912
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