Weekend Planner
15 Reasons to Get Out of the House Thursday–Sunday
Words Elizabeth Smith, Photography Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve // Monarch Butterfly Festival
Published August 2018
Updated September 20, 2018
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Fly up (in hot air balloons) and away (to Neverland and Treasure Island) with your kids this weekend around Dallas-Fort Worth. Check out our round-up of top family festivals, performances, dances and more all-ages entertainment. Wherever you roam, don’t forget to stop by one of our two DFWChild Project Preschool events in Dallas and Plano.

Addison Oktoberfest
Thursday, September 20, 6–11pm
Friday, September 21, 6pm–midnight
Saturday, September 22, noon–midnight
Sunday, September 23, noon–6pm
Experience a kid-friendly yet authentic re-creation of the Munich Oktoberfest at Addison Circle Park featuring dachshund races, a yodeling contest, carnival rides and midway games, and it’s Addison, so naturally, an impressive number of German culinary options. Adult admission: $10 on Friday and Saturday; free on Thursday and Sunday. $35 packages available for kids’ unlimited ride wristband, pretzel voucher and more perks.

Neverland Pumpkin Village and Kids Garden Party, Dallas
Friday–Sunday, September 21–23, 9am–5pm
Make your own fairy dust and shadow drawings, hunt for pirate treasure and join a birthday cake cutting during the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden’s anniversary party. This weekend at Dallas Arboretum will be filled with Peter Pan fun in keeping with Adventures in Neverland, the theme for Autumn in the Arboretum and Pumpkin Village beginning Sept. 22. Complimentary adventure garden admission this weekend with paid general admission: $15 adults; $10 children ages 2–12.

InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival
Friday, September 21, 4–10pm
Saturday, September 22, 6am–10pm
Sunday, September 23, 6am–7pm
Now here’s a balloon release you can get behind. Don’t miss the chance to see the pink High Kitty, Kermie the Frog and more wacky hot air balloons rise over Oak Point Park—or your chance to go for a ride yourself. Kids must be at least age 6 for tethered balloon rides, (cash only: $25 adults; $15 children). General admission: $10 daily entry; $5 for kids ages 3–12; free for kids 36 inches and under.

Irving Main Street Event
Friday, September 21, 6–10pm
Saturday, September 22, noon–5pm
Festival admission, rides, kids’ activities in the Family Fun Zone, even the parking—it’s all free at the annual street fair in the Irving Heritage District. Friday entertainment includes face painting, inflatable rides, a video game truck and a cheer competition, and increases on Saturday with pony rides, a petting zoo and puppet shows by Geppetto’s Marionette Theater throughout the day.

Alice in Wonderland Jr., Highland Village
Friday–Saturday, September 21–22, 7:30pm
Sunday, September 23, 2:30pm
The whirlwind of Alice down the rabbit hole spirals even faster in this shortened version of Disney’s 1951 animated musical. Watch the kids of Studio B Performing Arts Center play the heroine and her madcap friends on stage for two weekends. $15 adults; $12 students; $10 children 10 and younger.

DFWChild Project Preschool
Saturday, September 22, 10am–1pm in Dallas
Sunday, September 23, noon–3pm in Plano
We’re taking the stress out of finding the perfect preschool by bringing the area’s top local schools to you at DFWChild’s free Project Preschool. Meet face to face with early childhood educators to learn about their teaching philosophies on Saturday at Perot Museum of Nature and Science and Sunday at The Shops at Willow Bend. Free to attend both events. Discounted admission at the Perot Museum available for Project Preschool attendees. 

Treasure Island Reimagined, Dallas
Saturday, September 22, 1:30pm (Play and Party)
Sunday, September 23, 1:30 and 4:30pm (performance only)
Long John Silver is on the hunt for buried treasure in this world premier play at Dallas Children’s Theater and then setting sail on a cross-country tour. Tickets from $17. Claim your seats for weekend shows, beginning Sept. 22 with the Treasure Island Play and Party for more entertainment with circus acts and shadow puppetry. Pirate costumes welcome. Tickets for the party from $79. 

Superhero Training Academy, Southlake
Friday, September 21, 9:30–11am
Cue the music and training montage and channel your favorite crimefighter during this program of epic superhero prep for ages 3–6. Meet at Southlake’s Bicentennial Park playground on Friday morning to make your own superhero costumes, practice superhero skills and protect Southlake from enemies, real and perceived. $15.

Monarch Butterfly Festival, Southlake
Saturday, September 22, 9–11am
Learn all about the migration routes for monarchs and how to help save the king of butterflies by attending Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve’s fourth annual event open to kids ages 3–14. Registration is required, so sign up online for your chance to toss wildflower seed bombs, dress up for a costume parade and go off in search of butterflies at this natural area nestled between Bob Jones Park and Lake Grapevine. The day wraps up with the release of 500 monarch butterflies. $2 sign-up fee per person.

WOW! Wonders of Water Grand Opening, Plano
Saturday, September 22, 9–11am
The City of Plano unveils its Nature Explore Trail at this grand opening event on Saturday morning. The new educational pathway located near the creek along the Environmental Education Center teaches visitors of all ages about creeks, their inhabitants and how to help care for them. Register online. Free.

Fossil Fest at Jurassic Gardens, Grapevine
Saturday, September 22, 9am–3pm
Stroll through a new exhibit of life-size animatronic dinosaurs, genuine fossils and activities inside the Grapevine Botanical Gardens, open daily through Oct. 7, and enjoy extra prehistoric activities during the Fossil Fest kick-off event on Sept. 22. Tickets are $8 per person; free for children under age 2. Purchase a $20 Paleo Pass for unlimited visits to the Jurassic Gardens exhibit and to Dinos After Dark, nighttime admission Sept. 28–29.

Rodeo on the River, McKinney
Saturday, September 22, 4–8pm
Boot scoot over to The Club at Trinity Falls for this rodeo-themed festival of trick roping, a rodeo clown and miniature ponies. The free entertainment starting at 4pm on Saturday includes armadillo races and a photo booth. Free admission. A portion of the food and drink sales benefits ManeGait equine therapy in McKinney.

Sci-Fi Mother/Son Dance, Frisco
Saturday, September 22, 5:30 and 7:30pm
Come dressed as an astronaut, alien or your favorite sci-fi character (or not, no costumes required) at Frisco’s 17th annual Mother/Son Dance held at the Frisco Conference Center. Dance times: 5:30–7pm for ages 4–6 and 7:30–9pm for ages 7–12. $20 per person for Frisco residents; $25 per person nonresidents.

REEL Adventures Harry Potter, Fort Worth
Saturday, September 22, 5:45–7:20pm, movie at 7:35pm
In which house would the Sorting Hat place you? Play the part of a Hogwarts student by dressing in your favorite house robes, cast wizarding spells with fun fly sticks and enjoy more magic activities during the first of four Harry Potter nights at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Then find a seat in the IMAX Omni Theater for a special screening of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Tickets from $13 for adults and $10 youth age 2–18. Discounts for members.

KIDZ BOP Live Tour, Irving
Saturday, September 22, 6pm
Sing and dance along to today’s biggest hits when the KIDZ BOP Kids—Freddy, Ahnya, Cooper, Isaiah, Julianna, Olivia and Shane—stop at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory during their cross-country tour. Tickets from $35. Download the new KIDZ BOP Live app to use photo filters during the show.

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