“Ceremonies are important. But our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well.” — Jennifer M. Granholm, Governor of Michigan 2003–2010
Memorial Day, once called Decoration Day, is simultaneously a time to remember our fallen soldiers of war and a Monday holiday that makes a joyous, three-day stretch for extra family fun possible. To help you strike that balance with your weekend planning, we’ve rounded up a mix of kid-friendly events for you to soak in the sun, to see fireworks and attend a local ceremony. Plus we included a list of Blue Star Museums offering free admission all summer to military families.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra Parks Concert and Fireworks
Flag Pole Hill at White Rock Lake
Miss America 2019 Nia Imani Franklin, a classically trained opera singer and arts advocate, brings the fireworks literally and figuratively to the DSO’s outdoor concerts series at area parks, while conductor Ruth Reinhardt leads the orchestra through light classics and patriotic tunes. In case of rain, the concert moves indoors to the Meyerson Symphony Center downtown.
8015 Doran Circle, Dallas; 214/849-4376
Memorial Day Ceremony and Splashtacular
Flower Mound Senior Center and CAC Outdoor Waterpark
Monday, May 27, 9am ceremony; 1–5pm pool party
Bagpipers, a color guard and keynote speakers from the military and local government lead this ceremony honoring our country’s fallen soldiers. Bring the kids to pay their respects at the Wall of Honor recognizing individuals who served. After lunch, make your way over to the town’s family water park for games and more fun.
Free with paid admission: $8 adults, $6 children. Coolers welcome for a $5 charge.
2701 W. Windsor Drive, Flower Mound; 972/874-6110
1200 Gerault Road, Flower Mound; 972/874-7275
Memorial Day Weekend in the Garden
Dallas Arboretum and Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden
Saturday–Monday, May 25–27, open 9am–5pm
Help fill the Children’s Adventure Garden with red poppies by creating one to wear, learn the science behind some of the symbols and traditions of the holiday, and enjoy more family activities and entertainment, most of it taking place in the afternoons, such as petting zoo, free face painting, and live music on the lawn overlooking White Rock Lake. Look online for a complete schedule. Free with admission: $15 adults; $10 children ages 3–12; $3 for the children’s garden. Free admission into the main garden for veterans, active military and first responders.
8525 Garland Road, Dallas; 214/515-6615
Memorial Day Party & National Moment of Remembrance
The Texas Pool
Monday, May 27, noon–6pm
After a recent restoration, the saltwater, Texas-shaped pool reopens for its 58th summer season with this Memorial Day party open to the public. Enter the cannonball contest, play traditional pool games, and snap a photo with the #LOVEPLANO Heart. Chairs, canopies and coolers (non-alcoholic beverages) welcome. The moment of remembrance at 3pm includes performances by the Youth Trumpet and Taps Corps and an appearance by Miss Plano’s Outstanding Teen Sadie Schiermeyer.
Tickets are $5 per person at the door; max of $25 for families. $1 from each ticket sold benefits Operation Once in a Lifetime
901 Springbrook Drive, Plano; 972/881-8392
Memorial Day Ceremony
Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery
Monday, May 27, 11am
The Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery about 20 minutes southwest of downtown Dallas is one of the many Veterans Affairs-run cemeteries across the country to host special Memorial Day services, open to families of the fallen and to the public. Bring your sunglasses, sunscreen and blankets to lay on the lawn and take in the view of the gravesites each adorned with an American flag.
Free admission and a free shuttle available from the parking lot.
2000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas; 214/467-3374
Memorial Day Music Fest
Klyde Warren Park
Sunday, May 26, 2–10pm
You can’t peg Dallas’ favorite style music, which is why Klyde Warren Park brings out the rock, country, Tejano, jazz, classical and funk for its first-ever Memorial Day weekend music festival. Wander across to the lawn to hear the sounds from three stages and between performances, play in the family game zone, have your face painted and browse the vendor booths.
2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas; 214/716-4500
Memorial Day Train
Grapevine Vintage Railroad
Monday, May 27, 1:15–6:15pm
Step aboard an authentic 1920s passenger train car for a roundtrip excursion from the Cotton Belt Depot in downtown Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards. You’ll have 1.5 to 2 hours of playtime to explore the stockyards and see the Texas longhorn herd (cattle drive at 4pm) before reboarding for the return trip.
Tickets needed for 13 months and older. $18 touring class (open-air coaches with wooden benches); $26 first class (air-conditioned coaches with cushioned seats). Call to receive a special discount for service members and their families.
705 S. Main St., Grapevine; 817/410-3185
Renovated Irving Waterpark Reopens
Cimarron Park Family Aquatic Center
Saturday–Monday, May 25–27, noon–7pm
Irving’s first water park gets a facelift just in time for the biggest beach weekend of the year. Renovations include a refurbished play area and the newly re-plastered pool. Come splash in the toddler pool and relax under the shade awnings all weekend.
Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for children ages 4–17; free for 3 and younger; $8 for nonresidents.
199 Red River Trail, Irving; 972/721-6556
Bass Performance Hall
Friday, May 24, 8pm
Saturday, May 25, 2 and 8pm
Sunday, May 26, 2 and 7pm
Texas Ballet Theater dancers embody the characters from Carlo Collodi’s original story in performances of Pinocchio, with live accompaniment by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Even more whimsical—bring your family’s youngest dance lovers to Geppetto’s Workshop beginning one hour before the Saturday 2pm matinee for free crafts, coloring and photo ops.
Tickets from $25.
525 Commerce St., Fort Worth; 877/828-9200
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Artisan Center Theater
Friday–Saturday, May 24–25, 7:30pm
Told entirely through song, this Bible story gets the Broadway musical treatment, thanks to legends Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. After his brothers sell him into slavery, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, becomes the right-hand man to Pharaoh himself and finally reunites with his family. See it at Artisan Center Theater for tickets from $26 for adults and $14 for children 12 and younger.
444 E. Pipeline Road, Hurst; 817/284-1200
The Lightning Thief – The Percy Jackson Musical
Winspear Opera House
Thursday, May 23, 7:30pm
Friday, May 24, 8pm
Saturday, May 25, 2 and 8pm
Sunday, May 26, 1:30pm
Follow Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, on his epic quest to find Zeus’ lightning bolt in this stage adaptation of The Lightning Thief, which YA readers will recognize as the first in the five-book series by author Rick Riordan.
Tickets from $29.
2403 Flora St., Dallas; 214/880-0202
Sweet Tooth Hotel – Discotech Opens
Opening Saturday, May 25, 10am–10:30pm
Slip on a pair of silent disco headphones and “check in” to the SweetTooth Hotel’s third and newly expanded audio-visual art installations created by innovative local artists, as well as two solo artist exhibits in larger separated “hotel” rooms, at Victory Park. Purchase your timed tickets in advance.
$20; $40 for VIP admission. Free for children under age 2. Open daily, including Memorial Day Monday.
2316 Victory Park Lane, Dallas; 888/454-4353
Apollo 11 – First Steps
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Premieres Friday, May 24, multiple showtimes
The release of this short film marks the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission. See 70mm footage of the real-life moments of the historic mission, from preparation and the first lunar landing to the astronauts’ return. Film admission only, from $5 for members and from $6 for nonmembers.
2201 N. Field St., Dallas; 214/428-5555
Laps for Charity
Texas Motor Speedway
Saturday, May 25, 5–10pm
The best way to raise funds for the Speedway Children’s Charities: by taking your own kids for a spin around the 1.5-mile oval racetrack. Strap them into your personal vehicle (passengers must be at least age 6) for three laps around the track and pose for a picture afterward in Victory Lane.
$40 per vehicle in advance for three laps and T-shirt; $50 on event day. $30 per additional set of laps. $10 for photos in Victory Lane and $15 per additional T-shirt.
3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth; 817/215-8500
Blue Star Museums
Nearly 20 North Texas museums participate in the Blue Star Museum program, offering free admission to active duty military members and their families now through Labor Day Sunday, Sept. 2. Visit bluestarfam.org for more information and the sites for each of the museums below for hours and entertainment offerings:
Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance
211 N. Record St., Dallas; 214/741-7500
Frontiers of Flight Museum
6911 Lemmon Avenue, Dallas; 214/350-1651
George W. Bush Presidential Center
2943 SMU Blvd., Dallas; 214/200-4300
Meadows Museum at SMU
5900 Bishop Blvd., Dallas; 214/768-2516
Museum of Geometric and MADI Art
3109 Carlisle St., Dallas; 214/855-7802
Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora St., Dallas; 214/242-5100
Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site
609 S. Lamar Ave., Denison; 903/465-8908
Amon Carter Museum of American Art
3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; 817/738-1933
Fort Worth Aviation Museum
3300 Ross Ave., Fort Worth; 855/733-8627
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth; 817/255-9300
Kimbell Art Museum
3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; 817/332-8451
Log Cabin Village
2100 Log Cabin Village Lane, Fort Worth; 817/392-5881
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth; 817/738-9215
National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum
2029 N. Main St., Fort Worth; 817/534-8801
Sid Richardson Museum
309 Main St., Fort Worth; 817/332-6554
International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame
621 Six Flags Drive, Arlington; 817/385-8215
Museum of International Cultures
411 U.S. Highway 67, Duncanville; 972/572-0462