CENTRAL FORT WORTH
Sure, it’s the most touristy part of town, but some Fort Worth families call the center of the city home, including Carly Burson, who hangs her hat in the historic Fairmount neighborhood. “We spend a lot of time apart as a family, so when we’re together we love being home, connecting with our neighbors, drinking cocktails on our front porch and watching our kids play in the front yard with friends,” she says.Don’t get us wrong—Sundance Square and Fort Worth’s trio of art museums are fantastic family-friendly destinations that the heart of the city is known for, but there’s so much more to it. This cultural melting pot is filled with an eclectic mix of locales—part hipster, part cowboy, allgenuine Fort Worth flavor. From a one-of-a-kind inclusive playground to not-your-average craft studios to a locally owned children’s bookstore, we guarantee you’ll find some new favs.
MEET CARLY BURSON
KIDS AGES: 19, 8, & 4
WHERE SHE LIVES: Fairmount
WHY SHE LOVES IT: It’s community-driven. I’m not originally from Texas and feel incredibly grateful for the people that surround us and make the madness of our life—work, travel, business ownership and raising kids—possible. I can’t imagine how I’d make it all work without our Fort Worth family.
HER GO-TO PLACE TO TAKE THE KIDS: When we venture out, we love going for family walks on the Trinity Trails and meet-ing friends at Press Cafe.
SOMETHING PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT HER CITY: It’s progressive and moving forward on social issues more and more every day.
FORT WORTH IN ONE WORD: Unique
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
APRIL–JUNE & SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER // FRIDAY NIGHTS ON THE GREEN at Magnolia Green.You’ll find some of the region’s best live music, delicious food and drinks from Near Southside eateries plus children’s activities and an artisan market. Families bring blankets, chairs and pets to create the feeling of a fun and relaxed neighborhood picnic.
OCT. 19 // ARTSGOGGLEA free, family-friendly outdoor celebration of local artists, who fill Magnolia Avenue with displays of visual art, music, food and performances.
EXPLORE THE AREA
This outdoor movie theater has everything you need for a great night out: a double feature, food and drinks, and a playground for the kids. Bring your lawn chairs, or set up camp in the back of your SUV. Pets are also welcome. And guess what? Talking during the movie isallowed! It’s a great party spot, too.
223 N.E. Fourth St., Fort Worth; 817/717-7767
Founded by local glass artists with a mission to educate people about glass blowing, kiln forming and other glass arts, this studio in the Near Southside has classes and camps for children as young as 5. Try it out yourself when the studio offers walk-up workshops to make projects such as paperweights and pendants—follow along on Facebook for the latest events.
1013 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth; 817/899-0024
Husband and wife duo Frank and Suz spread plant love and good vibes at their DIY terrarium shop, no green thumb required. You can stop by to create your own terrarium with live plants and succulents, deco-rative rocks as well as figurines. (Psst—the classic terrarium is only $20 during Tuesday Happy Hour from 4–7pm.) You can also host your kid’s next birthday party here, and the guests will take home their own unique party favor.
1208 W. Magnolia Ave., Suite 106, Fort Worth; 817/382-8238
The long awaited 57,000-square-foot park near the Trinity River has attracted visitors from all over Dallas-Fort Worth since it opened this spring, so expect a crowd when you go. Built for children of all abilities, the playground includes adaptive swings, rubber surfacing and wheelchair ramps so that kids with mobility challenges can play alongside their siblings and friends. The whimsical design and sensory-rich environ-ment were created to spark kids’ imaginations and keep them entertained for hours.
2001 University Drive, Fort Worth; 817/392-5700
MARINE PARK AQUATIC CENTER
Located on the north side of down-town, this is a good place to cool off for kids of all ages and swimming abilities. It has a zero-depth entry pool, an interactive play structure, water slides and plenty of seating and shade. Admission is $5 for children 17 and younger and $6 for adults. 303 NW 20th St., Fort Worth; 817/392-6582
FORT WORTH WATER GARDENS
You’re not technically supposed to splash around in the pools at this oasis, but you canwalk down floating steps for a close-up view of the Active Pool’s impressive waterfalls. (make sure kids hold your hand at all times as the walk is slippery.) The lush lawns and architectural features make the gardens a beautiful place for family photos.
1502 Commerce St., Fort Worth; 817/ 392-7111
MONKEY & DOG BOOKS
This locally owned bookstore is filled to the brim with charm—including a resident pup, Sophie, who happily greets everyone who comes through the door. Though the kids’ section is the highlight, the store has a wide selection of titles for all ages and hosts regular events. Weekly story time is Wednesday and Thursday at 10:30am, and another story time takes place at Great Harvest Bread Company (on Magnolia Avenue) on the first Saturday of each month. Find even more events—craft workshops, book clubs, game nights—on the store’s website and Facebook page.
3608 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth; 817/489-5747
THE PLAY STUDIO
Although it might look like just a play space at first, this interactive play studio that’s celebrating its first year (congrats!) is also a resource for parents seeking a deeper understanding of their child’s devel-opment. From parent-child classes, parties and summer camps to open play in their indoor and outdoor areas, this is guaranteed to be a favorite for kids ages 0–7 and parents alike. There’s even a shared workspace—reserve a time slot, grab a coffee and get stuff done while your kiddos enjoy supervised play.
3005 E. Belknap St., Fort Worth; 817/936-2865
FIND YOUR SQUAD
FIT4MOM FORT WORTH
Besides a full schedule of fitness classes at locations across Fort Worth—including Dream Park—this local franchise hosts regular story times, mom’s night out events, play dates and a closed Facebook group where moms can socialize and seek support. (Search Our Village-Fit4Mom Fort Worth to join)
FORT WORTH MOTHERS OF MULTIPLES
Meetings take place the third Tuesday of most months at CERA. Email email@example.com for membership inquiries.
3300 Bryant Irvin Road, Fort Worth
MOCHA MOMS, INC. DFW SOUTH/FORT WORTH
This support group for moms of color meets the third Sunday of every month and hosts play dates, mom’s nights out and family activities, too. Moms who are interested can attend two meetings for free before decid-ing to join. For membership inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOUTHWEST FORT WORTH
One of the fastest-growing parts of town, known for its proximity to Texas Christian University and Colonial Country Club, southwest Fort Worth has been an attractive place for young families for many years. Tree-shaded, manicured older homes are fringed by popular shopping and entertainment hubs, with new communities growing up along the Chisholm Trail Parkway. Perfect for active families who love the outdoors, the area is filled with parks, Trinity River views and restaurants with expan-sive patios. From family-friendly destinations that have been around for more than 60 years to newer options that are literally popping up every day, there’s no excuse for boredom in this lively part of Cowtown
MEET CORRINE QUAST
KIDS’ AGES: 5 and 1
WHY SHE LOVES HER CITY: Even though Fort Worth is the 13th most populated city in the U.S., it still has the smalltown feel with charm.
HER GO-TO PLACE TO TAKE THE KIDS: The Fort Worth Zoo. We have a family pass and use it year-round.
A HIDDEN GEM PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT: The Children’s Theater at Casa Mañana. The shows are very entertaining and we enjoy the intimate atmosphere.
HER CITY IN ONE WORD: Welcoming
EXPLORE THE AREA
This is a favorite local haunt for families, and for good reason: The restaurant’s location along the Trinity River with wide-open green space off the patio makes it a win-win for parents and children alike. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
4801 Edwards Ranch Road, Fort Worth; 817/570-6002
This mixed-use development right on the Trinity River has family-friendly restaurants and treats, such as Taco Diner and Steel City Pops, plus free amenities galore: bocce ball, bean bag toss, wobble boards and grassy areas for kids to run around and play. The plentiful public art is a bonus for Instagrammers. Check the website for live music and other family-friendly events throughout the summer. P.S. We hear The Grove is a pretty cool place to host parties.
3720 Convair Drive, Fort Worth; 817/509-4151
THE HAPPY LARK
Part boutique with kids’ clothes, books and toys (including the uber-popular Grimm’s brand) and part indoor play space, this is a great spot for parents with infants to preschoolers to hang out. The play space is 1,700 square feet and has toys and games guaranteed to keep little ones occupied for hours while parents socialize and enjoy free coffee. Both day passes and memberships are offered. If you’re thinking of visiting on the weekend, subscribe to their events calendar, or check social media for open play hours, as the store often has birthday parties scheduled on Saturday and Sunday.
6012 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth; 682/841-1027
Less crowded than many local parks, Candleridge is an appealing getaway if you’re looking for a calmer, more serene atmo-sphere. It’s also one of the most picturesque parks in town, with a large playground that looks out over a pond filled with ducks. The walking trail that surrounds the water is great for walking, running or biking.
4301 French Lake Drive, Fort Worth; 817/392-5700
One of the major bonuses of this park is the play-slash-workout area for older kids and adults right next to the play area for younger kids. The park also has a baseball field, basketball court, a nearby pond, trails for running or biking, and trees that offer plenty of shade for a picnic after working up an appetite at the playground.
3725 South Drive, Fort Worth; 817/392-5700
PATRICIA LEBLANC PARK
There is something for everyone at this park’s recently renovated playground, which was actually the first in the country designed for all abilities. The new-and-improved playground has recycled rubber surfacing to make it easier on the feet as well as multiple swing sets, slides and musical features that are divided into two areas, one for preschoolers and one for older kids.
6300 Granbury Cut Off St., Fort Worth; 817/392-5700
You can bowl, play bocce ball and enjoy a bite on the patio at this Clearfork entertainment spot, best for kids who are at least school-age. The food is much higher quality than your typical bowling alley fare, and kids are guaranteed to find something they love on the kids’ menu—which, by the way, is half-price on Sunday after 5pm.
5001 Trailhead Bend Way, Fort Worth; 682/352-0808
FOREST PARK MINIATURE RAILROAD
A timeless classic, this is a must-do activity for anyone with small children. An open-air locomotive will take you on a 5-mile trip around the Trinity River, about a 40-minute ride. The trains operate Friday–Sunday year-round, but check the website for hot weather closures. And bring cash to pay for your seats.
1700 Colonial Parkway, Fort Worth; 817/336-3328
FOREST PARK POOL
If you don’t have a country club member-ship or a back-yard pool, it can be difficult to find a pub-lic swimming spot in this part of town. Luckily, Forest Park Pool has options for all ages and swimming abilities. The pool has slides and a diving board, a great wading area, and plenty of lounge chairs. The lifegaurds are particularly watchful, and if you forget a life jacket for your child, you can rent one for only $2. Be sure and check their web-site for hours and special events.
2850 Park Place Ave., Fort Worth; 817/924-8248
FIND YOUR SQUAD
FIT4MOM FORT WORTH
Besides a full schedule of fitness classes at locations across Fort Worth—including The Trailhead at Clearkfork (pictured above)—this local franchise hosts regular story times, mom’s night out events, play dates and a closed Facebook group where moms can socialize and seek support. (Search Our Village-Fit4Mom Fort Worth to join.)
FORT WORTH MOTHERS OF MULTIPLES
Meetings take place the third Tuesday of most months at CERA near the Waterside development. Email email@example.com for membership inquiries.
3300 Bryant Irvin Road, Fort Worth
MOCHA MOMS, INC. DFW SOUTH/FORT WORTH
This support group for moms of color meets the third Sunday of every month and hosts play dates, moms night out and family activities, too. Moms who are inter-ested can attend two meetings for free before deciding to join. For membership inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The closed Facebook group run by the magazine-slash-blog of the same name is a private place for Fort Worth mamas to connect. Search for the group on Facebook.
WEST FORT WORTH
Residents will tell you one of their favorite things about living in west Fort Worth—besides the beautiful views of down-town—is the small-town sense of community despite the big city setting. “The people here are genuine and really care about how they impact one another and how they can better the community,” says Stacy Barton, a local mom of two. “We also have such a wonderful spirit of entrepreneurship!” Considered one of the most family-friendly areas of town, the comfortable neighborhoods in west Fort Worth are filled to the brim with indoor and outdoor entertainment options for the entire family. Some of these establishments have been around since local parents were kids, while some have popped up just in the last few years (or weeks—welcome to Cowtown, Commonplace Books). Parents enjoy reliving their childhood at places such as Rollerland West and Burger’s Lake, as well as starting new traditions with the next generation of Fort Worthians, like building master-pieces at a dedicated Lego play space or strolling WestBend’s riverside shops and restaurants.
MEET STACY BARTON
KIDS: A daughter, Rory, who is 4, and a son, Remington, who is 7 months
WHAT SHE LOVES ABOUT HER CITY: Oh man, there are so many reasons to love Fort Worth, from the world-class museums in the Cultural District to the top-rated Fort Worth Zoo, the burgeoning and super hip Near Southside, The Stockyards, TCU, and the many amazing restaurants. But my top reason to love this city is the people. If you haven’t come to Fort Worth in a while, you should. It’s pretty darn cool!
A HIDDEN GEM PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT: We have more than 80 miles of trails alongside the Trinity River to hike, bike or ride your horse. It takes you along some absolutely stunning scenery, and it’s really fun to just explore nature with the kids!
HER CITY IN ONE WORD: Authentic
EXPLORE THE AREA
ROGUE BRICK BUILDERS’ LOUNGE
Part retail store, part build-space, this is the perfect destination for Lego lovers of all ages. From a Duplo area for the younger crowd to a 30-foot table filled with regular bricks to a custom minifig station, kids have plenty to keep their hands and imaginations busy. You can pay a daily entrance fee of $10 ($5 per additional kid; par-ents are free) or sign up for a monthly or yearly membership. The store’s also offering summer passes for $120 per family, good for unlimited visits through Aug. 16.
5509 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth; 817/720-3330
RIDGLEA HILLS PARK
This park is a bit of a secret unless you live in the Ridglea Hills neighborhood. Located right next to Ridglea Hills Elementary, the elevated green space has multiple play structures for the kids, a short walking trail, covered picnic tables and a tennis court—though the best part of the park is the impressive view of the city.
4589 Stonedale Road, Fort Worth; 817/392-5700
This century-old, spring-fed swimming hole is a great option for families wanting to cool off in the Texas heat. If you’re squeamish about lake swimming, have no fear—this one’s got a water filtration system and a plant-less, sandy bottom. It also offers two sandy beaches and lots of water play features, including diving boards, slides and a trapeze, all monitored by lifeguards. Bring a picnic—there are more than 300 tree-shaded picnic tables with charcoal grills for cooking—but you have to leave alcohol at home. Pro tip: Get to the lake early on weekends; otherwise, you’ll be waiting in line. Admission is $15 for age 7 and up, $5 for ages 1–6 and free for kids younger than 1. To get the best deal, buy a $350 pass that’s good for 50 visits for up to six people, with no expiration date.
1200 Meandering Road, Fort Worth; 817/737-3414
Set aside your tablets for a few minutes—there’s a brand-new bookstore in town. Founded in Oklahoma City, Commonplace Books has popped up at WestBend between Bluemercury and Bartaco (across from Popbar). Although you won’t find the classics such as Green Eggs and Ham here, you might just fall in love with the store’s selection of newly released titles, in sections for “Littles” and “Bigs” (picture books and chapter books, respectively). The pop-up bookstore also hosts story time for kids under 10 every Saturday morning at 10:30am––get there early to snag a spot on the green velvet couch. Currently, the store is set to stay in Cowtown until June 2020.
1701 River Run, Suite 161, Fort Worth
So much more than just a grocery store—you can pick up ready-to-eat food for home or grab some dinner and a bottle of wine and let your kids enjoy the market’s newly updated (and enclosed!) playground. If your family enjoys live music, head to the patio on a Friday or Saturday night for burgers while your little ones join their friends on the dance floor or entertain them-selves on the playground. Be sure to check the website for a list of upcoming bands and more patio events. (Did someone say brunch?)
4651 West Freeway, Fort Worth; 817/989-4700
Skate along to your favorite songs at this indoor skating rink that’s been around for more than 20 years. You’re welcome to bring your own skates or rent from them. (Roller skate rental is included in the price of admission, but inline skates cost $3.50.) When you need a breather, there are arcade games and a snack area. Ask about renting out the whole rink for a party.
7325 Calmont Ave., Fort Worth; 817/244-8290
Opened in March, this laid-back restaurant celebrates the history of the Union Pacific Railroad—in fact, it’s right next door to the rai-lyard. The wide-open patio is both kid- and dog-friendly, with picnic tables, patio games, TVs and sometimes live music to keep everyone entertained. Good news for dessert lovers—you can enjoy a funnel cake or an ice-cream sandwich from cult favorite Curly’s.
1616 Rogers Road, Fort Worth; 817/367-9348
USA Today has called their pizza the best in Texas, and it should be, considering the founder is descended from one of Naples’ original pizza-making families. Besides regular and thin-crust (“Roman-style”) pizza, the restaurant serves other Italian favorites like pasta and sandwiches. The wide-open patio makes it a great destination for the whole family—especially on Thursday, when kids eat free all day.
6333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite 240, Fort Worth; 817/439-7676
Formerly a grocery store back in the 1940s, this neighborhood favorite is known for their deliciously juicy burgers, crinkle-cut fries, onion rings and fried okra. The latest sensation is the award-winning Texas Firecracker burger with jalapeño cream cheese and bacon. We recommend topping that off with a milkshake (try the flavor of the month) or an old-fashioned Coke float. Need a little dessert? You can’t go wrong with their homemade banana pudding.
4901 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; 817/732-2881
RIDGELEA SWIMMING POOL ASSOCIATION
Less expensive than a country club, this private facility in its 63rd season has two pools—one with a diving well—and plenty of deck space and shaded patios for lounging. And unlike some neighborhood pools, RPA has lifeguards on duty. It’s open six days a week during the summer; membership includes group swim lessons for kids, adult swim time (including new early bird swim hours on weekday morn-ings) and discounted fees for the kids’ swim team. There’s also a concession stand with snacks and drinks.
6700 Calmont Ave., Fort Worth; 817/738-0266
AIRFIELD FALLS TRAILHEAD & CONSERVATION PARK
Located right next to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base is a gem of a park that most locals don’t even know about. It’s a nod to Fort Worth’s avia-tion history and also boasts Fort Worth’s tallest natural waterfall. Visitors are greeted at the entrance with parts from an old DC-9 jet and airfield light-ing. There’s a butterfly walk leading to the waterfall, and if you wear waterproof shoes, you can hike along the top of the falls or clamber into the creek bed. The best time to visit is after a good rain.
200 Pumphrey Drive, Fort Worth
FIND YOUR SQUAD
FORT WORTH MOTHERS OF MULTIPLES
Meetings take place the third Tuesday of every month (except December) at the Western Hills Church of Chirst. Email email@example.com for membership inquiries.
8800 Chapin Road, Fort Worth
MOCHA MOMS, INC. DFW SOUTH/FORT WORTH
This support group for moms of color meets the third Sunday of every month and hosts play dates, moms nights out and family activities too. Moms who are interested can attend two meetings for free before decid-ing to join. For membership inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MOTHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS (MOPS) AT NORMANDALE BAPTIST CHURCH
Working and stay-at-home moms of infants to kindergartners meet twice a month September through May.
2001 Chapel Creek Blvd., Fort Worth; 817/246-2180
ALLIANCE, HASLET, KELLER, ROANOKE AND WATAUGA
Although we grouped these five together, they all offer a slightly different flavor of suburban living. One thing Haslet residents have said over and over is the community is unbeatable—it’s a very safe and homey place, and most schools are within walking distance. In Keller, moms rave about the school district as well as the accessibility to parks and other amenities to keep up a healthy lifestyle with the kids. Also, the job opportunities in Keller are increasing. Watauga and Roanoke are continuously growing, too. Though they are still on the smaller size, they’re quickly making up for it with the number of new businesses opening up. For new and young families, Watauga’s housing is particularly affordable, making it a great place for a starter home. Meanwhile the master-planned Alliance area is a very close-knit community, with the lively Alliance Town Center providing entertainment in the form of more than 80 shops and restaurants.
MEET STEPHANIE ROWLAND
KID’S AGE: 1
WHERE SHE LIVES: Watauga
WHY SHE LOVES IT: It’s small but with shopping, parks, schools and larger cities touching on all sides.
GO-TO PLACE TO TAKE HER DAUGHTER: When the weather is nice, my favorite place to go with Claire is Capp Smith Park. It’s nice to go to see ducks and get fresh air and exercise. You also can’t beat free!
HER CITY IN ONE WORD: Quiet
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
JULY 3 // INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION at Roanoke Community Park with bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, food, music and fireworks.
FALL SWEEP in Watauga. This annual event is a way to volunteer as a family to help clean up the community. More information will become avail-able soon on cowtx.org/1101/special-events.
SEPT. 28 // PUBLIC SAFETY FALL FESTIVAL in Keller. Public safety agencies (local, state and federal) come together to show kiddos their vehicles, uniforms and other cool gear. There will also be free refreshments and children’s activities.
OCT. 12 // CELEBRATE ROANOKE in the downtown area. The 14th annual (and free!) event is all about the town, so join in by shopping artisan and craft vendors on Oak Street, eating at the local restau-rants and booths, playing in the children’s area, and more.
OCT. 19–20 // HAUNTED CAMPOUT at Bear Creek Park in Keller. Walk along the Haunted Trail, or join the costume and tent decorat-ing contests, tent trick-or-treating and more.
OCT. 26 // HALLOWEEN BASH in Watauga. Dress the kiddies up in their favorite costumes, and head to this festival that will have plenty of family activities and games.
NOV. 16 // KELLER ART WALK in Old Town Keller. The community comes out to support artists and their masterpieces as well as enjoy the live music and kids’ activities.
DEC. 6 // HOLLY DAYS: CHRISTMAS AT KELLER TOWN CENTER Watch the little ones’ eyes widen at this annual light parade and tree lighting. There will also be kids’ arts and crafts, a two-lane snow hill, photos with Santa, entertainment and more.
HOLIDAY SEASON // OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS PARADE & EVENT The annual lighting of the Christmas tree and parade down Oak Street shouldn’t be missed. There will also be activities at the Recreation Center.
DECEMBER // WATAUGA’S HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION Join the holiday cheer at this annual event, which in the past has included Santa, shopping, food trucks, bounce houses, entertainment and fireworks.
EXPLORE THE AREA
WATAUGA PUBLIC LIBRARY
Opened in 1983, this library is 20,000 square feet and filled with over 108,000 items. The Family Place Library offers programs for littles that focus on literacy and reading readiness as well as parental education. The library also has a multitude of family events, such as concerts, trivia nights and crafts.
7109 Whitley Road, Watauga; 817/514-5864
At this dining destination, you can expect locally sourced dishes that come straight from Keller Farmers Market and other local purveyors to your plate for brunch, lunch and dinner. While there are homestyle favorites, such as a classic burger, there are also innovative offerings, such as a chicken sandwich with a twist. For the littles, there’s plenty to find on the kids’ menu (including brunch bites).
201 Town Center Lane, Suite 1101, Keller; 817/741-5200
PLAY STREET MUSEUM
Every PSM has a different theme; this new location, which opened this past December, offers kids the chance to explore a faux con-struction zone—stocked with on-theme toys such as building blocks—or one of the other imaginative, interactive activities in the open play space.
101 Town Center, Suite A109, Keller; 817/779-3125
ROANOKE SPLASH PARKS
Both Cannon Parkway Park and Parks of Roanoke have a splash pad and much more: a playground, picnic pavilion, basketball courts and a paved walking trail that encircles the park. The Cannon Parkway location (down the street from Hawaiian Falls) also has a large skate park, which is kid-friendly. Both parks are open daily from dawn to dusk.
Cannon Parkway Park // 750 Cannon Parkway, Roanoke
Parks of Roanoke // 107 Hillsborough Drive, Roanoke; 817/837-9930
THE KELLER POINTE
This facility has an indoor pool that’s open year-round with a kids’ play area, lazy river and more, plus an outdoor pool, open during the summer, that is packed with a splash pad, lazy river and water slides. Host a swim party at either pool. If your kiddie doesn’t know how to swim or just wants to improve, sign up for one of the swimming classes. Daily, monthly and annual admissions are available; residents get a discounted price.
405 Rufe Snow Drive, Keller; 817/743-4386
DFW ADVENTURE PARK
Thrill is taken to a new level at this outdoor sports park 1 mile from Texas Motor Speedway. With over 170 acres of creeks and trails, this park has something for every adventur-er: paintball, zip lines, survival school and an obstacle race. The park also hosts special events throughout the year, such as paintball tournaments, mud runs and zombie shoots.
13055 Cleveland Gibbs Road, Northlake; 817/854-0085
ALLIANCE TOWN CENTER
Besides dining and shopping, there is a green space in the center of this bustling retail hub. With two parks and 900 acres, there is plenty of room to frolic and play under the Texas sun. Traipse through blackland prairie developed in collaboration with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
9550 Sage Meadows Trail, Fort Worth; 817/224-6000
FIND YOUR SQUAD
HASLET MOTHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS (MOPS)
Meets the first and third Fridays of the month from September–May at the Fellowship of the Parks Haslet campus. Visit facebook.com/hasletmops for more details about upcoming family play dates and social events.1029 Avondale Haslet Road, Haslet
KELLER AREA MOMS
The nonprofit serves moms in Keller, Alliance, Haslet, Roanoke, Watauga and neighboring areas. Moms-only social gatherings and philanthropic opportunities are just part of the membership benefits, which also include play dates, holiday parties and couples’ events. Email email@example.com for more information.
LA LECHE LEAGUE OF FORT WORTH-ALLIANCE
This chapter of the breastfeed-ing-focused mom-to-mom support group serves women in Alliance, Roanoke, Keller, Watauga, Argyle, Trophy Club and beyond. The group meets the first Thursday of every month at 10:30am at the Southlake Public Library.
1400 Main St., Southlake
COLLEYVILLE, GRAPEVINE, SOUTHLAKE AND TROPHY CLUB
Between the wineries, the shopping opportunities and the short drive to DFW International Airport, Grapevine, Southlake and Colleyville are the perfect examples of big-city amenities meeting small-town vibes. That means tight-knit neighborhoods and endless choices for eating and entertainment. (Seriously, they have a lot.) These suburbs are known for crowd-drawing community events, such as Grapevine’s Main Street Fest and Southlake’s Oktoberfest, as well as thriving downtown areas—Historic Downtown Grapevine, Colleyville Center and Southlake’s Town Square. But the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Southlake is probably sports, especially football—it’s a city event. Colleyville has older, established neighborhoods filled with fountains and tall trees. Mom of three Jennifer Jaetzold raves about her city’s library and other local hotspots. “We love Bransford Park,” she says. “A cute, quaint park with wonderful tree coverage, a large tree house-type playground and lots of other fun activities for the kids. We also recently discovered Muggle Shakes in Colleyville. Thumbs up for lots of sugar!” Meanwhile Trophy Club was Texas’ first planned community, an affluent neighborhood built around the only golf course in town. Southlake and Trophy Club are both social hubs, great for making mom friends.
MEET JENNIFER JAETZOLD
KIDS’ AGES: 11, 8 & 7
WHERE SHE LIVES: Colleyville
WHY SHE LOVES IT: Colleyville is a very family-friendly, safe city and in close proximity to other major cities in the area.
HER GO-TO PLACE TO TAKE THE KIDS: I love to take my kids to the Colleyville library. We go at least one time a week. The staff is so friendly and knowledgeable. They have the best kids’ programs throughout the year, and the summer library program is awesome!
HER CITY IN ONE WORD: Charming
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
OCT. 19 // GRAPEVINE BOTANICAL GARDENS’ BUTTERFLY FLUTTERBY at Heritage Park. This free annual event begins with a parade; afterward, monarch butterflies will be released for their migration.
OCT. 26 // HALLOWEEN BASH AT THE BOO-TANICAL GARDENS at Heritage Park in Grapevine. Dress the kiddos up as their favorite character at this spooky event full of live entertainment, activities, sweets, savories and more.
OCT. 27 // MONSTER MASH at Aria Amphitheater at The Marq Southlake. This is the city’s annual Halloween-themed festival that includes live music, pumpkin decorating, balloon artists, trick-or-treating and more. Show up in costume for the costume parade.
NOV. 9–10 // FALL FAMILY CAMPOUT at Trophy Club Park
NOV. 15–JAN. 5 // LONE STAR CHRISTMAS AND ICE! at the Gaylord Texan Resort. Each year has a new, themed walk-through experience promising 2 million pounds of colorful ice. There will also be an eight-lane snow tubing hill, outdoor ice skating rink, gingerbread house decorating and so much more. Tickets go on sale this month.
EXPLORE THE AREA
The 8,000 acres that are Lake Grapevine is one of the main attractions during the summer daze. Whether it’s fishing, boating, camping or hiking, the lake and surrounding area have parks and marinas for getting a full day of lake life in. Head to Oak Grove Parkwhere there are multiple sports complexes as well as a sand volleyball court, playground, large shaded pavilion and more. Or try Lakeview Park where you’ll find a new, large playground, hike and bike trails, and a beach. There are a couple of businesses around the lake to accommodate with boat, jet ski and paddle board rentals. The best kept secret?Rockin’ S Bar and Grill right on the lake at Twin Coves Marina, which is on the Flower Mound side but only a short boat (or car) ride away. Besides the outdoor seating on the “grass” that looks onto the lake, the family-friendly restaurant (during the day) hosts live music and themed parties for everything from the holidays to Cowboys games.
SMALL WORLD BIG IMAGINATION
At this facility focused on unstructured, imaginative play, kiddos can pretend to be a doctor, puppeteer, firefighter or whatever their heart desires. Join open play Tuesday–Friday from 9:30am–6pm and Saturday–Sunday with various times due to parties (check Facebook for changes). Party packages are available, too.
280 Commerce St., Suite 125, Southlake; 682/305-7924
Munchkins can bring their American Girl doll and make something for themselves and their doll during a themed monthly class at this art studio, or children and parents can walk in anytime to paint pottery masterpieces. The studio also hosts pottery wheel classes, camps for kids, ladies’ nights, kids’ night in and other special events.
150 S. Main St., Grapevine; 817/424-1417
OBSTACLE WARRIOR KIDS
This new arrival to the area was inspired by the TV show American Ninja Warrior; inside you’ll find ANW-style obstacle courses for age 2 and up. Littles can also play dodgeball. While there is open play, there are also classes held by “ninja instructors.” Closed-toe, athletic shoes are required at all times. Party pack-ages are also available for purchase.
2951 E. Highway 114, Southlake; 817/749-0270
URBAN AIR TRAMPOLINE AND ADVENTURE PARK
Get ready for fun on a rainy, or sunny, day. They have everything, and we mean everything: go-karts, bumper cars, obstacle courses, a playground, tumble track and more. Need we say more? You can also book your kid’s next birthday party here.
2201 W. Southlake Blvd., Southlake; 817/203-8686
THE REC OF GRAPEVINE
This spot is popular not only for working out but also for taking kids to the pool—we’re talking a huge indoor splash park with a dumping water bucket, slide, fountains and more. In the more than 7,000 square feet of fitness rooms, you’ll find aerobic machines and regulation-size basketball courts. The REC also offers classes and programs for children, such as martial arts. There is even an indoor playground that looks like it came from a Dr. Seuss book, and it’s available to rent for parties. Non-Grapevine residents are able to become members as well.
1175 Municipal Way, Grapevine; 817/410-3450
CHAMPIONS CLUB AT THE MARQ SOUTHLAKE
Looking for a club for an active family? Enjoy the amenities of the 82,000-square-foot fitness and aquatic facility that has an indoor pool, playground, child watch service and more. There are also programs for kids 18 months and up, and older kids can join youth athletics. Contact Cordie with the city of Southlake community services at 817/748-8963; Southlake residents receive a membership discount.
285 Shady Oaks Drive, Southlake
Not to be confused with the Southlake park of the same name, this Colleyville spot is more than just another park with a playground. There’s a splash pad for littles to prance around in. It features tipping water buckets, a red windmill that sprays water, an archway made to look like a frog that sprays those below and more. Open daily through the end of September from 10am–8pm. There are restrooms and picnic areas in the park as well as Lyman Whitaker wind sculptures. For a dose of nature, show the kids the demonstration gardens, wildflower area and tree farm.
240 W. McDonwell School Road, Colleyville
The blue-surface spray ground is easy to spot with the towering red, green and yellow fountain poles. It’s open daily from May–September, and the fountains are motion-activated to save water. No need to press a button; just walk onto the pad. The cabanas and pavilions are available for rent as well. The splash zone is next to the Parr Park Playground, which has activities for toddlers and middle-schoolers—including a web of rope for climbing.
3010 Parr Lane, Grapevine; 817/410-3450
COLLEYVILLE NATURE CENTER
Bring your walking shoes, fishing poles and bicycles to explore this 46-acre park’s nine ponds and 3.5 miles of paved and unpaved trails. Each pond has a name—the kiddos will want to make a beeline for Duck Haven, and Angler’s Pond is popular with the fishing crowd (go figure). In the woods, tall trees shade the dirt trails that follow Little Bear Creek, and benches are available when your crew needs a snack break. Or pack a picnic—there’s a covered pavilion with tables and a grill overlooking Mill Pond and a playground nearby for post-lunch play.
100 Mill Wood Drive, Colleyville;817/503-1180
TROPHY CLUB COUNTRY CLUB
The golf club that the whole city was built around is really more than a golf club—there are also plenty of programs for kids of all ages and their families. Avid Golfer! named Trophy Club one of Dallas-Fort Worth’s best country clubs this year, and with a tennis program, restaurant, pool, fitness facility and indoor golf simulator (for practicing, parties or when the rain interrupts), it’s easy to see why. There’s always some kind of social event happening at the club, including Taco Tuesday and Family Pasta Night & Winesday. Non-Trophy Club residents can become members, too.
500 Trophy Club Drive, Trophy Club; 817/837-1900
CENTRAL MARKET CAFE
One of the best local supermarkets (in our humble opinion), Central Market has a large outdoor play area as well as seating to keep the kids occupied while you catch up with friends. There is often live music in the evenings as well. Try the pizza with pepperoni and jalapeños. Thank us later.
1425 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake; 817/310-5600
FIND YOUR SQUAD
GCS MOMS LEAGUE
This local nonprofit group is dedicated to serving moms in Colleyville, Grapevine, Southlake and beyond. Family outings and play dates let kids bond as they burn off some excess energy, while ladies-only gatherings like monthly book clubs, ladies night out and member mingles allow Mom the chance to have some fun without the family.
LAKE CITIES MOTHERS OF MULTIPLES (MOMS)
Meets monthly at various locations. Check the website for information on meeting spots.
TROPHY CLUB FAMILIES
Get to know your neighbors by joining this play group organization. In addition to family-friendly play dates and events, the group also organizes moms night out and other social and philanthropic opportunities to get involved in the Trophy Club community.
WHITE’S CHAPEL UMC
MomsNext and Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meet the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. MomsPK, another group for moms of preschoolers, meets Tuesday every week.
185 S. White Chapel Blvd., Southlake; 817/481-4147
HURST, EULESS, BEDFORD AND NORTH RICHLAND HILLS
The Mid-Cities and North Richland Hills re positioned in between Fort Worth and Dallas, which is a super convenient location for accessing big-city entertainment. Although there might not be a ton of nightlife in HEB and NRH, there are plenty of family activities; Bedford in particular is known for its slate of community events. Katie Holmes, mom of seven, lives in NRH. “I truly love the people in my city,” Holmes says. “We spend a lot of time at school and community events throughout the city, so we meet many people and create relationships. There are so many hard-working and friendly people that really make the city run and thrive.” Fun fact: “North Richland Hills has 25 parks and eight trail systems throughout the city that is over 800 acres of parkland,” Holmes adds.
MEET KATIE HOLMES
KIDS’ AGES: 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, and 6
WHERE SHE LIVES: North Richland Hills
HER GO-TO PLACE TO TAKE THE KIDS: We love the North Richland Hills Library. If we aren’t stuck in a book, then we are participating in fun events at the library. From Free Comic Book Day to The Mayor’s Summer Reading Program, there is always fun going on at our library.
HER CITY IN ONE WORD: Community
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
JULY 4 // 4TH FEST INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION at Bedford Parks and Recreation (2801 Forest Ridge Drive). Join the American celebration with live entertainment, family activities, a car show, festival food and more. The fireworks begin at 10pm from the Boys Ranch Park. Visit bedfordtx.gov for information on parking.
JULY 4 // HURST STARS & STRIPES 2019 at Hurst Community Park. Rally the family for a night of live music, food, giveaways, petting zoo, face painting, fire-works and more. There is no on-site parking, but there is a free shuttle service. Find the event schedule at hursttx.gov/hurststarsandstripes.
JULY 4 // FAMILY 4TH CELEBRATION & FIREWORKS SHOW at 6351 Blvd. 26, North Richland Hills. From kids’ activities to a corn dog eating contest, families can find multiple ways to celebrate the holiday.
AUG. 30–SEPT. 1 // BLUESFEST at 1951 L Don Dodson, Bedford. This annual blues and barbecue festival is a town favorite with tons of musicians to listen to and brisket to eat. Find more information as it becomes available on bedfordbluesfest.com.
DECEMBER // CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING & PETPALOOZA in Bedford. Get into the holiday spirit by taking selfies with Santa, decorating cookies, watching performances and, of course, watching the tree lighting. Take your furbabies to the pet-friendly vendors, pet costume contest or pet parade—oh, and they can get a picture with Santa, too.
EXPLORE THE AREA
At iT’Z Family Food & Fun, you can find plenty of indoor entertainment, including bowling, rock climbing, laser tag, over 150 interactive games and a laser maze. Or visit Mountasia Family Fun Center for your typical amusements—go-karts, mini golf, laser tag—plus bumper boats and roller skating. And at WhirlyBall/LaserWhirld Mid-Cities, kiddos can play an epic game of laser tag.
iT’Z // 1201 W. Airport Freeway, Suite 400, Euless; 817/283-3700
Mountasia Family Fun Center // 8851 Blvd. 26, North Richland Hills; 817/503-8833
WhirlyBall/LaserWhirld // 147 E. Harwood Road, Hurst; 682/235-1030
AIRBORNE TRAMPOLINE PARK
The largest extreme air sports facility in Texas (40,000 square feet) tells guests to come “fly” with them. There are lots of trampoline features—an open jump area, of course, as well as an obstacle course, cliff jumping with cushioned landing areas and a zone exclusively for age 8 and under.
8800 N. Tarrant Parkway, Suite 200, North Richland Hills; 817/576-2146
GENERATION GAMES & COMICS
One step inside and you’ll see a pop culture explosion. From board games to video games to apparel to comics, the store that opened in 1994 has a large selection of items for kids and kids at heart. For Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon fans, there are nine dedicated display cases perfect for littles who want to learn the games or up their collections. And if you need to trade in some of your comics, games and knickknacks, the store might just buy them from you.
3504 Harwood Road, Suite 304, Bedford; 817/540-5556
EULESS NATATORIUM & AQUATIC PARK
Splash year-round indoors at the natatorium and during the heat of the summer, from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day, at the outdoor water park–it has a toddler playground, lazy river and lilypad walk.
300 W. Midway Drive, Euless; 817/685-1666 (Natatorium) and 817/399-4715 (Aquatic Park)
ADVENTURE WORLD PLAYGROUND
Littles can slide down the “tree trunk,” or sneak into the “Kids Only” cabin at this shaded, woodlands-inspired playground located at the southern end of the 100-acre Cross Timbers Park, which also has hike and bike trails (soft and concrete surfaces) that extend through the park.
7451 Starnes Road, North Richland Hills; 817/427-6620
This 50-acre park is not only the largest in Hurst, with walking trails, two playgrounds and a fishing pond, but it’s also home to Chisholm Aquatics center. The seasonal water park features slide towers that spill out into a lazy river, diving boards, a kiddie playground and splash pad.
2200 Norwood Drive, Hurst; 817/788-7250
VILLAGES OF BEAR CREEK PARK
At this 40-acre park, kiddos can play at one of the tree-shaded playgrounds or stroll along the 3-mile nature trail—complete with educational signs about plant and tree species—that connects to the Preserve at McCormick Park and farther west to Bob Eden Park.
1951 Bear Creek Parkway, Euless; 817/685-1429
BEDFORD & NORTH RICHLAND HILLS FARMERS MARKETS
Owned by the same fresh produce enthusiasts, these two farmers markets are home to colorful storefronts and a variety of goodies. Both indoor-outdoor markets—each about 2,000 square feet—carry nuts, chocolates, sauces, jellies and rows of plants and produce. (Ask about Texas-grown produce, which is available depending on the season.) Try the markets’ own pimento cheese and queso recipes, which have spicy hatch chiles. And spice up your garden with new bedding plants, flowers and hanging baskets from the Bedford market and yard decor, such as gazebos and those oh-so-popular Texas stars.
Bedford Farmers Market // 2824 Brown Trail, Bedford; 817/358-9510
North Richland Hills Farmers Market // 7700 Davis Blvd., North Richland Hills; 817/428-7075
CENTRAL AQUATICS CENTER
Get soaked by the large water bucket in the center of the kids’ area, or let the tots splish and splash in the splash park. There are three smaller slides and one big slide that dumps into a receiving pool for the more adventurous kiddos. Also on the grounds is Central Park: 17.5 acres of land with a playground and pavilion, which holds 35–40 people with its three picnic tables. It’s perfect to rent for parties.
700 Block of Mary Drive, Hurst; 817/788-7327
BEDFORD SPLASHAQUATIC CENTER
From Memorial Day until Aug. 16, head to this outdoor water playground. There are different pools: Guppy Cove (for tots), Splash Beach (a zero-depth entry pool) and Snorkel Bay (the lap pool). Older kids can zip down the Turbo Twister ProBOWL water slide, while the little ones can play in the Tiki boat with Lil’ Squirt (“the friendly crab”).
2801 Forest Ridge Drive, Bedford; 817/952-2323
FIND YOUR SQUAD
MID-CITIES MOTHERS OF MULTIPLES (MCMOMS)
Meets the fourth Thursday of the month at North Richland Hills Library at 6:30pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for membership inquiries. 1801 Norwood Drive, Hurst
MOTHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS (MOPS) OF LEGACY CHURCH OF CHRIST
Meets the second and fourth Friday of every month from 9:15–11:30am. Brunch is included.
8801 Mid-Cities Blvd., North Richland Hills
ARLINGTON, GRAND PRAIRIE AND MANSFIELD
This massive area has so much to do that it’s hard to fit it all on these pages. Between Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium, there’s enough for a family to do every weekend. Although Arlington is quite developed and increasingly growing, Grand Prairie is catching up with more businesses and families moving into the area. Whether it’s Lone Star Park or Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, family outings won’t be boring. Both Arlington and Grand Prairie are some of the most diverse cities in America, making it a great cultural place to have a family. Mansfield is said to be ever-changing with more businesses coming in. Jamie Jackson has lived in Mansfield her whole life. “There are a lot of things to do and great schools,” she says. “The best part about living in the area [is] all of the kid-friendly things to do—and having everything at your fingertips.” And the town’s best kept secret? “A secret gem is the park on Walnut Creek in Mansfield. I have a 12-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, and it has something for the both of them. There [are] basketball courts for my son and a large beautiful playground for my daughter. It’s a win-win.”
MEET JAMIE JACKSON
KIDS’ AGES: 12 & 3
WHERE SHE LIVES: Mansfield
HOW LONG SHE HAS LIVED IN THE AREA: I’ve lived in the area for 36 years, aka my whole life.
HER GO-TO SPOT WITH THE KIDS: The Highlands because you can go to the movies, Dave and Buster’s, out for ice cream or just walk around. My other (spot) is Rangers games. My kids love them.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
JULY 4 // ARLINGTON FOURTH OF JULY PARADE at 9am in Downtown Arlington. Nearly 75,000 people watch the floats and listen to live music during the two-hour event that’s the oldest event in Arlington.
JULY 4 // ROCKIN’ 4TH OF JULY from 7–10pm in Big League Dreams Mansfield sports park. This free festival has family fun, including games, live entertain-ment, food and, of course, a fireworks show.
JULY 4–5 // LONE STARS & STRIPES FIREWORKS CELEBRATION at 1000 Lone Star Parkway in Grand Prairie at 3pm. Rally the troops to the American celebration filled with live racing, live music, bounce houses, face painters, tattoo artists, pony rides, a petting zoo and more. The fireworks start after the races, which begin at 5pm.
AUG. 17 // HATCH CHILE FESTIVAL AT GRAND PRAIRIE FARMERS MARKET from 8am–2pm (or until sold out). A Texan favor-ite, this market features the hatch chile—get your own hot roasted one at the event—and stick around to listen to the live music and more.
AUG. 17 // ANNUAL BACK TO SCHOOL HEALTH FAIR AND SCHOOL SUPPLIES GIVEAWAY from 10am–noon. With school coming in quick, this events focuses on health information as well as complimentary health screenings, free backpacks and school sup-plies, and more.
SEPT. 9 // ARLINGTON GIVES in Levitt Pavilion. This free concert is part of the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, which awards grants to local nonprofits.
OCT. 12–13 // BEST FALL FEST at River Legacy in Arlington. At this fall fest, kiddos can expect face painting, storytelling, hayrides and more.
NOV. 28–DEC. 30 // PRAIRIE LIGHTS at Lynn Creek Park in Grand Prairie. Gaze at the 4 million lights along 2 miles of driving paths. Halfway through the strip, hop out of the car to see the Holiday Village packed with food, gifts, Santa, a brand-new indoor Holiday Show and a Holiday Magic Lighted Walk-Through Forest. prairielights.org
DEC. 14 // ARLINGTON HOLIDAY LIGHTS PARADE at 6pm in Downtown Arlington. Lights, floats and a visit from the big man him-self, Santa, to celebrate the holiday season.
EXPLORE THE AREA
RIVER LEGACY LIVING SCIENCE CENTER
Little ones can interact with environment exhibits or attend one of the many programs and classes. 703 NW Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington
ARLINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY – GEORGE W. HAWKES DOWNTOWN LIBRARY
Three levels, 80,000 square feet, rooftop gardens, and about 200,000 print and electronic items—this library has plenty for every member of the family. The Discover Wall in the children’s area is interactive for kids to climb through, sit in or just touch. There is also a play room surrounded by stained glass windows as a colorful place for little ones to enjoy story times and other library events.
100 S. Center St., Arlington; 817/459-6900
GRAND PRAIRIE LIBRARY (MAIN LIBRARY)
Take the kiddos over to the bright yellow Imagination Playground in this library for a cozy reading area or to the children’s area where there are toys, such as a play castle and a puppet stage, for their imaginations to thrive. Also be sure to check out the clearance book sale July 20–21.
901 Conover Drive, Grand Prairie; 972/237-5700
WILD WEST COMICS AND GAMES
With over 4,000 square feet and the longest comic wall in the area, this comic books and more store has every gamer’s needs: graphic novels, board games, RPGs, CGCs and pop culture items. The store will move in October to 400 E. Division St. in the new Urban Union area in downtown.
1215 S. Cooper St., Arlington; 817/265-0491
As the largest skating facility in Texas, this place does not disappoint. Over ver the last two years, there have been over $250,000 worth of upgrades to complete the rink with LED lights, sound systems, pizza ovens and more. Private parties have their own skating rink, so Mom, you can finally relive that sixth birthday party on the weekend and take a skate down memory lane.
5515 S. Cooper St., Arlington; 817/784-6222
RIVER LEGACY PARKS
Children can learn about the environment through the ecosystem right in the park. With 8 miles of paved hiking and biking trails, 10 miles of mountain biking trails, playground and playscapes, and more, the park is a great place to immerse the little ones in nature.
703 NW Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington; 817/860-6752
ICE AT THE PARKS
Open year-round, this indoor ice-skating rink is a fun place to bring the kids to get out of the sun and skate. If your munchkin doesn’t know how to skate yet, there are classes available—as well as birthday party options.
3815 S. Cooper St., Arlington; 817/419-0095
Take the littles to one of the kid-designated areas in this family-fun facility. Zone 1317 is for teens (ages 13–17), but there are family times where a guardian can accompany younger children. Inside there are gaming systems, basketball hoops, TVs and more—basically the ultimate “kid kave.” The KidsPlay area is a babysitting service for ages 2–9 with an indoor and outdoor playground. You can also have access to the fitness, aquatic, athletic and fine arts areas with a membership or day pass.
2960 Epic Place, Grand Prairie; 972/339-3742
First opened in 1973, this shopping and trading area offers 160 acres of merchants where you can find everything from children’s toys to tires. Did we mention there are rides as well? Coasters, swings, towers, bumper cars and a carousel. There’s something for all sizes. Pay per ride, or buy an unlimited riding wristband.
2602 Mayfield Road, Grand Prairie; 972/647-2331
RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT!
You will not believe the types of exhibits in this crazy place. The tallest man, the smallest woman, the longest fingernails: There’s something new and creepy, but intriguing, at every corner. While you’re here, think about getting a combo ticket to see Ripley’s 7D Moving Theater, Louis Tussaud’s Palace of Wax, Ripley’s Impossible LaseRace and Ripley’s Enchanted Mirror Maze.
601 E. Palace Parkway, Grand Prairie; 972/263-2391
CRYSTAL CANYON NATURAL AREA
As one of Arlington’s newer parks, this nearly 40-acre area is the perfect mix of a desert-esque landscape (think rocks like the Grand Canyon on a smaller scale) with a beautiful tree-shaded trail and creeks for a truly unique and natural experience. For the budding geologist, this might just be the perfect spot as marine shale, siltstone and fine-grained sandstone are just some of the rocks found in the park. With only a half mile of soft-surface trail and nine parking spots, this park appears small, but there is so much beauty hidden, so go and find it.
1000 Brown Blvd., Arlington; 817/459-5474
Dedicated to the military men and women of Arlington, the 103-acre park is the only one within the city to have a disc golf course and one of two with an equestrian trail. On top of that, there is a performing arts stage, playgrounds, practice fields, hiking or biking trails and more. A pavilion, which can seat 120 people, is available for rent through the Arlington Parks Department.
3600 W. Arkansas Lane, Arlington; 817/459-5474
ARLINGTON SPLASH PADS, AQUATIC CENTERS & POOLS
Add the Arlington splash pads and pools to your regular rotation, especially Don Misenhimer Splash Pad, which features play sculptures in the shape of a dolphin, turtle and whale. At the Randol Mill Family Aquatic Center, discover what it feels like to swim in a vortex pool—one of the many swim features and ameni-ties at this outdoor water park. Return for outdoor time at the playgrounds and short bike-and-hike trails, even after summer ends.
CLAYTON W. CHANDLER PARK SPLASH PAD
Becoming the first splash pad and skate-boarding plaza in Mansfield in August 2017, there are different types of fountains that spray water into shapes of arches, vortexes and skyscrapers. There is also a shaded playground nearby with multiple slides and climbing areas.
1530 N. Walnut Creek Drive, Mansfield; 817/473-1943
GRAND PRAIRIE AQUATICS
Kiddos can cool off at three various pools and one splash playground, Splash Factory Outdoor Water Playground, where they run through the ground sprays, magic touch water guns, water wall and more. Admission is $2 per person.
ASIA TIMES SQUARE
Bringing Asian influence to Texas, this collection of businesses is its own hub of culture. Visit the Hong Kong Market Place for products from Japan, Korea, Africa, Thailand and more, or grab a bite and drink from Bambu Dessert & Drink, Gong Cha Tea, Banh Mi Number 1 and Pho Hung. And if you need beauty sup-plies, walk into The FaceShop or Thien Long Yen Bird Nest.
2615–2625 W. Pioneer Parkway, Grand Prairie; 972/975-5100
JOE POOL LAKE
This man-made lake opened in 1989 and continues to be a popular destination for all your swimming, camping and hiking needs. Wherever you find yourself around the lake, make sure to visit Lynn Creek Park where there is a playground as well as a sand volleyball court, beach and open grass area. Or check out Loyd Park for six miles of multi-use trails. There is a small playground and beach (in the extended grass area), as well.
6399 FM 1382, Dallas; 972/299-2227
FIND YOUR SQUAD
ARLINGTON MOTHERS OF MULTIPLES (AMOM)
Meets every first Tuesday of the month at Pleasant Ridge Church of Christ at 7pm.
6102 W. Pleasant Ridge Road, Arlington
MOMS CLUB OF GRAND PRAIRIE AND MANSFIELD
Monthly meetings, field trips and other events and support for moms. Participate for free for 30 days before you join. Dues for the first year are $20.
MOTHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS(MOPS) OF WALNUT RIDGE
Meets the second and fourth Monday of the month at the Walnut Ridge Baptist Church’s main campus. Dues are $31.95 per year.
1201 S. Highway 360, Mansfield
ARLINGTON MOMS WALK
Mothers can come together to walk the River Legacy trails (as well as other suggestions should they come up). Mommies with infants to toddlers can join, but there are no restrictions on kids’ ages.
AFRICAN MOMMIES (ARLINGTON)
The groups meet up twice a month—one for kids (and husbands) to meet based on some sort of fun activity and the other for the mothers to relax together. The events are mostly on Saturdays, and the locations vary. Once a mother attends a meetup, she can be added to the WhatsApp group.
Smack dab in the middle between Fort Worth and Weatherford, Aledo is the oldest city in Parker County, which actually started as a farming settlement. Think about how close the houses are in most ‘burbs. Well, not in Aledo. There is plenty of front and backyard space along with vast amounts of open land and greenery that’s hard to find close to the big city. In this rural area, business options are limited, but with this small-town setting comes a very close, safe community for families. Mom of three Frances Juru has lived in the area for a year and talks up the sense of community and the schools. “My community, Morningstar, has monthly events for families, a fishing pond, amenity center and a pool,” she says. And the best kept secret in the area? “One of my favorite places to take my family for lunch in Aledo is Yesterdays Sandwich Shop,” Juru says. “It’s a unique little sandwich shop with fresh food and backyard seating.”
MEET FRANCES JURU
KIDS’ AGES: 7-months, 7 and 14
WHERE SHE LIVES: A new community called Morningstar when we were only the fifth house on the block—now our street has doubled. This area is growing fast.
WHY SHE LOVES IT: It’s a growing area but still has the charm of a small town. Aledo has a great sense of community. My neighbors have become good friends. Everyone is welcoming and supportive. It’s a great place to raise a family and the schools are excellent. The teachers at my son’s school are amazing.
EXPLORE THE AREA
Grab the tiaras and crowns for the princes and princesses of this castle-shaped playground. There is also a covered pavilion for snack time and a soccer field. The park is next to McAnally Intermediate School on the southern boundary of Aledo.
FM 5, Aledo; 817/441-7016
EAST PARKER COFFEE CO.
This is more than just a coffee joint. The family-owned cafe is great for date nights (and family nights) when they have live music and pizza. There are events hosted throughout the year, including trivia night, open mic night or karaoke night. Oh, and besides the classic coffee and scones, you can grab their famous breakfast burritos with house-crafted salsa.
108 Jearl St., Aledo; 817/441-7770
Imagine a Wild West-themed water park with obstacles, slides, foam blasters and giant dumping baskets drenching kiddos. Sounds like the perfect day for the kids, right? Gold Rush Falls, an abandoned mine shaft-inspired area, is the children’s play area. And for the younger ones, the Wagon Trail Springs is a splash pad where any age is welcome. On Tuesdays, children age 5 and younger get a special price from 9–10:30am.
1001 Cinema Drive, Weatherford; 817/598-0777
FIND YOUR SQUAD
FORT WORTH MOTHERS OF MULTIPLES
Meetings take place every third Thursday of the month (except December) at the Western Hills Church of Christ. Email email@example.com for membership inquiries.
8800 Chapin Road, Fort Worth
MOMS AND MORE PLAYGROUP – WEATHERFORD
Mothers of kiddos age 5 and younger (older siblings welcome, especially in the summer) can apply to join this group. There are 2–3 events per week. Some previous events include park play dates, meet ups at the Fort Worth Zoo and Flight Deck Trampoline Park, and “Coffee with Mommies” at a local coffee shop. Summer activities include splash pad play dates, crafting events in local parks and a potluck-style ice-cream social.
MOMS CLUB OF ALEDO/WILLOW PARK
Meetings are once a month and membership dues are $25 per year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for membership inquiries.