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The Scoop!

for those in DFW that like to be in the know

Look for the teal text for special needs news.

The Gaylord Texan Resort recently announced its plans for the Christmas holiday. Lone Star Christmas will take place Nov. 13–Jan. 3, with tickets on sale now. Included in the lineup of events is a 17,000-square-foot exhibit called “I Love Christmas Movies”; an outdoor holiday lanterns attraction called “Yuletide Bright” that will feature over 50,000 square feet of glowing lanterns; a Build Your Own Snowman event; a miniature Polar Express–themed train and much more. 

Researchers at the Kennedy Kreiger Institute recently developed a tool that uses video game technology to determine if a child has autism. The institute’s team created and tested its Computerized Assessment of Motor Imitation (CAMI) using Xbox motion-tracking technology—which automatically measures a child’s imitation ability as they play a one-minute game. During the game, the kids try to copy the actions of a model on a computer screen. The results showed that the CAMI method could identify autism diagnosis with more than 87% accuracy. The full results of the study were published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

Addison’s Vitruvian Lights will kick off Nov. 27. Over 550 trees containing more than 1 million lights will be lit through the New Year. Visitors can drive through Vitruvian Park or walk the park for free. The lights will be on daily from 5–11pm. 

The Nasher Sculpture Center recently announced a new, yearlong public art initiative called Nasher Public. The goal of the initiative is to provide access to public art by North Texas artists; it began with an exhibition by Fort Worth artist Bernardo Vallarino. The initiative will also involve commissioning North Texas artists to produce works for privately owned but publicly accessible spaces, such as windows, lobbies and plazas. For more information on Nasher Public, visit the center’s website.

The new Virgin Hotel in Dallas has some fun events for Mom and Dad this month: Enjoy the “Upside-Down Tea Party” on Oct. 25, and a Death by Disco Halloween party on Oct. 31. Also, the hotel offers weekly events including industry appreciation night on Mondays; The Bachelorette watch parties on Tuesdays; live music on Thursdays and Fridays; and Pool Club access on Saturdays (while the warmer weather still lingers). And if you’re looking for a staycation, check out the hotel’s packages and deals, such as the Texas Resident Rate and the “Werk It” packages. More information on all of this is available on the hotel’s website.

A woman- and minority-owned skincare and lifestyle brand based in North Texas, The Artistry of Essential Oils, recently announced a new line of products for women with breast cancer called Purposefully Pink. The company plans to donate 20% of proceeds from the new line to support national breast cancer awareness month. The line features all-natural products blended with essential oils to help skin have a more radiant glow.

The Chris Howell Foundation is hosting drive-thru food and PPE drives for families in need now through Dec. 22. Thousands of North Texas families affected by COVID-related furloughs will receive vital items at the drives, such as produce, precooked meats, dairy and fresh milk, as well as PPE care packages. CHF is looking to raise funds and volunteers. If you’re interested, contact support@chrishowellfoundation.org or 214/760-4818. Visit the website for dates, times and details of the drives.

Watters Creek in Allen has some fun events scheduled for October: On Oct. 24, adults can enjoy Bach and Brews; enjoy yoga during the Wellness Wednesdays program throughout the month; and a blood drive is scheduled for Oct. 29. For more information, visit the website.

A new Velvet Taco location opened in Plano. The taco joint is located at the corner of West Park Boulevard and Preston Road. To ensure patron health and safety, the restaurant has social distancing guidelines, mask requirements, sanitizing stations, contactless ordering and more.

Epicenter Arts, a faith-based performing arts studio and training complex, is expanding in Southlake. The studio recently started its eighth season and is moving to a larger facility (15,000-square-feet, to be exact) in Nov. 2020. The new facility will allow the studio to accommodate twice the amount of students and provide more resources. The new location will be in Gateway Plaza off of Southlake Boulevard and Highway 114, between Buy Buy Baby and The Tile Shop.

Reunion Tower has a ton of fun events throughout the month of October: Try your hand at acrylic pouring Oct. 19; join in on a ghost tour with Haunted Tall Tales Oct. 22–25 and Oct. 29–31; dance the day away with a family-friendly dance party Oct. 25; and paint your pet Oct. 26. Visit the website for more details.

Galleria Dallas recently launched a massive breast cancer awareness program for the month of October, aka breast cancer awareness month. The mall will create the largest visual of the breast cancer pink ribbon, display portraits of breast cancer survivors, provide a free skate rental if you wear pink on Wednesdays, and much more. Donations will go toward Komen Dallas County. Visit the website for more information.

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live returns to Dickies Arena Nov. 20–22. The event will have four performances; tickets are on sale now. Prices range from $25–$35. Quantities are limited due to enhanced health and safety measures.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the African American Museum in Dallas started a new partnership. The two museums joined together to call for entries for a staircase commission that will be a vibrantly-colored, eye-catching and site-specific design to celebrate African American leaders in science who have made contributions in STEM. The winning designer will be awarded $5,000. The deadline to enter is Oct. 30, and the winner will be notified no later than Dec. 1. For rules, details and submission instructions, click here.

The City of Lewisville opened Thrive, its new 87,000-square-foot recreation center Oct. 3, after five years of planning and construction. The new facility includes a natatorium, gymnasium, indoor walking track, expanded fitness area, community rooms and an indoor playground. Safety guidelines are in place with limited hours, limited capacity and limited programming to ensure proper distancing and cleaning practices.

Upcoming performances at Bass Performance Hall have been canceled due to continuing COVID-19 concerns. Affected shows include The Lion King (which was scheduled to run Jan. 13–21) and Dear Evan Hansen (Feb. 9–14). Performing Arts Fort Worth—which owns and operates the performance hall—is currently working to have both shows return to Bass Hall in future seasons.

Now through Oct. 20, restaurants including Haywire, Ida Claire and The Ranch at Las Colinas are offering curbside kits with a Texas State Fair flare. Legacy Hall will also have fair-inspired items, including funnel cakes and smoked turkey legs. For more information, visit the restaurants’ websites or social media pages.

KidZania in Frisco recently announced its reopening. The 85,000 square-foot city built for kids now has updated cleaning stations, new safety guidelines and limited capacity. Visit the website to read the new guidelines and check out the updated operating hours.

Dallas Academy and Southern Methodist University recently formed a new partnership. SMU music therapy interns will now be working on the Dallas Academy campus. SMU’s interns will receive on-site training and experience, and Dallas Academy students will have additional skilled assistance. To learn more about the program, visit the Dallas Academy website.

The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum recently reopened its butterfly gates. Visit the arboretum’s website to read the updated safety guidelines for visiting and reserve your tickets.

Dallas Children’s Theater is producing a series of short plays by Idris Goodwin to spark conversations about race. The three shows, called the “Social Justice Play Series,” will be available online, free of charge, over the next three months. The first play, The Water Gun Song, is available now (recommended for ages 6 and up).  The second show, Nothing Rhymes With Juneteenth, is also available now (recommended for ages 9 and up). The third show, #Matter, will be available starting Nov. 6 (recommended for ages 14 and up).

Nonprofit art incubator The Cedars Union will launch a new four-part program called Look Club in October with the goal of getting the public involved in the arts. Each week, the program invites individuals to draw observationally, focusing on a certain subject such as landscapes, figure drawings, or architecture. And on Saturdays at Dallas Heritage Village, now through Oct. 24, the public is invited to pack up a chair, blanket, easel and art materials to draw from life. There will also be weekly artist talks. The event will run from 11am–2pm; cost is $5 and includes discounted admission to Dallas Heritage Village.

Ida Claire in Addison now has live music on the patio every Friday night through Oct. 30. The performances will run from 8–11pm.

The Rustic will soon have its own State Fair pop-up. It’s Not Fair will be an all-out State Fair celebration complete with fair foods, contests, games, live music and more. The pop-up will run through Oct. 18. Visit the website for more details.

Six Flags Over Texas will host a safe, socially distanced, spooky event to celebrate Halloween this year. Hallowfest will occur every weekend through Nov. 1. The fest will include fall family activities, photo ops, a trick-or-treat trail and more. Reservations are required; learn more here.

Wellness Wednesdays are now available at Watters Creek in Allen. During October, yoga will be offered on the Village Green from 6–7pm. The sessions are free, but donations are accepted and encouraged. The donations will benefit Support Our Scrubs, a local nonprofit organization that helps frontline medical workers.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science reopened Sept. 12 and 13 with new public health protocols, ticketing procedures, reduced hours and occupancy at no more than 25%. As of Sept. 18—and for the foreseeable future—the museum will operate Fridays–Sundays.

The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra is celebrating its 50th anniversary—even though it’s technically not until 2022. GDYO is celebrating by inviting students, alumni and fellow artists to participate in 50 performances over the next two years. The first performances are set to begin this fall, with at least 10 virtual concerts planned. Those can be accessed on GDYO’s YouTube channel. Visit the website for information on future performances.

Walmart stores in the DFW area will soon have Mamava pods—clean, private breastfeeding suites accessed through the Mamava app—to provide more breastfeeding support to Walmart associates and customers. Some of the stores included are Bedford, Rowlett and North Richland Hills.

Sci-Tech Discovery Center is now offering socially distanced learning pods for students in grades K–5 during the fall semester. The “class bubbles” will contain no more than 10 students with background-checked, qualified and experienced educators. Pods will be open from 7:30am–3pm. To learn more, reach out on the website.

Autumn at the Arboretum runs now through Nov. 1. This year, the pumpkin village will feature four 20-foot-tall pumpkin houses with over 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash.

Fort Worth ISD recently released a new Tips for Parents video to help ensure a smooth (virtual) start to the school year. The video guides moms and dads in coaching their kids to support their learning. It’s available in English and Spanish. You can also view two other videos in the ISD’s series here: Create Your Space and Your Digital Checklist.

The Royal Academy of Dance recently collaborated with Emma Wiggle from toddler-favorite The Wiggles to prepare young dancers to return to dance classes. The video—about three minutes long—helps explain what to expect when going back to class, with topics such as social distancing and wearing masks while still having fun. Check back here for the link to the video soon.

Play Street Museum, with locations across DFW, recently launched the Buy One, Donate One initiative. Through this program, guests will be able to purchase an activity kit for their child, and Play Street will then donate one to a child experiencing an extended hospital stay. If you’re interested in participating, shop for activities here.

The Behavior Exchange—a leading provider of ABA therapy in North Texas—recently earned a 2-year BHCOE reaccreditation for its dedication to continued improvement in ABA therapy. The BHCOE accreditation is the only ABA-specific accreditation globally and provides feedback on best practices and consumer protection among other aspects. Only a handful of ABA providers in North Texas have received this honor.

Dallas Children’s Theater recently announced the virtual premiere of A Kids’ Play About Racism. The play is a result of a collaboration with 37 other Theatres for Young Audiences (TYA) members across the country. The show aims to provide young kids and families a way to engage in a meaningful conversation about race through theater. It will be streamed on Broadway on Demand for free and runs for 30 minutes.

The City of Bedford will receive a new type of playground this fall. Courtesy of beverage brand Sparkling Ice, the city will receive a musical pocket playground, which will be ADA accessible. The playground will be near the historic 1915 Old Bedford School and will include a variety of instruments for kids of all ages to enjoy. To learn more about the playground, click here.

The Dallas Holocaust and Human Right’s Museum recently added a Tool Kit for Disrupting Racism along with its summer camps and speaker series content. The content will offer various tools and resources to combat bias and racism.

The Character Tree is now providing parents free access to video lessons for kids about racism and tolerance. The teacher-hosted episodes all feature a character trait paired with an influential person. The lessons are best for kids in grades K–2 and include topics such as “Perseverance & Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” “Bravery & Ruby Bridges” and “Hope & Misty Copeland,” among others. Sign up and view for free here.

Life Time kids camps will be offered in Dallas and Fort Worth locations. Safety plans and new protocols will be put in place to help ensure safety and wellness. Visit the website for more info and to register.

Two rising Plano East Senior High School seniors have created a nonprofit, Creativity for Cancer, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Currently, they are hosting an art competition focused on “What Positivity Means to Me” and will choose four winners in four age categories. To learn more about their organization or to participate, click here.

Galleria Dallas is offering free summer fun through its PALS (Play Art Learn Seek) Kids Club. Children ages 3–12 can get a “passport” with a fun mission that will lead them to explore Galleria Dallas and the world around them. Participants will complete activities such as watching virtual Showtime Saturdays performances on Facebook and counting how many steps it takes to walk around the ice rink. Sign up here

Neurodevelopment Associates of North Texas has expanded its equine program, located at Legacy Equestrian Center in Celina. Equine therapy can benefit kids and parents through improved communication and relationships, self-awareness, lowered cortisol levels (stress hormones) and more. To learn more about the program, watch this video.

Random House Children’s Books just launched a virtual “Magic Tree House Home Adventures” program based on the best-selling series by Mary Pope Osborne. Online, kids can join in with weekly thematic programs starting with animals, then on to warriors, nature, sports and more that pairs with their favorite books in the series. New content will be added every Monday.

Punkinfutz—a company that makes sensory play products for kids with special needs—is now providing resources for parents navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 situation. Every Wednesday at 11am, Punkinfutz’s Facebook page will offer discussion on timely topics, recommendations and best practices. Each session lasts 45 minutes.

Bass Performance Hall is now certified as a sensory inclusive venue. It is the first performing arts center in Texas to receive the certification. Bass Hall was certified by leading non-profit KultureCity, which is known for effecting change for those with sensory needs.
Bass Performance Hall // 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth; 817/212-4280

The Dallas Zoo has officially become a certified sensory-inclusive facility for children and adults with autism and sensory sensitivities. The zoo is partnering with an organization called KultureCity to make sure its programs, events and campus all are sensory inclusive. In order for the zoo to be certified, members were trained by medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs as well as how to handle a sensory overload situation. In addition to having access to dedicated sensory rooms, sensory bags will also be available and includes noise-cancelling headphones, weighted lap pads and more for those that feel overwhelmed.
Dallas Zoo // 650 S. RL Thornton Freeway, Dallas; 469/554-7500