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Day Out With Thomas, Thomas the Tank, Thomas and friends, photo courtesy of Mattel

Best Things to Do This Weekend in DFW: October 7–9

DFWChild calendar editor's recommends the top five events worth venturing out of the house with the kids.

Wanna get out of the house? DFWChild’s calendar editor recommends the top five kid-friendly events each weekend coming to Dallas-Fort Worth that are worth the effort of venturing out. Sign up here to get our Weekend newsletter directly in your inbox every Thursday and find more family fun events every day of the week at dfwchild.com/calendar.

October 7–9

Day Out with Thomas
Grapevine Vintage Railroad
Friday–Sunday, October 7–9
Alert your preschoolers! A smiling, life-size Thomas the Tank Engine chugs into downtown Grapevine for the first of two weekends. Book your seats for a 25-minute, roundtrip train ride pulled by Thomas himself. After you disembark, the experience continues in the Dream Big Corner with lawn games and photo ops. Reserve tickets

Nocturnal: Animals in Music
North Texas Performing Arts, Plano
Sunday, October 9, 3pm
What does a tortoise sound like in music? In this Plano Symphony Family Series program, families will meet live animals from the Creature Teacher and listen to great music written to describe them. A Plano Symphony Orchestra string quartet will perform themes from The Pink Panther, Flight of the Bumblebee, The Swan and Tangled. Learn more

River Legacy Fall Festival
River Legacy Nature Center, Arlington
Saturday, October 8, 11am–9pm
The dunk tank, you might agree, is a highly underrated form of entertainment—and one of many forms of fun you’ll find at this all-day family fest supporting River Legacy’s environmental education programming. Save money with the family fun packages, which includes for four admission tickets and 20 coupons for activities including bounce houses, games and the pumpkin patch. Show me

Kimbell 50th Anniversary Family Festival
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
Saturday, October 8, 1–7:30pm
The Kimbell Art Museum celebrates its golden anniversary with special entertainment, from art activities to live music and free exhibit admission. FREE Registration is required. See the full schedule

FlowaPalooza
Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark, Grand Prairie
Saturday, October 8, noon–9pm
Sunday, October 9, noon–6pm
Join this family festival outside Epic Waters, where pro surfers compete all weekend for the FlowTour championship. Outside on the lawn, you can enjoy live music and lots of free outdoor activities like robo surfing on the lawn. See details


September 30–October 2

State Fair of Texas
Fair Park, Dallas
Opens Friday, September 30 and continues daily through October 23
Gates open 10am–9pm Sundays–Thursdays and 10am–10pm Fridays–Saturdays
Big Tex is back at Fair Park and bringing with him everything you love about the State Fair, like meeting baby animals in the Livestock Birthing Barn, and more family fun you’ve never experienced, like the new Oontz Kids DJ dance parties. Be sure to use our special promo code 22childCOMBO to save a bundle on admission and coupons. Show me

Frights’n Lights
Riders Ballpark, Frisco
Opens Saturday, October 1, 6–10pm
Sunday, October 2, 5–9pm
Halloween fun goes all month long at this not-too-spooky lights attraction with mini pumpkin painting, a corn kernel pit and a Frankenstein-themed foam pit. Learn more

Gazillion Bubble Show
Coppell Arts Center
Saturday, October 1, 1pm and 7pm
Sunday, October 2, 1pm and 6pm
Every kid who loves blowing and popping bubbles will go berserk for this show with laser lights, a bubble “tide” and bubbles so big you can fit inside them. Show me

Kubota Machine Adventures
Crayola Experience Plano
Open September 27, continues daily through October 31
10am–5pm Saturday–Sunday; 10am–4pm Monday–Friday
Drive a real Kubota tractor around a kid-size track and join colorful crafts outdoors at this new attraction, now open at the Crayola Experience. Get details

Oktoberfest Dallas
Flag Pole Hill at White Rock Lake, Dallas
Saturday, October 1, 10am–10pm
Craving those doughy pretzels? They got ‘em at this Lake Highlands’ German fest. Perhaps even more delicious—the kid zone is free with admission and includes an adults’ lounge area. Learn more


September 23–25

Pumpkin Nights
Howell Farms, Arlington
Begins Thursday, September 22
Continues through October 30, 6–11pm Wednesdays–Sundays
This isn’t your average pumpkin patch but an after-dark art trail returning to Arlington with more than 5,000 real and synthetic pumpkins. Come enjoy the spectacle and photo ops galore, like a life-size pumpkin pirate ship and more surprises in the mysterious “lands.” Reserve tickets

Plano Balloon Festival
Oak Point Park, Plano
Thursday, September 22, 5–9pm
Friday, September 23, 4–10pm
Saturday, September 24, 6am–10pm
Sunday, September 25, 6am–7pm
Thirty hot air balloon pilots crank up the burners for balloon glows and launches, as well as tethered rides floating 20–30 feet off the ground. Learn more

Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo
Dickies Arena, Fort Worth

Thursday, September 22, 7:30pm
Friday, September 23, 7:30pm
Saturday, September 24, 3:30pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, September 25, 1pm
Acrobatic crickets, dragonflies and ladybug all chase after a mysterious egg in this must-see show, fabulous for your kids currently obsessed with creepy crawlies. Show me

McKinney Oktoberfest
Downtown McKinney

Friday, September 23,  5–11pm
Saturday, September 24, 11am–11pm
Sunday, September 25, noon–5pm
The chicken dance makes a comeback at this family-friendly festival with live music, a petting zoo and rides, and plenty of authentic German foods for munching. Free admission; coupons required for some activities. See the schedule

Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School
Dallas Children’s Theater
Saturday, September 24, 1:30pm
Sunday, September 25, 1:30pm and 4:30pm
For a mid-semester pick-me-up, treat your school-age kids to this funny musical opening Saturday and continuing through October. Tickets available too for an American Sign Language interpreted performance on Sunday, October 2 and a sensory-friendly show on Saturday, October 8. Show me


September 16–18

Autumn at the Arboretum: A Fall Fairy Tale
Dallas Arboretum
Opens Saturday, September 17, 9am–5pm daily
Cinderella’s white carriage pulled by two horses sculpted in foliage, a magic carpet ride selfies and more display inspired by more fairy tales form the centerpiece of this 17th annual fall festival. Come see the 100,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash on display, and expect much more kid-friendly entertainment throughout the season. Learn more

Addison Oktoberfest
Addison Circle Park
Thursday, September 15, 6–11pm
Friday, September 16, 6pm–midnight
Saturday, September 17, noon–midnight
Sunday, September 18, noon–5pm
Think Oktoberfests are only for adults? Nein! Bring the family out to this German cultural fest with dachshund races, games and kids’ contests in the Kinderzelt. Show me 

Winnie the Pooh
Irving Arts Center
Friday, September 16, 6:30pm
Saturday, September 17, 11am and 2:30pm
Sunday, September 18, 2:30pm
A.A. Milne’s original stories get the Broadway treatment in this live musical. Book a VIP ticket for a meet and greet with life-size puppets. Get the details

GrapeFest
Downtown Grapevine
Thursday, September 15, 11am–10pm
Friday, September 16, 11am–11pm
Saturday, September 17, 11am–11pm
Sunday, September 18, 11am–6pm
Texas wine is the star of the show, but plenty of fun awaits the under 21 crowd: rides, games, kids’ zone—even the GrapeStomp is open and free to kids. Plus, every one gets free festival admission all-day Thursday and until 5pm on Friday. Learn more

Quinceañera Dress Fashion Show
Fort Worth Botanic Garden
Saturday, September 17, 4–6:30pm
Talk about gowns fit for a princess! Come cheer on locals kicking off the garden’s ¡Celebramos! Hispanic Heritage Month. See full schedule


Top photo courtesy of Mattel