With July comes fireworks and even more Texas heat (I'm sweating just thinking about it), but it also offers plenty of ways to enjoy the summer. So if you're wondering how to entertain the kiddos this month, you've come to the right place. We've rounded up some of the best things to do, treats to eat, ways to give and more this July.
So your kids have been faithfully tending the family’s backyard veggie garden (hurray!) and now your cup runneth over. Turn that fruit and veggie surplus into the kids’ first summer job with the Dallas Farmers Market’s Young Entrepreneurship Market, open to farmers, gardeners and artisans in 12th grade and under. Apply for your spot as a vendor to sell products and produce (no baked goods though) from noon–5pm each Wednesday. Vendor fee is $5–$7.
Celebrate your very merry unbirthday on Saturday, July 29, at the Mad Hatter Tea Party, an Alice in Wonderland-inspired luncheon with a costume contest and hat-decorating activity. The tea time inside Trophy Club’s fire station is open to resident and nonresident kids ages 6 and older and touches on etiquette topics such as table setting and punctuality — so (sorry, we have to say it) don’t be late. $50 per person.
Trophy Club, 682/831-4675
In honor of our nation’s birthday, don’t stand on the sidelines. Instead let your young patriots take an active role in the merrymaking by riding their bicycles, strollers or wagons (anything without a motor) in the Flower Mound Independence Day Children’s Parade. Decorate their mode of transport in red, white and blue for the 10am parade that starts at the Lewisville ISD School Administration Building and stay for the kids’ activities, free hot dogs and live entertainment. Free.
Flower Mound, 972/874-6300
Two of the Dallas Zoo’s newest residents, 2,395-pound Boipelo and 3,722-pound Adhama, are settled into their new home, the Simmons Hippo Outpost. Come see these large and graceful swimmers up close when the entire zoo stays open late for the Safari Nights concerts on July 1, 8 and 15. Hippo Talks begin daily at 11:15am and 2:30pm, and the hippos begin shifting in for the night around 7:30pm. $15 adults; $12 kids.
Bring all the kids — including your fur babies — to the Bedford Bark Park for Flick with Fido, a kick-off event for the city’s Dog Days of Summer series on Friday, July 28. The pet party starts at 7:45pm and features a screening of (what else?) The Secret Life of Pets. Free admission, but donations to the dog park are encouraged.
As we express love for our country this Independence Day, we’re reminded of the wish of San Antonio-based nonprofit Soldiers’ Angels: “May no soldier go unloved.” Enlist the kids to help provide some comfort for deployed service members and hospitalized veterans by donating a new blanket (or a handmade one if you’re crafty) and a handwritten note to the organization’s blanket drive through August 31. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the shipping address.
San Antonio, 210/629-0020
Dallas CASA makes all the difference in the world to abused and neglected children in Dallas County. Help support their efforts via the 22nd annual Parade of Playhouses, 16 unique playhouses (2017 designs include a space capsule and Rubik’s Cube) on view July 7–23 at NorthPark Center. Raffle tickets are $5 or five for $20. Take a family vote on your favorites and slip your tickets into the raffle boxes for a chance to win the playhouse of your dreams.
Teddy bears and picnics go together like peanut butter and jelly. Bring them all — plus an additional bear to donate — to the fourth annual Teddy Bear Picnic on Monday, July 10, benefiting PediPlace, a local nonprofit that provides health care to low-income families. Pack your picnic for dinner at Wayne Frady Park and your bathing suits for an open swim time at Old Town Aquatic Park. Free.
If your family’s Tinkerbell fans are excited for Finding Neverland, on stage July 11–23 at the Winspear Opera House, don’t miss out on the Kids’ Night on Broadway. Only on Wednesday, July 12, come before the evening performance for a cast meet-and-greet, a community collage of happy thoughts, fairy wand crafts and more in the lobby. Plus, get one child’s ticket free with the purchase of an adult ticket at regular price, starting at $25.
Alas, a weeklong cattle drive in West Texas is not in the cards this summer, but thankfully, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame steps in with special entertainment designed for kids ages 6–10. Register online for Cowpoke Camp offered from 8:30am–noon each Friday this month with a different theme or featured speaker every day. $35 per camper, per day.
Fort Worth, 817/336-4475
Grab an inner tube and catch the next wave of summer fun in the newly constructed wave pool expected to debut this month, plus new concessions, at the Denton Water Works Park. Open daily through August 15 and weekends through Labor Day.
Updated July 10: The wave pool is now open. Call for special pricing options available for the rest of the season.
It’s a general rule that dogs at fireworks shows are a no-no, but the two-day Frisco Freedom Fest makes it possible for your family pet to join in the patriotic fun. On July 3, bring your running companion (on a leash) along for the glow-in-the-dark run through Simpson Plaza and come early for some laughs during the Dachshund Dash, benefiting Collin County Animal Shelter. $40 5K; $10 dachshund race entry.
For a refreshing and whimsical treat, check out Gnome Cones, the new snow cone stand with the cutest branding this side of the fairy garden. Look for the hut with blue shingles and staff wearing red, cone-shaped beanies, and try preservative- and dye-free flavors including apple pie, chai tea and cold brew. $3 for small, $4 for medium and $5 for large, or earn a free cone by bringing a garden gnome to add to the stand’s collection. Open daily 11am–10pm.
The air inside SiNaCa Studios runs both hot and cold on Saturday, July 15, during the glassblowing studio’s Ice Cream Social, a special Walkup Workshop from noon–3pm. Melt Ice Creams provides the treats and toppings in disposable bowls for $5 or in a handmade glass bowl for $40. For an additional $40, let the kids take part in their own handprint sand casting for a one-of-a-kind keepsake.
Fort Worth, 817/899-0024