On Memorial Day, we kick off the unofficial start to summer fun at the same time that we pay our respects to service members who gave their all in the line of duty. You’ll find a mix of both at these events celebrating our country’s servicemen and women, from pool parties and fireworks to marches, arts exhibits and more on this extended weekend.
DSO Symphony in the City // Dallas
Where: Flag Pole Hill, 8015 Doran Circle
When: Monday, May 31 at 8:15pm
What to know: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra returns to the outdoors for its annual Memorial Day concert in honor of America’s fallen soldiers and first responders. Pack a picnic and head to this park just north of White Rock Lake for an evening under the stars listening to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Stars and Stripes Forever” and other patriotic favorites leading up to a fireworks finale. In case of rain, the concert will move to the Meyerson Symphony Center in downtown.
Memorial Day Celebration & National Moment of Remembrance // Plano
Where: The Texas Pool, 901 Springbrook Dr.
When: Monday, May 31 from noon–6pm
What to know: The Texas-shaped saltwater swimming pool, built in 1961, opens its 60th summer season this Memorial Day. Local scouts honor America’s fallen heroes with a flag ceremony as the reigning Mrs. America, Brooklyn Rivera, sings the national anthem. (You may know her too as Mrs. Collin County and one of the Allen Americans’ Ice Angels.) Bring your own lunch to cook on the grill or grab food from the snack bar or on-site food truck. Come ready for an afternoon of cannonballs off the diving board and wading with the little ones in the shallow end.
Cost: Admission to the pool is $10 per person for visitors and free for members.
30 Americans // Arlington
Where: Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W. Main St.
When: Opens Saturday, May 29 from 10am–5pm; Sunday, May 30 from 1–5pm; closed Monday
What to know: This new exhibition showcases paintings, sculptures, photography and video by 30 emerging and established African American artists of the last 30 years. These include Kara Walker, known for her black and white silhouettes, and Kehinde Wiley, the artist behind former President Barack Obama’s official portrait (which goes on tour later this summer). The exhibit focuses on issues of race, sexuality, gender and historical identity, and as some of the artwork confronts racial violence, please note that it may be triggering to certain audiences.
Cost: $15 for adults; $10 for students and seniors; children 12 and younger are free when accompanied by family.
Carry the Load // Dallas and Fort Worth
Fort Worth Rally
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, 2850 Stadium Dr.
When: Saturday, May 29 from 10:45am–noon
What to know: Come join the Carry the Load Relay team on the West Coast Route of the 2021 National Relay. You’ll meet at the stadium and join a 3.5-mile walk to the Fort Worth Police & Firefighters Memorial, located at 2201-2247 West 7th Street in Fort Worth.
Cost: Free to participate but donations are encouraged
Dallas Memorial March
Where: Reverchon Park, 3505 Maple Ave.
When: Sunday, May 30, noon through Monday, May 31 at 1:30pm
What to know: The march is a two-day event that culminates in the national relay race, featuring speeches, storyboards of fallen heroes, flag ceremonies, music, a kids’ zone and a march along Katy Trail. Participants of all ages are invited to join military, veterans, first responders, families and friends at any point and for any length of time during the 20-hour march.
Cost: Free to participate but donations are encouraged.
NERF Challenge // Dallas
Where: Centennial Hall at Fair Park, 3809 Grand Ave (gate 5)
When: Open daily beginning Friday, May 28; hours vary by day
What to know: Take your Nerf fight to the next level at this new attraction of larger-than-life, foam-filled games that test your skills as an athlete. Score a goal in human-sized foosball and field or bowl a strike while swinging atop a foam-filled wrecking ball. No worries, folks. It’s all made of foam, with some soft play competitions suited for kids as young as age 8 and others designed for age 14 and up.
Cost: Tickets from $25 per participant and from $9 for spectators.
Bison Meet & Greet // Fort Worth
Where: Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, 9601 Fossil Ridge Road
When: Monday, May 31 at 10am, 11:30am and 1pm
What to know: Did you know the Fort Worth Nature Center has its own herd of bison? Come take a closer look (safely) at the national land mammal when staff members host three hour-long guided programs. You’ll see the dozen or so bison and the two calves born this spring, learn about their natural history and even help feed them. Register online for one of three time slots.
Cost: $10 plus regular admission: $6 adults, $2 children ages 3–12, free for children younger than 3, $1 discount for military with ID
Native Texas Butterfly House & Garden // McKinney
Where: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, 1 Nature Place
When: Opens Saturday, May 29 from 9am–4pm; Sunday, May 30 from 1–4pm; closed Monday
What to know: Take a stroll through the garden freshly stocked with a new generation of Texas native butterflies and plant life. See them float and flutter from leaf to branch, and then come inside the museum (and air conditioning) to see another of the Heard’s newest acquisitions: the new 14-foot-long plesiosaur fossil exhibit, nicknamed the Texas Nessie.
Cost: Free with admission: $10 for adults; $7 for kids 3 years and older; free for kids 2 and younger.
Drive-In Movie Series // Coppell
Where: Coppell Arts Center, 505 Travis St.
When: Saturday, May 29 at 8:30pm
What to know: Revisit some of your and your kids’ favorite films at Old Town Coppell’s neighborhood arts center, which has turned its freshly paved parking lot into an old-fashioned drive-in. Continuing on select Saturdays through August, the series begins with Cinderella, specifically the 1997 TV movie version starring Brandy as Cinderella, Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother, and Bernadette Peters as the wicked stepmother. Gates open at 8pm and tickets are available online only.
Cost: $15 per vehicle. Kettle popcorn and drinks available for purchase.
Fiesta Charra // Lewisville
Where: Lewisville Rodeo Arena, 101 Parkway Dr.
When: Saturday, May 29, 4–10pm
What to know: Experience the Mexican tradition of the charreada or charrería—which is similar to a rodeo and practiced in Mexico—at the annual Fiesta Charra this year with multiple musical performances and mariachi. No outside food is allowed so bring your dollars to snacks from the snow cone stand, treats from on-site vendors including the Antojitos Rosy Taqueria & Fruteria, and to shop for artisan-made crafts and jewelry at the market.
Cost: Free admission
Scarborough Renaissance Festival // Waxahachie
Where: Scarborough Fairgrounds, 2511 FM 66
When: Saturday–Monday, May 29–31, 10am–7pm
What to know: It’s the Last Huzzah-themed weekend for the Scarborough Renaissance Fest’s 40th season. If you haven’t made it yet this year for this fantasy festival in the woods, don’t miss your last chance on Memorial Day weekend. The festival features the all-new guided historical tours (2pm each day beginning at the Hightower Stage) and on Monday, the Fallen Heroes Tribute. All active and retired military members are invited to receive a yellow sash at the Village Armoury, located in Crown Meadow.
Cost: $37 adults; $17 children ages 5–12; free for children age 4 and younger.
Memorial Day Weekend at the Arboretum // Dallas
Where: Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Rd.
When: Saturday–Monday, May 29–31, open 9am–5pm
What to know: Relax in the garden with live music on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage & Lawn and join special entertainment in A Tasteful Place each day on this extended weekend. Don’t miss the Window to the Wild bird show on Monday at 10:30am.
Cost: Free with general admission: $15 adults; $10 children 2–12. Free for military (active, retired or veteran) and active first responders.
Flower Mound Memorial Day Ceremony & Splashtacular // Flower Mound
Where: Memorial Day Ceremony at Flower Mound Senior Center, 2701 West Windsor Rd.; CAC Outdoor Waterpark, 1200 Gerault Rd.
When: Monday, May 31 at 9am; 1–5pm
What to know: Join the Flower Mound community to remember our fallen soldiers at this ceremony with keynote speakers from military and local leaders, patriotic music and a color guard. You’re welcome to submit a picture and bio of your fallen hero to add to the Veteran Wall of Honor. After the ceremony, meet up at the CAC Outdoor Waterpark for a Memorial Day Splashtacular pool party with games and activities.
Cost: Free with regular admission: $8 adults, $6 children.
Baby Shark Live! // Frisco
When: Tuesday, June 1 at 6pm
When: Comerica Center, 2601 Avenue of the Stars
What to know: Dive back into the frenzy at this live concert with Baby Shark, his buddy Pinkfong and all their underwater friends as they sing and dance along to hit songs Baby Shark, Five Little Monkeys, Wheels on the Bus, Jungle Boogie and Monkey Banana Dance.
Cost: Tickets from $23.50. Children younger than 2 do not require a ticket to sit on a parent’s lap.
Image courtesy of iStock.