Here is a must-do Summer Bucket List to help fill the season with family-friendly experiences and activities. Whether you prefer to spend a day at the beach, a morning picking berries in the field or an afternoon volunteering in the community, these are the activities every DFW family should consider doing together at least once...and summer is the best time to make it happen!
Splash Kingdom Waterparks
Stephanie W.: With several locations open seasonally near Dallas, Splash Kingdom has thrilling water slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and water playgrounds!
Swimming open April-September
Stephanie W.: One of the largest and most popular lakes near Dallas, Lake Lavon has 5 beaches, 16 parks, and over 200 picnic areas. It is even home to a horseback riding trail! Pontoons, ski boats, fishing boats, and wave runners are all available for rent. If you're looking for the swimming beaches, head toward Mallard, Ticky Creek, East Fork, Avalon or Pebble Beach parks.
Stephanie W.: This experience is one for the books. You've heard of Touch-a-Truck events, but have you ever heard of a place that actually lets you drive them?? Extreme Sandbox has excavators, bull dozers, wheel loaders, and more, and this place lets you ride in and drive them yourself! Kids who love construction vehicles and new, exciting experiences will go crazy for Extreme Sandbox!
Cost: Packages start at $195. Click here for more pricing.
Junior Players - Discover Theater Summer Camps
2 weeks, half day
Stephanie W.: Junior Players is the oldest children's theater in Dallas. They have an amazing system of camps set up for the summer, which all take place at different recreation centers and libraries throughout the Dallas area, so you can choose the location nearest you, and amazingly, they are FREE! Each camp culminates in a performance showing off the campers' hard work.
Hydrous Wake Parks
Vanessa M.: Wakeboarding is a bit like surfboarding meets waterskiing, and it is lots of fun! Hydrous Wake Parks boast the only wakeboarding parks in North Texas. They help beginners learn the basics and encourage experienced wakeboarders to master new tricks at both their locations, and offer private wakeboarding lessons. The Little Elm location also boasts an Aqua Park (a huge water obstacle course) and lakeside restaurant with a great view of all the action.
Cost: $20 1 hour main cable, $30 2 hour main cable plus $15 rental fee
Vanessa M.: Ziplining through the trees with the wind whipping across your face is a thrill like none other. Experience this and more with a 2-3 hour treetop adventure at Go Ape. The aerial journey takes climbers across suspended bridges, height-defying swings, ziplines, and many other suspended obstacles.
Bloomer's Garden & Wildflower Farm
Blackberry & blueberry picking
christadiserio: Known primarily for their cut-your-own flowers, Bloomer's also has a small amount of u-pick blackberries and blueberries. Kids can visit with farm animals, go on a flower scavenger hunt and play on a slide hill.
Outdoor Pro Shops Archery Range
Vanessa M.: Outdoor Pro Shops has an indoor archery range that keeps archers out of the hot Texas sun. The 20-yard indoor range utilizes a competition target system, and is perfect for beginners all the way up to experienced archers. Looking for lessons? Click here.
Ages: 8+ years
Cost: $8 hour
The Texas Pool
Day pass or membership
Stephanie W.: OK. Drop everything and get yourself to this pool! This pool is the epitome of Texas pride! This historic saltwater pool is gigantic. It has an island in the deep end located "in" Dallas-Forth Worth, and South Texas is a wade area for smaller children. There are two water slides and a diving board. Water volleyball is encouraged, as is grilling your own BBQ on their grills. They even welcome mermaid fins and offer special mermaid meetups!
Jack Carter Pool (Plano Parks & Recreation)
Stephanie W.: The Jack Carter Pool has all your favorites like the lazy river, several slides, a splash pad, and of course, a pool, but what really sets Jack Carter apart is the Flow Rider Surf Simulator which creates waves perfect for surfing practice!
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Sarah D.: The Dallas Arboretum is home to the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden - an absolute treasure for children of all ages. Connecting children with nature is central to the Children's Adventure Garden. They do this by inviting children to enjoy a variety of nature walks, daily educational programs and exhibits, puppet theatre, playgrounds integrated into the nature-scapes and so much more. The Children's Adventure Garden is a world-class botanic adventure!
White Rock Lake
Stephanie W.: This popular lake in Dallas is an urban oasis, with a 9-mile running and biking trail around the lake, as well as several playgrounds, picnic areas, bird-watching areas, and kayaks available for rent. Added features include the Dallas Arboretum which sits on the lake! You and your kids will love getting fresh air, some exercise, and checking out wildlife around the lake.
Topgolf - Dallas
Stephanie W.: Topgolf DFW - Dallas has something for everyone, including batting cages and 54 holes of miniature golf.
Shila: Among 60,000 square feet of space, a colorful 2-story climber playground awaits, as well as a larger creative and coloring adventure. Other attractions include an activity studio, drip art, melted molds, and a crayon factory show where kids learn how crayons are made! There is enough to fill an entire day.
Children's Aquarium Dallas
Stephanie W.: Children's Aquarium Dallas was designed for little ones in mind. Everything at the aquarium that the kids will explore is at eye-level for them to enjoy. From rhino iguanas to moon jellyfish & other friends, they'll get to meet many underwater treasures. Visitors will love petting and feeding stingrays!
Lavender Ridge Farms
Stephanie W.: What was originally a melon and strawberry farm is now home to a beautiful lavender field and more perennial gardens. Families can cut fresh lavender branches during the late May-July blooming season. Visit with rescued farm animals, enjoy a lavender-inspired meal at the cafe and take home a handmade product from the gift shop.
Pre-K to 8th Grade
Sarah D.: Wee Volunteer is designed to match pre-schoolers and elementary students to an age appropriate charity in the Dallas area. Wee Volunteer connects children with charitable organizations providing services to the hungry, the homeless, the elderly, and under-privileged children. Wee Volunteer also connects children to animal and environmental causes. Charitable projects are available through Meals-on-Wheels, Wipe Out Graffiti and many more! Check out their Facebook page for additional information, and sign up for their newsletter to learn about upcoming events for the next volunteer opportunity near you!
Klyde Warren Park
Stephanie W.: Klyde Warren Park is Dallas's downtown park, complete with cafes, water features, and lush green space! There are always plenty of fun events going on, like yoga classes, live music in spring, summer and fall, a putting green, plus ping pong tables and croquet. All events and activities are free! Be sure to check out the Children's Park, which has a child-size amphitheatre and a story time tree. On hot summer days, your little ones will love the park's caterpillar water fountain with jets that spray outward to turn this caterpillar in to a beautiful butterfly!
9 Rabbits Bakery & Boba House
Vanessa M.: 9 Rabbits Bakery & Boba House is a Korean bakery and tea shop creating fun and tasty drinks and desserts. Popular items include specialty character macarons, such as Winnie the Pooh and Wonder Woman, the Green Tea Slice Roll Cake, and the Milk Tea Bingsu, a shaved ice creation topped with red beans, ice cream, slivered almonds, and almond cookies. The spacious inside has ample seating for families! The menu also includes breakfast, lunch, boba teas, coffee, and "blendies" (smoothies).
Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark
Vanessa M.: Epic Waters is indeed most epic! Their large, jaw-dropping indoor facility is home to a slew of intense waterslides, along with swimming pools, the longest lazy river in Texas, and designated kids play areas that make Epic Waters a must-see water park for the entire family.
Six Flags Over Texas
Lisa R: You won't run out of things to do at this landmark amusement park with rides & shows for thrill seekers of every age. Here you'll find heart stopping roller coasters and drop rides, silly flume rides for the whole family, memorable playgrounds, kiddie rides, and more.
Texas Rangers' Globe Life Park
Stephanie W.: For it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ball game! Baseball is America's favorite past time, and the Texas Rangers' stadium is the perfect place to celebrate it! Located in Arlington, the stadium is conveniently located between Dallas and Fort Worth. Not only is attending a game and grabbing a hot dog and cotton candy worth the trip, behind-the-scenes tours and in-game experiences are available to make your trip even more memorable!
Cost: Tickets start at $22. See more pricing and availability here.
Stephanie W.: Watch your favorite band's music videos on large screens. Eat delicious, oversized food (like a 2 foot long hot dog, or an XXL pretzel!) while you bowl on one of their 52 lanes. With blacklit lanes, Bowlero has a retro-style ambience while also being upscale and modern! Feel free to check out their awesome arcade as well.
Cost: $16.95/ 3 games of bowling (per person); or bowl, eat and arcade play for $22.95/person. Kids under 15 can purchase a Summer Games Pass; it covers 3 games of bowling a day & includes shoe rental ($29.95)!
christadiserio: Storm Farms is a pick-your-own fruit farm offering pesticide-free strawberries.
Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
Stephanie W.: The Cowboy Hall of Fame honors over 140 men and women who have excelled in rodeo and the western lifestyle of Texas. Each honoree has a station with personal memorabilia for families to enjoy. It also has exhibits about the history of the cowboy and an exploratorium for children opened in 2007, where kids can learn about how a cowboy would pack his horse and wagon for a trail ride. You'll love learning about Texas's history at this entertaining museum!
Fort Worth Zoo - Safari Splash
$5/person with Zoo admission
Stephanie W.: A wild animal themed splash park is the perfect addition to a day spent observing wild animals at the Fort Worth Zoo! Safari Splash is a water play area equipped with four slides, a water dump tower, a fill wall for water toys, animal-shaped water cannons and a designated toddler play area.
Bicentennial Park Splash Pad
christadiserio: The City of Crowley's splash pad is a great place to take the kids and cool down from the summer heat.
Hidden Valley Miniature Golf
$9/adult, $5/child under 4 feet tall
Stephanie W.: Hidden Valley is a large, 18 hole mini golf course located just west of Ft. Worth. Video game room and picnic area available.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway
$7/adult (13+), Free for children 12 & under
Sarah D.: Old converted railways make the best new hikes! The Lake Mineral Wells State Park boasts a "trailway" 20 miles long and 10 feet wide with 16 old railway bridges (for any train enthusiast in your family)! There are three additional access points (at Weatherford, Garner and Mineral Wells) all of which have drinking water, restrooms and paved, accessible parking. The first two miles out of downtown Mineral Wells are paved, the rest of the way is well-maintained, compact crushed limestone.
Primary photo: Go Ape Dallas
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