7 Free or Cheap Summer Activities in Arlington
Summer Activities that you can enjoy without spending too much
by Jennifer Barling
Everyone in the metroplex (OK, maybe everyone in the entire state of Texas) knows the big draws of Arlington: the Ballpark, Six Flags, and Cowboys Stadium. But unless you’ve got money to burn, those places can really put a hurt on your wallet. Given my thrifty nature, I’ve uncovered some great resources in Arlington for free (or cheap) kid-friendly entertainment and other summer activities. When you start planning your summer, don’t forget to include these. Maybe you’ll save enough money to take your family to a Texas Rangers game!
Spraygrounds/Splash Pads: In Arlington, we’re fortunate to have an amazing parks system; however, in the middle of the summer, it’s just too darn hot to go outside. That’s where spraygrounds come in! Part playground, part mini-waterpark, any of Arlington’s four free spraygrounds (Founders Plaza at Levitt Pavilion, Brantley Hinshaw Park, California Lane Park, and Don Misenhimer Park) can keep your kids blissfully happy – and cool – for hours. Bring a picnic lunch and some sunscreen, and you’ve got a whole day of free More info: http://www.arlingtontx.gov/parks/simple/index.html
Summer Reading Club: I am a library lover! Every year, the Arlington Public Library offers the Summer Reading Club for kids and adults. Kids of all ages can keep track of the books they read and earn a prize for each completed list, while adults can enter a drawing for some really excellent goodies. Are your kids too young to read? No problem – books you read to your little ones also count. And of course, coming in for story time is a blast, with everything from sing-alongs to puppet shows to make reading truly fun! Website: http://arlingtonlibrary.org/
Arlington Museum of Art: Some parents may be a bit uneasy about taking their kids to a museum, but I say you have to start some time! It’s never too early to teach kids about proper museum behavior, and to expose them to different kinds of artistic expression. The Arlington Museum of Art is a not-for-profit museum that offers a variety of exhibits throughout the year. Admission is free, but they do accept donations. Who knows – your child may discover his or her passion for art! Website: http://arlingtonmuseum.org/
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts: Free outdoor concerts – what more could you ask for? From the end of May to the beginning of July, Levitt Pavilion hosts an eclectic line-up of music groups, with Wednesdays dedicated to kids’ shows. Past performances have had kids dancing, playing pretend, and forming a giant conga line around the pavilion! After the show, the splash fountains turn on, so be sure to bring your bathing suits. (And if you’re lucky enough to get a babysitter, grab your sweetie for a date night to one of the many evening shows!) More info: http://www.levittpavilionarlington.org/Home/tabid/103/Default.aspx
River Legacy Park: A 1,300-acre oasis along the Trinity River, River Legacy is the perfect family go-to spot for hiking, biking, kite flying, and picnicking. The free Living Science Center offers interactive exhibits, terrariums, nature trails, and special Saturday events. You could easily spend a full day there learning all about local animals and plant life. Website: http://www.riverlegacy.org/
Read it Again Kits: Did I mention how much I love the library? Another wonderful perk of Arlington’s library system are the “Read It Again” kits. These themed boxes are chock-full of educational supplies that make learning fun. Is your child fascinated by dinosaurs? Check out the Dinosaur Kit, loaded with everything from books to music to hand puppets, all related to dinosaurs. A wide variety of these kits means you’re bound to find something to interest your little one! Website: http://arlingtonlibrary.org/
Cheap Summer Movies: Want to get out of the heat for a couple hours? Don’t miss the Summer Children’s Series at Studio Movie Grill, located in the Arlington Highlands. Previously released G- and PG-rated kids’ movies are offered all summer long with cheap ticket prices ($1 for kids, $2 for adults). More info: http://www.studiomoviegrill.com/BodyGraphic.aspx?ID=174
Jennifer Barling is a part-time freelance writer and full-time mother of two. She blogs for www.morethanmothers.com and has written for several local magazines, including FortWorthChild and 360 West Weddings. Jennifer spends her spare time trying to keep up with her energetic husband, creating new educational adventures for her children, and staying organized while doing it all!