Friday, May 31, 2013

Planning adventures for summer

From today's Briefing:

The long four-day weekend, afforded by a bad weather makeup day and Memorial Day, was a welcome yet cruel preview of summer.

My small crew had no trouble adjusting to time off. We stayed up late. We slept late. We spent one full morning in pajamas. We hung out at the neighborhood pool.

And then, bam! Tuesday morning required alarm clocks, lunches to go, battered homework folders crammed into backpacks.

That short break before the long break was a good wake-up call. What exactly are the kids going to do all summer?

A few weeks are already spoken for — family vacation, camps, a mission trip. And then there are some gaping expanses of nothingness, days with no plans. We’ll embrace our inner sloths some of those days, but others require adventure. Here’s a list of what I’m hoping we can accomplish this summer.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science: I’m ashamed to admit that we haven’t yet visited the new Dallas museum. I’ve hesitated because people often talk of how crowded it is and how many exhibits are already no longer working. Yet everyone raves about racing a Tyrannosaurus rex and experiencing an earthquake and touching a tornado.

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum: There are 13 presidential libraries in the United States, and Dallas is fortunate to be home to the newest. So far, we’ve visited only the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., where we enjoyed walking through the history of the final years of the 20th century, sitting in a replica of the Cabinet Room and peering into a faux Oval Office.

The Bush library offers a snapshot of the first years of the 21st century, access to artifacts, a lovely garden and the opportunity to sit in a pseudo-Oval Office.

Reading lists: Every summer I have good intentions of picking up reading logs, having the kids keep track of their books and turning in the lists for prizes. And yet it never happens.

I’m declaring that this year they’ll actually get rewarded for all those books they read (beyond, of course, the intrinsic value of reading in general). We’re planning on three good options, our public library, Half Price Books and Barnes & Noble, each with its own reward system.;;

Shakespeare in the Park: This summer, Shakespeare Dallas presents three shows: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pericles and Much Ado About Nothing. Performances are outside (Samuell Grand Amphitheatre in East Dallas) at night, so no one should burn to a crisp while enjoying the Bard’s witty dialogue. Tickets are inexpensive, kids 12 and younger are free, and you’re welcome to bring food and drink in to the park.

Summer Adventures in Fair Park: I’m a fairweather State Fair fan. I like the idea of the fair, but I’m less enamored of the parking, the crowds and the cost.

I’m hoping that Summer Adventures is a little less crowded — and that we can find a rare coolish or overcast summer day to attend.

For a flat fee, you get access to rides, shows, museums and swan boats.

Food is extra, of course. But who’s complaining about paying for Fletcher’s Corny Dogs and funnel cakes?

Tyra Damm is a Briefing columnist. Email her at

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