Our homeschool coop was officially done on Monday, so we hopped in the car and did a two day whirlwind tour to DFW. It’s been a while since we have been out adventuring as the end of the year projects always ramp up. We really spent most of our time inside because the weather was pretty bad. In fact, there was a tornado watch on our drive home, and a few even touched down on another route we could have taken!
SeaQuest, Fort Worth
SeaQuest tops many must see lists of things to do in DFW and with kids who love animals, I was excited to check this out. Truthfully, we were a little underwhelmed at first, it is in a deserted mall and the venue is a bit run down. We decided it was still worth going in to checking out and then we met the employees who were so dedicated to the care of their animals. We learned so much from them and had quality hands on time with the animals! We spent over two hours here and left with so many wonderful memories and new curious questions.
In the front entry, you can meet Dash their sloth who was pretty active when we were there; it was so fun to see him up close. Heading into the venue, we purchased 15 tokens ($2 each) to use for feeding and interacting with the animals. They have lots of information about the animals on the walls including levels of endangerment. TJ fed sharks, EJ held a snake, they both pet a Capybara, and TJ held a parrot. The icing on the cake was the pool of rays that you could feed and pet. They showed us how to pet them and we were delighted that they were indeed, “like puppies”. They would pop up out of the water and you could pet them and drop some dried krill into their mouths. We could not get enough of these rays! I saw Moray Eels for the first time and truthfully they give me the creeps!
SeaQuest has a number of animal interactions you can pay for and while you might feel the price is a bit steep, the animal caretakers really make it worthwhile and I figured that our money was going to help keep their conservation work going.
Lewisville Lake Park
Our evening adventures often get to include dad, who headed north to find a lake. We found this great park with trails on the lake, it cost $5 to enter and it was open until 10pm. We enjoyed a nature walk, I love using my iphone app to identify Texas trees and other foliage of which I am apparently very allergic to (which is a new sensation for me). We chatted with some night fishermen and remarked at how busy this park must be in the summer as we stood out of the rain under one of the multitude of cabanas along the lake front. I don’t quite understand how people play at the lake as there is no beach. I guess we’ll have to come back to observe. Exiting the park, there was a Sonic Drive-in where the kids got ice cream for the drive home.
Perot Museum & Pixar Exhibit, Dallas
Depending on the time of year you come, field trip groups may be a very real damper on your day. I’m so glad I purchased tickets online and we had a wonderful gentleman scan us in letting us know that we should move from the bottom floor to the top floor to stay out of the throngs of field trip attenders. You’ve been warned!
I was incredibly impressed with the number of hands on activities that were here! Both my kids were really engaged with learning and trying all kinds of new things. The first exhibit was about the human body, where we did a science experiment together, gazed at a real brain, tested reflexes vocal cords and grip strength. We enjoyed the bird exhibit, and built our own bird. We saw gems, fossils, experienced an earthquake, and made a topography map which was so cool! Four floors of full time exhibits took us about three hours.
We also purchased tickets to go into the special exhibit about Pixar. It was really well done, we are planning to come back with everyone because it really was outstanding and my kids love Pixar and the story behind their work. Starting off, you get to view a five minute video about the process of making an animated movie then the exhibit walks you through every stage with examples and hands on learning experiences. I also really enjoyed the short interviews to watch of people who work in the various departments and hear their ‘why’. We spent probably an hour in here enjoying all the hands on activities.
A few nuts and bolts:
Parking – The museum parking was full, but just past it on the Left and under the overpass was a great lot that I digitally paid for on an app. It was $4 for four hours. This parking lot is also a short walk away from the Aquarium, also on our list to visit
Food– Since we were staying in a hotel, I was going to have to purchase lunch somewhere. We opted to eat in the cafe and it was cafeteria style burgers, wood fired pizza, make your own salad and a few grab and go items. The kids were happy and I felt like I had a good healthy option.
Extensions for your Curious Learners:
Well the Perot museum alone could cultivate 100 more questions! Here’s a few to get started with.
WATCH a behind the scenes about an animated movie, or this YouTube (25 min) video about the History of Pixar.
READ about the History of Pixar and explore their website.
MAKE your own stop action movie with Flixier!
COMPARE different types of rays. Where do they live, what do they eat, what are natural predators, are they endangered?