We aren’t making a trip this holiday season but my son will be off for Winter Break, and I know I’ll get antsy being at home with no real schedule. In case you might want to make a day trip, like me, or even spend a weekend exploring another Texas city, here is some of what’s going on around the state:
Greater Dallas Area
It’s been a few years since we visited the Dallas area, and I’ve been wanting to go back. Here are some of the things going on during the holiday season:
- Celebration Park (Allen) is one of the places we visited. Although admittedly we visited during the summer, when the sprayground was on, the Park has one of the largest climbing structures I’ve ever seen, as well as a trail and sports fields. The playground is handicap-accessible.
- I have been wanting to make it back since the Dallas Arboretum opened the Children’s Adventure Garden last September. Although the Garden will be closed starting on January 5th, The 12 Days of Christmas Passport to Adventure will guide your little ones through 12 stops in the garden to discover interesting tidbits about complete a passport. You can check out the latest activities taking place at the Garden.
- The Dallas Zoo was a big hit for the three kids we had with us. Although the Zoo is closed on Christmas Day, there are daily encounters with the animals and other demonstrations taking place during Winter Break. The Zoo is open from 9am-4pm daily.
- We visited the LEGOLAND Discovery Center (Grapevine) soon after it opened, and we all had a blast. Until December 31st, visitors can participate in a scavenger hunt in MINILAND for a chance to win a fun prize. Special holiday-themed builds will be taking place on December 22nd and 23rd from 10am-5pm. On December 22nd (from 10am-9pm) and December 23rd (11am-6pm) you can build a holiday ornament with a donation to Merlin’s Magic Wand to help decorate the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tree. The LEGOLAND Discovery Center is open 10am-4pm on Christmas Eve, noon to 5pm on Christmas Day and 10am-4pm on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
- The Perot Museum may have been our favorite excursion of our trips. In addition to their regular exhibits, the traveling exhibit, 2theXtreme: MathAlive! is at the Perot over the holidays. In this 5,000 square-foot exhibition, you can freestyle on a snowboard, develop your own video game, attempt an Ollie on a custom skateboard, capture your 360-degree image, challenge a friend in a mountain bike race, operate simulations of NASA’s latest robotics and even design infrastructure for an ecologically sustainable city. The exhibit is free for members and an additional charge for nonmembers. During the holidays, four films will screen in 3D at the Museum’s theater and demonstrations will be taking place from December 20-January 5th. The Museum is open Christmas Eve from 10am-3pm and closed on Christmas Day. On New Year’s Eve, the Museum is open from 10am-4pm. From December 26-January 3, the Perot is open from 10am-7pm with member-only hours from 8:30-10am Monday through Saturday and 10am until noon on Sundays.
- The Cameron Park Zoo was a Waco attraction we enjoyed visiting last year. The Zoo is closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
- We also enjoyed visiting the Mayborn Museum last year, and it strikes me that it’s a nice indoor attraction that’s closeby. Until January 4th, the Mayborn will welcome back the Central Texas Area Model Railroaders for an extensive train exhibit which will include elaborate scenes of bridges and trestles, cities and towns from the past and present. The Museum is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
- Another place we enjoyed visiting was the Waco Mammoth Site. The Waco Mammoth Site has a new exhibit which was unveiled on December 5th, in honor of the site’s 5th birthday. The facility is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
- It’s hard to think about visiting San Antonio without a trip to The Alamo. January 3rd is is First Saturday at the Alamo, which is a free interactive living history event open to the public that is designed to give visitors a glimpse of life during the early days of Texas. Visitors can stroll the Alamo grounds, talk with living history interpreters, view live black-powder firing demonstrations and see history come alive! Items that Phil Collins donated are now on display. The Alamo is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Shannon wrote about visiting Pearl and some of the surrounding sites a few years ago. The Pearl is a great place to take in the amazing lights on the Riverwalk. There are plenty of restaurants, a farmers market and retail locations. Here’s the list of holiday hours and closures.
- The Witte Museum has always been a favorite of our family. You can learn about life in historic south Texas at the South Texas Heritage Center and learn more about the human body at the H-E-B Body Adventure Exhibit. The Museum is closed on Christmas Day and construction admission discounts are in effect until February 2015.
- We had a blast at the Children’s Museum when we visited earlier this year. There are many holiday special evens at the Children’s Museum, including Grinch’s Holiday Workshops, which take place until January 5th. The Seasons of Sharing exhibit, open through January 4th, will give children an insight into holidays around the world. Several other special events will be taking place, including Elfie Selfies with Santa on December 20th and 24th and a chance to meet Santa’s reindeer, Milk and Cookies with Santa on Christmas Eve. The Museum is closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
- The Houston Museum of Natural Science has lots to explore. Current exhibits include Samurai: The Way of the Warrior, Faberge: From A Snowflake to an Iceberg, Shark!, Battleship Texas and Gemstone Carvings. The Museum also has a giant screen theater, planetarium and butterfly center. From December 20 until January 4, the HMNS will be open from 9am-6pm. The Museum will be closed on Christmas Day.
- The Houston Zoo is a fun place to visit, as we discovered. In addition to the regular exhibits, the Zoo hosts Zoo Lights until January 4th, which is a nightly event (closed Christmas Eve and Day) which illuminates the Zoo with more than 2 million lights and offers other holiday entertainment. The Zoo will close early on Christmas Eve and will be closed Christmas Day.
- Space Center Houston is another fun place we explored. The Space Center has a traveling exhibit, The Next Giant Leap: Beyond Planet Earth, which is open through January 18th. Beyond Planet Earth features a series of six immersive environments, each providing thought-provoking hands-on, interactive experiences that offer a glimpse at the next 50 to 100 years of space exploration.
Do you have any Texas Travel plans this Winter Break?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Nicole-Basham-Sara-Marzani-Photography-livemom.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 8-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life”, or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.[/author_info] [/author]