Small-scale Summer Adventures

By Elizabeth Copeland, Red Apple Parent and Assistant Teacher 

I always look forward to summertime. Sleeping in just a little later; playing in the yard after dinner as the sun sinks behind the trees; sharing a watermelon on the back porch. I’m blessed to have three full months with my kids and I’m soaking it up while I can before they’re too embarrassed to hang out with mom at the waterpark.

I find it helpful to plan out each summer in advance as much as possible. We don’t have a lot of arguing and whining when we stay busy, so I try to schedule an activity for each day. I usually sit down with a sweet friend of mine in May and we plan out our summer activities together. While we will spend a little money here and there, in general, we look for free or low cost options.

I thought I would share my summer idea list with other Red Apple families in case you are looking for inspiration while making your plans. Vacations, summer camps and team sports are a big part of many families’ summers, but I thought I’d focus on some small “filler” activities for all the days in-between. Below is what is on our excursion list,  I’d love for you to share any summer adventures you are planning with your kids!


Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop – my kids love looking at the aquarium and seeing all of the animals. Bass Pro Shop usually has events for the kids on weekdays throughout the summer.
Founder’s Plaza at DFW Airport – Pack a picnic and watch the planes land at DFW Airport.
– Tour the Mrs. Baird’s Factory – Kids have to be six years old so my kids can’t do it yet, but I thought I’d include it for any older siblings.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing – we haven’t done this yet, but I hope we get to this year. They offer free tours where you can see how money is made.
– Discover new parks – we also like to explore the trails behind some of the local parks. There are some nice trails behind Keller Town Hall and Parr Park in Grapevine.
– Library – All of the local libraries have so many cool programs to take advantage of during the summer.
– Vacation Bible School
Fort Worth Zoo – we love the zoo when it isn’t too hot.
Homestead Farms in Keller – a cute little goat farm that sometimes offers classes where the kids can learn about farming (there is a fee for the classes). They also have a store where you can buy natural meats, dairy, etc.
Botanic Gardens – A nice place to picnic.
– Pack a picnic and meet up with Daddy for lunch

NRH2O fireworks – while the best seats are inside the park, you can also see them from the parking lots near the park (see their website for fireworks schedule). We love to get frozen yogurt and hang out in the back of the truck while watching fireworks.

Low Cost

Blue Hanger Cafe– this is a little gem of a restaurant located in Roanoke. It is a small cafe located just off the runway of a regional airport. You can sit and eat lunch right next to the runway as the planes land and take off right in front of you. Just be careful driving in and out…the entrance road crosses a runway!
Milwaukee Joe’s for ice cream – MJ is owned by Red Apple grandparents.
Forest Park Mini Train (outside the Fort Worth Zoo) 
– Bowling
– Berry Picking – I have heard of a few different berry picking farms in the area; the only one we have been to is called Ham Orchard. The downside is that it is quite a drive – East of Dallas in Terrell.
Harkins Summer Movie Program – we do this every year. One movie per week all summer long and only $6 per person for the entire summer.
IKEA – This is a place that everyone loves! We have the 99 cent breakfast together in the cafe and the kids like to look at the durability demonstration machines as we shop.
Artisan Theater – A small theater in Hurst that offers children’s plays during the day through their Artie’s Playhouse troupe.
– Take a Trip on the TRE or Grapevine Vintage Railroad (check for weekend and midday specials this summer)
– Visit Krispy Kreme and watch the doughnuts being made.

Require Admission

Waterparks – We are so excited to have season passes to NRH2O this summer – well worth the price if you plan a weekly excursion for a couple of hours. Some people seem to think their kids are too young, but my 3 and 5 year old have a blast. They offer free lifejackets to borrow and there is no charge for parking or coolers.
Log Cabin Village in Fort Worth
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center – it can be a little pricey and is a drive, but where else can you feed a giraffe out of your car window?
NRH Centre indoor pool
Chuck E Cheese

Please share your ideas in the comments section below and be on the lookout for another blog post in the near future with ideas of activities you can do around the house!

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