‘Tis the best season to get out and about with the family in tow, especially when some of the best things to do are free. Along with the epic holiday light displays in Highland Park, Interlochen and Plano’s Deerfield neighborhood, these five free activities are sure to keep your entire brood entertained.
“The Littlest Wiseman”
William Edrington Scott Theatre
1300 Gendry St.
Fort Worth, TX 76109
www.thelittlestwiseman.orgDate: Dec. 6-14, 2014
For over 50 years, the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts and the world renowned Dorothy Shaw Bell Choir have been teaming up to bring this heartwarming Christmas pageant to life. The production features a large, talented cast, along with elaborate sets and exquisite costumes. Tickets are free, but reservations need to made well in advance. If you can’t reserve tickets in advance, you still can score some before the show by adding your name to the box office’s wait list one hour before each performance. The show runs on selected afternoons and evenings from December 6 to December 14.
Texas Christkindl Market
1098 Ballpark Way
Arlington, TX 76011
Date: Nov. 28 to Dec. 21, 2014
Since its inception in 2011, Arlington’s Christkindl Market has grown into one of DFW’s most highly anticipated holiday events. Replicated after Germany’s famous Christmas markets, Christkindl offers something for everyone, from authentic German delicacies and live entertainment to booths of vendors selling artisan crafts and holiday gifts. For the younger set, there’s a petting zoo, a Santa Haus, marionette shows and a nightly lantern parade in which kids can register to participate in. Christkindl runs daily from November 28 to December 21. Parking as well as admission to the market is free.
Related: Best Cheap Holiday Escapes Near DFW
411 W. Arapaho Road
Richardson, TX 75080
Date: Dec. 6-21, 2014
Each year, the City of Richardson transforms the lawn next to the City Hall into a virtual winter wonderland complete with miniature gingerbread-style houses, extravagant lighting displays, live entertainment and a host of kid-friendly activities. Here kids can do everything from visiting with Santa and eating cookies with Mrs. Claus to making holiday ornaments and mailing letters to the North Pole. Santa’s Village kicks off after the city’s tree lighting ceremony on December 6 and runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, until December 21.
Kimbell Art Museum
3333 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
The internationally renowned Kimbell Art Museum is one of Fort Worth’s shining gems. And what makes the museum even more spectacular is that admission to its permanent collections, as well as many of the museum’s programs, is free. The museum offers year-round, family-friendly events, festivals and classes. Always open during museum hours is the new Family Fun in Studio A, a place where parents and kids, ages five and younger, can enjoy a variety of hands-on art-related activities together. Kimbell’s Drop-in Studio, presented on select Saturday afternoons, offers a variety of free art sessions geared for kids ages 12 and younger. For teens, the Kimbell has the Studio Five 90, featuring various themed art activities on select Friday evenings.
Bass Pro Shops
2501 Bass Pro Drive
Grapevine, TX 76051
Before you head over to the holiday festivities in Grapevine, be sure to make a pit stop at Bass Pro Shops where there’s always plenty of free and fun activities to delight any age group. Along with a fascinating assortment of stuffed critters and dioramas, the store has a shooting gallery, a 3D archery range, indoor waterfalls and giant aquariums. It also offers an array of free weekly outdoor skills workshops, some of which include fly casting, fly tying and kids’ fishing classes. Additionally, Bass Pro hosts a variety of events, including the annual Santa’s Wonderland during November and December. Here, families can enjoy everything from free pictures with Santa to a laser arcade, model trains, kid crafts and slot car racing.
Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. Ilene enjoys writing about a variety of topics, ranging from food, fitness and travel, to kids, pets and senior care. You can find some of her work at Examiner.com.