Many people make New Year’s Resolutions to 1) exercise more and 2) spend more quality time with the family. I've come up with a list of ways you can easily get some exercise with your kids - with everyone enjoying themselves. The kiddo age range for these activities is about 6 years to 11 years.
The idea of cataloging activities specifically for parents and kids came from my good friend and Dallas native Paul Schweizer, who keeps his own running list of such things.
Without further adieu, here is the list - in no particular order.
1. Hit the Courts at the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department
For $2 per child per year, you can use any City of Dallas recreation center. These include basketball gyms with all kinds of balls and equipment, indoor swimming pools and, in the case of the Ridgewood Belcher recreation center, free vintage arcade video games like PacMan, Missile Command and Galaga and Foosball. On rainy or cold days, take the kids to the gym where they can shoot baskets, throw all manner of balls, and run themselves ragged. You can participate (adult membership is 12 dollars per year) or bring your laptop to tackle work if you are not looking to be active yourself. The Parks and Recreation Department has a map of Recreation Centers here.
2. Hike the Trails at the Trinity River Audubon Center
Established on an old landfill donated by Waste Management, the Audubon center (nicknamed the "TRAC") boasts great architecture, a fun and innovative discovery center, and a variety of trails that let you choose the length and difficulty of your hikes. More information about all the great things available there can be found on their web site.
3. Take in Nature at White Rock Lake
In the same vein as the TRAC, the White Rock Lake Fish Hatchery makes for an interesting walk. It is located at the south end of the lake adjacent to the spillway. The ponds/tanks there were once used for raising fish. Now the trails between those old tanks boast a variety of birds and the occasional fox or beaver. You can explore the whole thing and make an easy exit if younger kids get tired or hungry. If you want a longer outing, follow it up by feeding the ducks on the lake itself.
4. Test Your Creativity at Late Nights at the DMA
On the third Friday of every month the Dallas Museum of Art has a great mixture of children’s activities, live entertainment, and special programs. There is a $10 fee for adult non-members and kids under 12 (and members) get in free. This is a favorite of my kids. Be sure to stop by the featured kids activity for the night – its always tied to one of the exhibitions. The new discovery center is good fun. While this isn’t a “work out” or outdoor activity, I seem to feel pretty tired after doing a few laps and following my kids interests around. The DMA is always enjoyable, Late Nights just offer a few kiddo perks and the buzz of a big social “thing.”
5. Take a Walk Around The Dallas Arboretum
On any given day the Dallas Arboretum makes for a nice walk, and good way to exhaust rambunctious kids and feel great about it. They frequently offer special hands on stuff for kids. In the summer kids like playing the “toad” fountain that borders Garland road. There also plenty of open spaces to send highly energetic kids racing up and down. Throughout the year there are many events from special seasonal exhibits to the Thursday Night Concert series. The latter offer the chance to enjoy a picnic and some music along with some incredible sunsets.
6. Explore the Rainforest at The Dallas World Aquarium
The Dallas World Aquarium is a world class aquarium with plenty of creatures that can fascinate you so that you forget you are walking all over the place. Penguin feeding seems popular with many kids if you can time it right. If you take Dart Rail to and from the aquarium, you will end up with tired feet and a good bit of exercise.