Staying in Denton and looking for something to do next week when the kids are out of school?
Here are some ideas for cheap-to-free activities that will keep your kiddos in a learning mindset while they are enjoying their vacation.
1. Denton Public Library: 3 branches, each open the first part of the week and the weekend following Thanksgiving. If you're not a library regular, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the games, puzzles, educational displays and computer games (Wii!) available. http://www.cityofdenton.com/departments-services/departments-g-p/library/about-dpl/contact-us
2. Denton County Museums: Historical Park and the County Courthouse Museums are free and have rotating exhibits. They're walking distance from each other, too. http://dentoncounty.com/dept/main.asp?Dept=72&Link=1316
3. Clear Creek Nature Center: On the outskirts of Denton, the Clear Creek Nature Center has several easy trails navigable by tricycle or stroller. The trails range from a quarter-mile to three miles. http://www.cityofdenton.com/departments-services/sustainable-denton/clear-creek-natural-heritage-center
4. UNT Environmental Science Building (Elm Fork Education Center and UNT Astronomy) Movies in the Sky Theater and hands-on exhibits in the 1st floor museum will keep little minds engaged while the University is open the first part of the week: http://www.skytheater.unt.edu/nowshowing.htm , http://efec.unt.edu/
5. Ray Roberts State Parks: (Isle du Bois, Johnson Branch, and 380 Greenbelt) The Texas ParksPass is the greatest secret in the state. Short car trips will get you to all three of these parks, where free fishing, a new, free Junior Rangers program for ages 7-12, beaches and trails await. http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/ray-roberts-lake
6. Ride the DCTA: It takes more planning than you might expect due to a schedule aimed more for commuters than tourists, but the DCTA A Train is a guaranteed hit for kids who love to go-go-go. Successful trips have originated in Downtown Denton and gone to Lewisville Lake (a half-mile's walk gets you to lunch at Sneaky Pete's) or downtown Lewisville for a little shopping. Ride the train to downtown Denton, if you aren't a townie, and spend an afternoon on the square. http://www.dcta.net/routes-schedules/a-train-routes-a-schedules/menu-id-134.html
7. Fancy Food Stores: Get in the car and drive to the nearest Central Market (Southlake) or Whole Foods (Plano/ North Dallas) and kill two birds with one stone. You can get all those hard-to-find-in-Denton food items that you need for your Thursday feast and your kid can see, smell, and taste new things. Extra Credit for parents who make it to an Indian, Halal, or one of the many other Asian grocers in D/FW. They can become lessons in history and culture, too!