Family Fun at the State Fair of Texas

 

Family Fun at the State Fair of Texas - Wit & Wander Header

The annual State Fair of Texas is right around the corner and it’s a great time for families, if you know where to look. Upon first glance, the hundreds of vendors and beer tents might not scream “Family Friendly”, but there are dozens of family activities you can only experience at the State Fair. Here are my Top 12 Family Friendly Activities at the State Fair of Texas:

1. Children’s Petting Zoo

State Fair of Texas - Wit & Wander

Our favorite part of the State Fair every year must be the Children’s Petting Zoo. You can pet a giraffe, feed a camel, and watch baby goats and sheep play. One year we actually saw a live birth of a baby sheep! It is definitely one of the best petting zoos I’ve seen – especially with a few more exotic animals like emus, kangaroos, and zebras. Admission into the petting zoo is free, but there is a small cost for food if you’d like to feed the animals.

2. Engaging Shows

State Fair of Texas - Wit & WanderOne returning show (with a new name) is always a hit with the little ones – ZuZu African Acrobats will be performing daily on the Mattress Firm Stage. You might also want to stick around for the after-dark show, Illumination Sensation. It’s a display of water, lights, dancing, and pyrotechnics right alongside the reflection pool. All new this year on Truck Zone Stage, wood carver Burt Fleming will be turning chunks of wood into works of art.

3. Backyard Circus

In this interactive show, audience members can join the cast! Children will be invited to dress up and join the three ring circus in this fun show just for kids. It’s located at the Colosseum Terrace with shows throughout the afternoon.

4. Big Tex’s Farmyard

State Fair of Texas - Wit & WanderThis all new area will be packed with interactive exhibits that are as educational as they are fun! Kids can learn how famers produce enough food to feed the world. They will also be able to see live animals like piglets, calves, and hatching chicks. It’s located near the Kids’ Boardwalk and the Wild West Pet Palooza. This fun diversion is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m and is free with State Fair admission.

5. Lone Star Horse Spectacular

State Fair of Texas - Wit & WanderThis show is all new for 2015, featuring professional horseback riders in a performance that celebrates the history of the Texas State Flag. This show is daily at 3, 4 and 5 p.m. in the Pan Am Arena and is free with State Fair Admission.

6. Little Hands on the Farm

This miniature farm is perfect for little hands to plant seeds, gather eggs, drive a tiny tractor, and and harvest crops. There is even a little general store where kids can purchase a real snack with their earnings from the harvest. This little farm experience is open daily from 10:00am to 7:00pm.

7. Starlight Parade

State Fair of Texas - Wit & WanderThis parade, which runs nightly at 7:15pm is a spectacle of lights and colorful characters. There are electric floats, giant puppets, and (my favorite) stilt walkers!

8. BMX Show

State Fair of Texas - Wit & WanderIf you’d like a little more adrenaline in your State Fair experience, you won’t want to miss the BMX Show. A professional stunt riding team flips, spins, and defies gravity on their BMX bikes.

9. Livestock Barns

State Fair of Texas - Wit & WanderIf your little ones are interested in livestock, this is the place to be! You can walk past hundreds of State Fair animals through several barns. If your kids are a little older, they might enjoy a guided tour by resident student experts who are happy to answer questions.

10. Kid’s Boardwalk

14_SFT_BestShots_253The Kid’s Boardwalk was new last year and features free games and activities for kids. There is a show with Ronald McDonald and a witty Buford Buzzard, and new this year is an interactive magic show and a comical cowboy puppet. There will also be kid-friendy favorites like crafts and face painting.

11. The Greenhouse

State Fair of Texas - Wit & WanderThe Errol McCoy Greenhouse is a permanent exhibit at Fair Park that features the very cool Texas Garden Railway. During the fair, you can also find gardening demonstrations and giant pumpkin carving.

12. Big Tex

State Fair of Texas - Wit & WanderEvery family needs a picture with this giant cowboy! It’s a certified Texas tradition, y’all!

State Fair of Texas Tips for Families:

  • Look for Discounts – Click Here for a great list of State Fair admission discounts, and Click Here for more info on Thrifty Thursdays.
  • Go during the school day – it will still be busy, but it might not be completely packed!
  • You can bring your own food and soft sided coolers into the State Fair, but you are not allowed to bring in glass containers and alcohol.
  • There are Port-a-Pottys throughout Fair Park, but restrooms with changing tables can be found in each of the EXPO buildings.
  • Strollers are available for rent, but you might as well bring your own. You will definitely want one because Fair Park is huge!

Did I miss your favorite? Share what you love about the Texas State Fair in the comments!

Family Fun at the State Fair of Texas - Wit & Wander

 

Photo Credits: Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas

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A Mom’s Guide to The Dallas Zoo

A Mom's Guide to The Dallas Zoo | The Dallas Mom

Lions and giraffes and koalas, oh my! The Dallas Zoo is known as one of the best activities for kids in the metroplex. Though our sweet girl slept through most of our trip, we had an amazing day walking around enjoying the animals. One of the best aspects of living in Dallas is the amazing weather in Spring and Fall, so February and March are actually some of the best times to visit the zoo. The crowds were low, but the weather was gorgeous and the animals were very active. Here are a few of my favorite tips for visiting the Dallas Zoo:

Before You Arrive

Save money by packing a cooler. Bring your own snacks and drinks (glass and alcoholic beverages are not permitted) – you can even pack a lunch to save a bit of money. There are some beautiful shaded areas to rest and have a snack. My favorites are ‘Base Camp’ in the Giants of the Savannah, where there is a shaded porch overlooking the elephant enclosure, and an area with picnic tables between the Texas Cats and Wings of Wonder exhibits. If you’d like to eat at one of the zoo’s most unique dining experiences, the Serengeti Grill in the Giants of the Savanna has floor to ceiling windows that allow you to watch the lions while you eat.

Ride the DART to add an adventure. The DART arrives at the gate of the Dallas Zoo and you save money on parking. If you show your ticket stubs on Monday or Tuesday, you save $2 on your zoo admission! It’s a fun addition to any day at the zoo.

Bring a swimsuit. Maybe not for the whole family, but at least for the littlest members! The children’s zoo is very well developed and it sure to captivate children of all ages. This area includes barn animals, underground creatures (featured in a room you have to crawl through!), and a koi pond. Your child’s favorite part will undoubtedly be the water feature. Kids can splash around and let off steam from a long day walking around the zoo, but if you want to stop meltdowns on the way home, it’s best to bring a swimsuit or at least a change of clothes.

When You Arrive

Plan to feed the giraffes. We have been to half a dozen zoos around the country. One of the most unique things about the Photo Jan 31, 12 24 39 PMDallas Zoo (and the exhibit that makes this zoo my favorite) is the giraffes. It only costs $5 to have a unique experience that will not soon be forgotten. For $5, you receive a giant head of lettuce (plenty for the family to share) and you are able to feed and pet the giraffes. They are not shy – they will come right up to the railings and stick their giant tongues out waiting for some food. The keeper will tell you how to feed them and show you how they like to be touched, then get your camera ready! Without traveling to Africa, you will likely never be this close to these beautiful, interesting creatures again.


Don’t miss the reptile house.
Tucked back in the corner of zoo is a building that could easily be looked over. If you pass by this building, you will be missing giant snakes, kimono dragons, and tiny poison dart frogs. The real treat, though, is behind closed doors. As you enter the reptile house, turn right immediately and walk through the door to see the most intriguing animal at the zoo – the albino alligator!

Check trainer encounter times. I love watching the trainers interact with their animals. They are so knowledgeable and able to share really interesting facts. You always get a better view of the animals and you can learn about each of the animals individually. We have seen the lion trainer and the elephant trainer and both were excellent – the last time we went to the zoo, we even heard an elephant trumpet!

What did I miss? Comment below with your favorite part of the Dallas Zoo?

A Mom's Guide to The Dallas Zoo | The Dallas Mom

Dallas Halloween Survival Guide 2016

Dallas Halloween Survival Guide 2016 – Five Ways to Make Halloween with Kids a BreezeDallas Halloween Survival Guide - The Dallas Mom

When the stores start to stock up on giant bags of candy, costumes in every shape and size, and spooky decorations, you know it’s time to start thinking about Halloween! It still feels like summer in Dallas, so if you’re not careful, Halloween can be a ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’ holiday.

Of course your kiddos won’t let you completely forget about Halloween – they might have already been planning their costumes with their friends for weeks – but no one gives mom a list to make the most out of Halloween in Dallas. Thankfully we’ve got you covered with the best local tips, resources, and celebrations to kill it this Halloween. (Figuratively, of course)


Shop Smart for Dallas Halloween

Don’t get caught without a costume at the last minute! If you’re planning to buy your costumes, check out local consignment sales and children’s consignment shops to get a great deal on a slightly used costume. The catch with shopping consignment is that it’s best to shop early for the best selection. Here are a few consignment shops:

Another great option for used costumes is local Facebook ‘garage sale’ groups. You can find these groups by searching on Facebook for “(Your Community) Garage Sale” or “Buy/Sell/Trade (Your Community)”.


Visit a DFW Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patches around DFW are often open from the beginning of October through Halloween, so they are the perfect way to get a little more use out of your Halloween costume and have Fall fun throughout the month. You can get some adorable pumpkin pictures (without the stress of trick-or-treating) and pick out a pumpkin to carve at home. Here are some of the best Pumpkin Patches throughout Dallas/Fort Worth and in the surrounding areas:


Find a Trick or Treat Alternative

City squares, businesses, and churches throughout the metroplex host Fall Festivals and events where kids can get their face painted, play carnival games, jump in bounce houses, and of course get lots of candy. Though they are only one day, these festivals are typically free or very low-cost. They are a great alternative to trick-or-treating if your little ones are too young to stay out late at night (or if your neighborhood isn’t very generous!). Check the websites of churches or towns near you, or you can check out one of these Fall Festivals:


Check Out Museums, Zoos and More

From ‘Boo at the Zoo’ to a Star Wars themed night, your favorite Dallas/Fort Worth children’s activities are hosting fun activities for little ones. Here are a couple of the best options to check out this Fall:


Something for the Older Crowd

If your teenagers are looking for something a little less Charlie Brown and a little more Walking Dead, they will want to check out Fright Fest at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. While the park is more family-friendly during the day, after the sun goes down you’ll see ghouls, goblins, and zombies roaming along the midways. They also have Haunted Houses and Scarezones throughout the park. Fright Fest runs September 24-October 31.


Dallas Halloween Survival Guide - The Dallas Mom

Did I miss your favorite Dallas Halloween survival trick? Share the tips, tricks, and local events that help you survive Halloween in Dallas with kids in the comments below!

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Disney’s The Lion King at Dallas Summer Musicals

Thank you to Dallas Summer Musicals for having us out for a wild night.

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Gerald Ramsey as “Mufasa” in THE LION KING North American Tour.
©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer.

Disney’s The Lion King has returned to Dallas Summer Musicals with a bang – or maybe I should say a “Roar!”

The Lion King Dallas Summer Musicals - The Dallas Mom Header

You can see The Lion King at the Music Hall at Fair Park from June 13 through July 7. The national touring group includes Mark Campbell as “Scar,” Gerald Ramsey as “Mufasa,” Mukelisiwe Goba as “Rafiki,” Nick Cordileone as “Timon,” Greg Jackson as “Zazu,” Ben Lipitz as “Pumbaa,” Jared Dixson as “Simba,” Nia Holloway as “Nala,” Keith Bennett as “Banzai,” Martina Sykes as “Shenzi” and Robbie Swift as “Ed.”

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Gerald Caesar as “Simba” and company in THE LION KING North American Tour.
©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer.

Disney’s The Lion King US North American Tour, Rafiki Tour opening night October 26 2017 at the Landmark Theatre, Syracuse cast: Gerald Caesar (Simba), Nia Holloway (Nala), Gerald Ramsey (Mufasa), Mark Campbell (Scar), Buyi Zama (Rafiki), Greg Jackson (Zazu), Nick Cordileone (Timon), Ben Lipitz (Pumbaa), Keith Bennett (Banzai), Martina Sykes (Shenzi), Robbie Swift (Ed)

The North American touring productions of The Lion King have been seen by more than 19 million theatergoers. Having already played more than 70 cities across North America, The Lion King now proudly makes its return engagement to the Music Hall at Fair Park.

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My daughter and I went to see the show and we were blown away. Mukelisiwe Goba as “Rafiki” was absolutely incredible – her voice is outstanding and her comedic timing is impeccable. My four year old couldn’t stop talking about her the entire car ride home.

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Mukelisiwe Goba as “Rafiki” in THE LION KING North American Tour.
©Disney. Photo by Matthew Murphy

We also loved Mark Campbell as “Scar” – he was the perfect villain. Someone you loved to hate. His scenes with the hyenas were among our favorites.

Know Before You Go:

Arrive Early

Traffic in Dallas can be unpredictable, so plan to arrive well before show time to allow for traffic and parking. They also close the doors right at show time and if you’re not in the theater, you’ll have to wait until after the opening number. (And let me just tell you, you do NOT want to miss the opening number! It is breathtaking.)

Experience the Savannah

Of course, before the show you’ll want to look through the merchandise and maybe grab a bite to eat, but for this production of The Lion King, Dallas Summer Musicals is offering a brand new experience called The Savannah.

The DSM Savannah is a chance to take it easy before the show in an air conditioned tent featuring food trucks with snacks for sale, face painting, and crafts for the kids.

 

 

There are even dedicated restroom facilities. Plus, each person who has a ticket to The Savannah gets a free snow cone from Kona Ice.

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We loved beating the traffic and avoiding the crowd while chilling out in a little oasis just outside the venue.

Grab a Booster

If you have a little one who’s not quite tall enough to see, Music Hall at Fair Park has you covered. It costs $3 to rent a booster seat for the show. The sit right down in the seat and elevate the child to the height of the arm rest. They are super plush and very comfortable – I know they made a huge difference in my daughter’s show experience.

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We had a blast during our trip to Fair Park – it was actually my little one’s first live musical and I couldn’t have picked a better show. She has been singing and dancing her way around the house. I’ve been called into the living room to watch musicals every day and I love it.

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If you want to inspire a passion for the arts in your family, I would wholeheartedly recommend taking them to see Dallas Summer Musical’s production of The Lion King at the Music Hall in Fair Park. It will be the highlight of your summer!

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“Lionesses Dance” in THE LION KING North American Tour.
©Disney. Photo Credit: Deen van Meer.

Find more information and get tickets here:

Dallas Summer Musicals presents: Disney’s The Lion King

Tickets are currently on sale at DallasSummerMusicals.org or by calling Ticketmaster at (866) 870-2717. They can also be purchased in person at the Music Hall at Fair Park Box Office Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Orders for groups of ten (10) or more may be placed by calling (214) 426-4768 or emailing Groups@DallasSummerMusicals.org. VIP Ticket Packages, which include a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.

S4_Nia_Holloway_as_Nala,_Buyi_Zama_as_Rafiki_and_The_Lionesses_in_THE_LION_KING_North_American_Tour_©_Disney._Photo_by_Deen_van_Meer._

Nia Holloway as “Nala” Buyi Zama as “Rafiki” and “The Lionesses”
in THE LION KING North American Tour. ©Disney. Photo Credit: Deen van Meer

Following The Lion King, DSM‘s 2017-18 season will continue with the spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies: The Phantom Returns, July 24-August 5, 2018; and closing the season will be the hilarious new musical School of Rock, based on the hit film, August 15-26, 2018.

DSM will continue to bring the best of Broadway to North Texas in the 2018-19 season with shows like Hamilton, Disney’s Aladdin, Hello, Dolly!, Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of The Phantom of the Opera, Anastasia, Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof and season add-ons Elf and The Book of Mormon.

Goldfish Swim School – Carrollton, TX – What Makes Them Different?

In only three months, my 5-year-old daughter has gone from being afraid to blow bubbles in the bathtub to swimming under water by herself. Goldfish Swim School has completely changed the way she acts in the water and I just have to share!

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - DFW Swimming Lessons - The Dallas Mom

I know how important it is to teach my kids safety in and around the water. I have always wanted them to learn to swim both for fun and for their own protection. When Goldfish Swim School reached out to partner with me to showcase their first school in the DFW area, I was so excited. And they have definitely exceeded my expectations.

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

Every staff member, from the swim instructors to the ladies working the front desk, have been kind and helpful each week. If you miss a lesson and need to make it up, they are happy to help. If you have a question about your child’s progress, they will take a moment to chat with you about what you can work on at home.

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

When you first start swimming lessons, your child will be evaluated to see which class they should join. They’ll also give you a checklist of skills to work on any time you are in the water – things like getting comfortable wearing goggles under water.

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

Then you’ll come in for a 30-minute class each week in their heated 90-degree pool. (If you’ve ever tried to do swimming lessons in a cold pool, you KNOW what a big difference that makes!).

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

Right now they offer classes Tuesday and Thursday morning and evening and throughout the day on the weekends. They offer different classes at each time slot so even if you have two kids you are trying to coordinate, they will have classes that fit your schedule.

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

We have experienced both the mommy-and-me classes for the littlest swimmers and the traditional classes with a few students paired with a teacher. Both formats have been wonderful and it’s obvious the teachers are highly trained to work with kids in the water.

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

In three months, my daughter (age five) has learned to hold her breath under water, swim a short distance under water, and float on her back just to name a few skills. My son (age 2.5) know that he needs to turn back towards the wall once he comes in the water, he has learned how to crawl along the wall, and he has overcome his fear of having water on his head.

These may seem like small steps, but they are huge strides for my kids. Each week they are so excited to show me what they’ve learned during the last five minutes of class (during “parent showcase” time).

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

Aside from the perfectly heated pool and the phenomenal instructors who get real results, they have amenities that make it easy to go to swimming lessons. When’s the last time you thought it was easy to go to swimming lessons!?

When you come in, they have cubbies for all your gear and distractions for siblings who aren’t in lessons like books, coloring, TV, and even a chalk wall. There is also plenty of room for parent observation.

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

They also have showers with tear-free soap for rinsing off after lessons, changing rooms that include a baby seat (as well as a diaper changing station for babies), and family bathrooms to make changing easy.

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

Then they have a few features that are just above and beyond what you would expect purely to make a parent’s life easier. They have swimsuit drying stations (so you don’t have to carry a dripping wet swimsuit home in your bag) and a hair drying station with a bench that looks like a surfboard.

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

The biggest reason we love Goldfish is because when we had tried swimming lessons in the past, there were tears and fits every single time we drove to lessons.

When we walk into Goldfish with their tropical decor, friendly staff, fun lessons, and extras to make my life easier, there are only smiles. We walk out and my kiddos are asking when they can come to swimming lessons again. That’s what I call a mom win!

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - The Dallas Mom

Find out more about Goldfish Swim School by visiting their website and following them on Instagram.

Goldfish Swim School

Goldfish Swim School Carrollton, TX - DFW Swimming Lessons - The Dallas Mom

Popular Kid-Friendly Neighborhoods in Dallas

Looking for your next home? Check out these Popular Kid-Friendly Neighborhoods in Dallas. This is a guest post by Zillow author, Miriam Bornstein. Thanks for sharing your expertise with The Dallas Mom readers!Popular Kid-Friendly Neighborhoods in Dallas | The Dallas Mom

By Miriam Bornstein

Purchasing a home is no easy feat. Finding the right neighborhood for your kids adds even more pressure into the mix. School districts, recreational amenities and home values are all important factors to consider when determining whether a neighborhood is great for children.

Here are three popular kid-friendly neighborhoods in Dallas.

1. Lake Highlands

Lake Highlands is equipped for families looking for spacious lots and access to recreational amenities. With a median home value of $93,400, Lake Highlands offers families the perfect balance between suburban and city living. One of the biggest draws to this neighborhood is its close proximity to downtown and surrounding northern cities, such as Plano, McKinney and Frisco. This tight-knit community is known to have top -rated school districts, making Lake Highlands quite attractive for families with young children. Last year, home values rose by 33.6 percent, and are expected to rise by another 8.2 percent.

2. M Streets

The M Streets is a popular neighborhood due to its historic charm and central location to surrounding attractions. Hop on the McKinney Avenue Trolley for an enjoyable tour of downtown Dallas neighborhoods or drive to Southern Methodist University for an afternoon at the Meadows Museum of Art or the Barr Outdoor Pool. Other popular amenities located within a 15-minute drive of the M Streets include The Dallas Zoo, the states’ largest zoological park and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, just 15 minutes south. Residents looking to purchase a home in the M Streets can expect a median home value of $333,900, with home values predicted to rise another 7.3 percent in 2016.

3. Lakewood (North East Dallas)

Located in Northeast Dallas, Lakewood is known for its lakeside living nestled between wooded hills and an abundance of outdoor amenities. White Rock Lake is a favorite park among residents, popular for family picnics, hiking, fishing, music festivals and seasonal events. The arboretum is another draw, offering interactive exhibits at the Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden and an annual autumn festival, featuring life-sized fairytale houses made from pumpkins. Beyond Lakewood’s scenic surroundings, this neighborhood offers spectacular architecture, known to flaunt English Tudor and Colonial Revival style homes. With a median home value of $243,500, residents looking to buy a home in Lakewood can expect prices to rise by 6.7 percent within the year.

While Lakewood, Lake Highlands and the M Streets are three popular kid-friendly neighborhoods to consider, Dallas-bound families should review the available homes or rentals in the community that best fits their needs.

Top 5 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales (+ $25 Giveaway!)

Top 5 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales - Divine Consign | The Dallas Mom

There’s no way around it – kids are expensive! You buy tons of furniture, clothes, gear, and toys that you only need for a few months then you have to start over.

One way I have found to save money, while not sacrificing quality, is shopping a consignment sales. These huge sales generally happen twice a year and are filled with gently used children’s clothes, toys, games, books, equipment, and more! Even better – everything is marked 50%-90% off retail value and you can sell your items back after your kids have outgrown them.

My favorite consignment sale, Divine Consign, happens twice a year in Grapevine and Plano. It is run by two moms who know the importance of quality, so they have an army of volunteers meticulously inspect each item of clothing and piece of equipment so that only the best items end up on the show floor.

Top 5 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales - Divine Consign | The Dallas Mom
Whether it’s your first time shopping at a consignment sale or you are a seasoned veteran, here are my Top 5 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales:

1. Come Prepared

If you walk into a consignment sale without a plan, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of items. The first year I shopped, I had no idea they sold shoes and I really regretted it when I paid full price later in the season! Before each sale, I take stock of what I have for my daughter for the next season and figure out what else I will need. I have found this Consignment Sale Shopping List to be a really useful tool in being prepared.

Tip: Make sure you know your kids shoe sizes by tracing their foot on a sheet of paper, cut it out, and bring the cut-out with you to the sale!

2. Shop for Gifts

Don’t forget to shop for things like birthdays and Christmas presents! You can save a ton of money on toys, games, books, movies, and more! I once found a $100 Lego set for $20 and a $60 Play Table for $5. You will often find popular authors like Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry, and Sandra Boynton in the children’s books section. At the Spring sales, you will find a large selection of bikes and outdoor toys that make fabulous birthday presents.

Top 5 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales - Divine Consign | The Dallas Mom

3. Don’t Forget Furniture

In the first three years of a child’s life, they will have gone through four sleeping arrangements (or more!). They might start in a bassinet or co-sleeper, but they quickly move to a crib then transition to a toddler bed and finally into a “big kid” bed. You can save money (and space) by purchasing furniture at a consignment sale then selling it at a consignment sale once they grow out of it. I bought a Pack n’ Play at my first sale that I still use two years later!

4. Bring a Basket

If you plan to really shop, it’s a great idea to bring a basket. You will see moms with laundry baskets with a belt looped through the handle for easy pulling, rolling carts that everyone in my neck of the woods calls ‘Canton carts’, or their stroller (sans baby) for piling up their goodies. They will have giant shopping bags available at the door, but seasoned shoppers know to bring their own basket.Top 5 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales - Divine Consign | The Dallas Mom

5. Come Early (and often!)

There are several ways you can shop before the general public at a consignment sale. At Divine Consign, they have a “pre-sale” day specifically set aside for volunteers, consigners, and first time moms. If you register to volunteer or choose to consign your items, you will receive a wristband that will let you into the pre-sale at a designated time. Arrive early for your time slot to get a prime place in line. Some moms will show up an hour in advance, but arriving a half-hour before your shopping time should get you a good place in line. You’ll also want to be sure to come back for the half-price and 75% off sales, where a large number of items are discounted even further.

Top 5 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales - Divine Consign | The Dallas Mom

Divine Consign

My favorite consignment sale is just up the road in North Dallas! With two sales each season in Grapevine and Plano, there are tons of great deals to be found. 

Grapevine

Divine Consign in Grapevine will be open to the public February 21-22, but you can shop early by volunteering, consigning, or registering as a first time mom. Click over to see the full schedule and get more information here. It is located at the Grapevine Convention Center, which is at 1209 S. Main St. in Grapevine, TX.

Plano

Divine Consign in Plano is the largest and longest running consignment sale in the Plano area with over 80,000 gently used children’s and maternity items covering 46,500 sq. feet. Divine Consign Plano is open to the public Sunday, February 28 – Tuesday, March 1, but don’t forget to shop early by registering as a consigner, volunteer, or first time mom. You can see the full schedule and more information on their website. Divine Consign Plano is held at the Plano Centre, which is located at 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano, TX.

And one lucky The Dallas Mom reader will win a $25 Gift Card to Divine Consign. Enter here:

$25 Gift Card to Divine Consign
https://js.gleam.io/e.js

Top 5 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales - Divine Consign | The Dallas Mom

Follow Divine Consign

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Divine Consign, but all opinions expressed are the writer’s. I love this sale and I am so excited to share it with you! For questions about sponsorship or to have your product featured on The Dallas Mom, email Megan at megan@thedallasmom.com. Click here for more information. 

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An Evening of Wonder at Medieval Times

medieval-times-the-dallas-mom

Huzzah and welcome to Medieval Times!

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

 

Prepare to be transported to another time of chivalry and honor inside the castle at Medieval Times.

Your whole family will love spending the evening with princesses and knights. Whether it’s for a special event or an evening out, it’s the perfect way to lose yourself in the magic of the castle. We watched a little boy being knighted for his 8th birthday and chatted with a falcon trainer.

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

My kids were talking about this night for weeks. We have been studying Medieval Times as a family, reading through some Magic Treehouse books and the (fabulous) book A Medieval Feast. So my kids were even more excited when stepped through the doors and they got to put on their black and white crowns.

What to Expect at Medieval Times

Doors open 75 minutes before show time and your seats are assigned first-come, first-served.

When you enter the castle, you’ll get crowns in your knight’s color. You’ll have the opportunity to take pictures with a knight or a princess.

Then you walk into the lobby, where you can purchase a souvenir, belly up to the bar, or walk around and take in the sights. Don’t miss seeing the horses up close – they are truly beautiful.

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

About 20 minutes before showtime, you will be escorted into the arena by color. Once inside the area, you find your seat and your server arrives to give you some instructions for the evening.

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

Then you’ll enjoy your Medieval feast! But parents might want to note – there was no silverware in the Middle Ages, so there’s no silverware here. They also serve Water, Tea, or Pepsi, so plan ahead if you need something else for the littlest Lords and Ladies.

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

This was a brand new show we had never seen before and it was really wonderful. I don’t want to spoil too much, but there was action, intrigue, and excitement – totally captivating!

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

Our family loved this evening of entertainment and fun and we can’t wait to visit Medieval Times Dallas again!

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

Experience the New Show

Is your house filled with little Lords and Ladies of the royal court? Do they like to eat with their hands at the dinner table? Medieval Times is the perfect place to take your family back to the Middle Ages for an incredible night of epic battles and delicious food.

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

Tickets: 40% OFF Adults / 20% OFF Kids

For the first time in Medieval Times’ 35-year history, a Queen has taken the throne. Her Majesty Dona Maria Isabella presides over a tournament of knights who gather in celebration to test their skill against one another in a series of games, jousting, and combat.

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

The new story brings a series of changes to the show including new costumes, custom-designed and handmade armor, fight scenes, and musical score composed by Dr. Daniel May, who directed and recorded the composition in Kiev with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. Be among the first to experience the debut of our new show.

Medieval Times Winter - The Dallas Mom

Go to https://bit.ly/2RGt0f5 and enter PROMO code RF4020 at checkout.

Medieval Times - The Dallas Mom

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Christmas at the Hilton Anatole

Christmas at the North Texas Hilton Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

The Hilton Anatole is one of Dallas’ best conference hotels, but you might be surprised to know that it is ideal for a Holiday Staycation with the whole family. In the past, they have thrown a huge Christmas bash called Sparkle! complete with bounce houses and an ice skating rink. With construction underway for their upscale, resort-style pool complex (opening in summer 2016) well underway, the festivities were a bit different this year, but they were absolutely perfect for our family.

Christmas at the North Texas Hilton Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

Christmas at the Hilton Anatole might just be your new favorite Christmas experience in Dallas. We loved that it checked everything off our Christmas list and it was right in our backyard! The best part was getting away from the hustle and bustle for the whole evening and spending time with our little family of three right before Christmas.

When you check in to the Hilton Anatole, you will be greeted by a giant Christmas tree right in the lobby.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

Check-in was fast (which is helpful when you have a two-year-old who keeps asking to “see me Santa” every 30 seconds) and the staff was incredibly helpful arranging for a portable crib to be delivered to our room.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

We didn’t even have time to see our room before our weekend got started with a Winter Wonderland Marionette show. In a tucked-away theater situated beneath the tower lobby, Le Theatre De Marionette puts on a show that reminds me of a production you would see in a little theater somewhere across Europe.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

The puppets are intricately hand-carved in a wood shop in Denton, TX. I don’t want to ruin any of the surprise, but I will say the show kept my toddler’s attention and she saw several of her favorite characters!

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

After the marionette show, we went up to our room to take a nap. We were impressed at this well-appointed room and it was so fun to look out and see the city of Dallas!

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

Then we went down for dinner at the Media Bar + Grill, which was absolutely delicious, and enjoyed walking around the hotel looking at all the Christmas decorations.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas MomChristmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas MomChristmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

We watched a Christmas movie in the Batik before swimming in the resort pool for a few minutes and headed to bed.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas MomOur toddler could hardly wait to get started the next morning. As soon as she was dressed, she was at our hotel door saying “Santa!” We got on the glass elevator to see that the hotel was starting to wake up for Breakfast with Santa.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

Breakfast with Santa was simply perfect. The breakfast buffet was full of eggs, bacon, a pancake and oatmeal bar, and more.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

Just as we were finishing breakfast, Happy the Elf announced that Santa was on his way! Santa, Mrs. Clause, and Happy the Elf visited each table. They spent several minutes talking and interacting with our daughter before moving on to Story Time with Santa.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas MomChristmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas MomChristmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

When Santa finished his story, they opened the slides we had heard about all morning (“Mama, slide please?”) and we started a Christmas Scavenger Hunt that included decorating gingerbread cookies, face painting, ornaments, Hot Chocolate, and more.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas MomChristmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas MomChristmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

After the scavenger hunt, it was time for us to head back to reality, but not before getting a few pictures with the big man, himself!

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

We loved our stay at the Hilton Anatole – it is definitely at the top of our “Must See” list of things to do in Dallas for Christmas.

Christmas at the Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

Have you been to Christmas at the Anatole? What was your family’s favorite part? I can’t wait to see what the Hilton Anatole has planned for next Christmas!

Christmas at the North Texas Hilton Anatole - Things to do in Dallas/Fort Worth for Christmas - The Dallas Mom

Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay and tickets for the purposes of providing this review. Click here for more information.

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Texas Christkindl Market: German Christmas Celebration in Arlington, TX

Authentic German Christmas at the Texas Christkindl Market. This post is in partnership with the Arlington CVB who provided complimentary experiences to facilitate this review. Of course, I wouldn’t share anything I didn’t love and all opinions expressed are my own. #TXChristkindlGerman Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom

My family and I had the opportunity to visit the Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, TX this past weekend. If you are looking for a unique Christmas experience without traveling outside of DFW, this is a must-see event this holiday season.

German Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom

Located in Arlington right outside of Globe Life Park, this open air German Marketplace is brimming with holiday cheer.

German Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom

When you arrive, you’ll notice dozens of vendors selling all kinds of food, clothing, and goods. Some of these people are selling items actually made in Germany, like the German Christmas Shop selling intricate pieces created by artisans at their small woodworking shop in Niederfrohna, Germany.

German Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom

They had authentic German food like Spaetzle (German mac n’ cheese) and Strudel.

German Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom

If you’ve had a hankering since the State Fair has ended, they even had Fletcher’s Corny Dogs!

German Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom

One of our favorite parts of the morning was the live band. They were playing updated versions of classic Christmas songs, which made the whole event feel alive. Of course, we have a little dancer who couldn’t help but show off a bit!

German Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom

We also loved the Kinder Market, where you could meet St. Nick at the Santa Haus, build a gingerbread house, ride a carousel, and throw snow at Santa’s Snow Playground.

German Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom German Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas MomGerman Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom

Overall, we just loved spending a Saturday together enjoying ourselves and making a few memories. We will definitely be back next year for this one-of-a-kind event!

German Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, Texas - Things to Do in Dallas for Families - The Dallas Mom

Texas Christkindl Marketplace – #TXChristkindl

When

Nov. 27 – Dec. 23, 2015
Sunday-Friday: Noon – 9 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 10 pm

Where

Adjacent to Globe Life Park in Arlington, Road to Six Flags & Nolan Ryan Expressway

Cost

FREE admission and parking (there is a cost for activities and food)

Find More Information

For more information including events, times, and vendors, visit the Texas Christkindl event on their website or on Facebook.

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