Photo courtesy of Arlington Parks & Recreation.

Hooray! It’s spring break time across North Texas. For families who are NOT jetting off to ski the slopes or heading to the beach, there’s still plenty of fun to be had each day in Dallas-Fort Worth. We once called this "staying home." Now it's a "staycation!"

Most of the local museums, zoos, parks, and other kid-friendly attractions are offering special programs and special hours on this special week. You know them, you love them, you want even more to do.

We've rounded up 10 hot, fresh, new ideas to make spring break 2023 the best one yet - so fun and cool and exciting that your family's DFW staycation will make you forget all about your FOMO over your best friend's beachfront VRBO in Destin.

All of the attractions here are new since last year's spring break, or are here now or arriving for a limited time. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Climb and zip through the trees at a new adventure park
The new, high-flying Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park opened March 3 at Arlington's River Legacy Park East. The city’s parks and recreation department teamed up with Go Ape for a second Dallas-Fort Worth location after the first, smash-hit park in Plano. The new Arlington adventure park includes two ropes-adventure courses: the three-hour Treetop Adventure ($59.95-$64.95) and the one-hour Treetop Journey ($39.95). There's an axe-throwing range, too. More information and tickets are here.

Ride an epic new water slide ...
Epic Waters, Grand Prairie's popular indoor waterpark, just introduced a hair-raising new, seven-story slide called Locura. (Spanish for "craziness.") Riders climb to the top of a 70-foot tower, step inside a chamber, then wait for the door to close and the floor to drop, launching them down, down, down into a 40-foot freefall. Then they race through a horizontal figure-eight loop at 35 miles per hour. The whole slide is more than 387 feet long and exerts a force of 3.5 G's. Wheeeee! The park is open, rain or shine, and admission starts at $34. Special spring break hours, more information, and tickets are here.

...Or ride an epic new roller coaster
Adrenaline junkies, get in line and prepare to get drenched: The long-awaited newAquaman: Power Wavewater coaster is officially opening at Six Flags Over Texas on March 11. The revolutionary new roller coaster is touted as the first of its kind in North America. It's a multi-launch "water coaster" that propels riders in two 20-passenger boats back and forth along a 2,000-foot track and up two 150-foot towers. Then, riders are held, face down, at 90 degrees before being thrust 63 miles per hour straight down. Then, splash! The ride comes to a thrilling end with a plunge into a giant water wave. It's opening in conjunction with Six Flags' "Scream Break" evening events. Tickets for Scream Break can be purchased separately or added to any single-day ticket or pass for $39.99 per person; find them at sixflags.com.

View U.S. history up close
The just-opened exhibition "Freedom Matters"at the George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU is displaying rare versions of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, Magna Carta, Emancipation Proclamation, and more historically significant American documents. These documents were used to inform citizens in an era before mass media and social media - yes, kids, there was life before screens. Beyond just displaying documents and artifacts, the museum takes guests on "an interactive journey through the experience of freedom itself, including where freedom comes from, what it means, the characteristics of free societies, and the role of the individual in protecting and spreading freedom around the world," they describe. It's open to all ages and included in the price of admission to the museum; pricing structure and tickets are here.

See a movie high in the sky
This isn't grandma and grandpa's drive-in theater, but it's the same fun idea. Rooftop Cinema Club, which opened last fall on the rooftop terrace of a downtown Fort Worth hotel, has just come back from winter break. Spring break-week screenings include new movies and classics of all ratings, for all ages: Top Gun: Maverick (March 10), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (March 12), The Notebook (March 15), Dirty Dancing (March 17), Turning Red (March 18), Selena (March 18), La La Land (March 18), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (March 19), and more. Tickets ($16.50–$26.50) are now on sale at rooftopcinemaclub.com/downtown-ft-worth. For tips and things to know before you go, check out this story.

Step right up to the circus
The Garden Bros. Nuclear Circus is coming to town, featuring special effects, concert-style lighting, the Human Cannonball, Wheel of Death, motorcycles in the Sphere of Fear, Human Slingshot, comedy, girls hanging by their hair, the Olate Performing Dogs, Cossack Riders, and more. Guests can come early and meet the circus stars, get their faces painted, ride the Monster Slide or play on a moon bounce, eat snacks, and more. The circus will be at Fair Park Dallas, March 9-March 19. Tickets are $15-$60, available here.

Go ghost hunting
Dallas-Fort Worth is (allegedly) full of things that go bump in the night, and no place is creepier when the sun goes down than the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. A new national "ghost adventure" company has launched a Cowtown Ghosts tour in the Stockyards that they tout as kid friendly (parents can decide after reading the description, of course). Stops on the one-hour walking tour include a couple of haunted hotels, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, and more. The tour focuses on the stories behind the hauntings. Tickets are $25 per person and there’s a two-person minimum. There's also an option to add a 30-minute bonus tour of four additional stops for $6 per person. The same company conducts ghost tours of downtown Dallas, too; information here.

Adventure under the sea at a mermaid party
Save the date for this fin-tastic shell-abration. On Saturday, March 18, the Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort and Spa in Frisco will host a Mermaid Party for all ages. Beginning at 4:30 pm, kids (who are encouraged to wear their favorite princess/prince costumes) can interact with a real-life "Little Mermaid." Jewelry maker Greta Weller will be on hand to help them make some treasures of their own. Then, the family can sit down to dinner and a showing of the Disney movie The Little Mermaid on the resort’s 10-foot jumbo screen. (Parents, don't worry, adult bevs will be available for purchase.) The party is open to all ages, and you do not need to stay at the hotel to attend, but there is a discount. Tickets are $50 per person; $30 for guests with room reservations booked directly through the resort website.

Play in a bigger-better park for free
Last spring break, parts of Dallas' Klyde Warren Park were under construction. Patience has been rewarded with a newly expanded Sheila and Jody Grant Children’s Park. There's now an additional 6,000 square feet of play space, featuring a 35-foot climbing tower and slide, a kid-sized climbing wall, interactive water feature, shaded pavilion, renovated restrooms, and more. Klyde Warren Park has a full slate of free activities throughout spring break week, including a concert called “A Celebration of Latin America” presented by Cliburn KidsLive. It'll explore instruments, dances, and rhythms and language of the region. Come back March 15 for the popular "alive animal" experience featuring snakes, a tarantula, a beared dragon, and anopossum. Find out more on the park's website.

Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park
Photo courtesy of Arlington Parks & Recreation.
The Treetop Adventure and Treetop Journey courses include several ziplines throughout the park.

Explore like a Smithsonian scientist
It comes at the tail end of spring break for most kids, but the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will open a new exhibition called “Life in One Cubic Foot" on March 18. The exhibit follows the research of Smithsonian scientists and photographer David Liittschwager as they uncover what a cubic foot of land or water — called a "biocube" — reveals about the diversity of life on the planet, the museum describes. The showcase comes from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. In addition to exploring biocubes from environments around the world, visitors will get to make their own to take home and study. Find out more about the upcoming exhibit, including tickets, here.

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'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

That is one Effin Egg breakfast sandwich restaurant opening in Fort Worth

A fresh new breakfast-and-brunch spot with a sassy name is opening near Fort Worth's Medical District: Called Effin Egg, it's a small chain founded in Florida, and will open on a buzzy restaurant strip at 1305 W. Magnolia Ave., in what was previously a location of Great Harvest Bread Co.

Effin was founded by Jeff Martin, who also founded Smallcakes Cupcakery, the hugely successful cupcake chain with more than 200 locations across the U.S.

His idea with Effin Egg was to create a fast-casual concept that specialized in breakfast sandwiches. There are locations in Georgia, New York, and New Jersey; Fort Worth will be the fifth.

"Effin Egg is for the person on the go that needs that morning pick me up and a great cup of coffee," Martin says in a statement. "It’s for the person that partied way too hard and needs an amazing breakfast sandwich or cheeseburger at noon; it’s for the everyday person wanting quality food on the go."

The menu features gourmet breakfast sandwiches, breakfast tacos, burritos, and breakfast bowls. The restaurants are generally on the small side, with the majority of business being take-out.

The signature is the breakfast sandwich with an over-medium egg on a brioche bun, in various combinations:

  • The OG, with bacon, egg, cheddar, and Mexican sauce
  • Sausage, egg, & cheese
  • Turkey bacon, egg, cheddar, and chipotle ketchup

They also do biscuit sandwiches; burgers using Angus beef; a Beyond burger with spicy guacamole; grilled cheese; and a bagel with avocado spread.

Tacos contain scrambled eggs combined with options such as chorizo; bacon & hash browns; and brisket tacos with avocado crema.

There are also pancakes, waffles, and burritos with options such as brisket and vegan chorizo.

Effin is coming to Fort Worth thanks to husband-and-wife Nick and Ana Valdez, who are fulfilling a dream to have their own restaurant. They've been diligently working on the space, and hope to be open within the next two weeks.

Working with a franchise operation has helped them cover the daunting checklist of opening one's first place, but Valdez says they also liked the fact that the food is cooked to order, and everything's prepared fresh daily.

"And the name does catch your attention," he says.

Nick is a former logistics professional, and Ana is a nurse — which helped steer them towards the Medical District.

"We love the idea of being here to make sure our medical professionals are fed and ready to go," Nick says. "I love the hustle and bustle, the energy in the morning, where you can help turn people's day around. If you have a good breakfast, it can pave the way for the rest of the day."

WBAP's Hal Jay shares powerful story of life-saving transplant with Tarrant Heart Ball

The gift of time

What: 2023 Tarrant County Heart Ball

Where: The Worthington Renaissance Hotel

The 411: On January 10, 2023 popular WBAP morning radio host Hal Jay collapsed from an irregular heart rhythm. On February 3, he underwent a heart transplant. By April 4, he was back on the air, and on April 22, he was sharing his story in person as keynote speaker for the American Heart Association's Heart Ball.

In his brief but powerful remarks, Jay thanked his wife, Ann Harbuck, his family, and medical providers, and God for saving his life. In keeping with the gala's theme, "The Gift of Time" Jay said he had a new-found appreciation for "giving your heart and body time," emphasizing, "I will never NOT exercise again."

The 2023 gala - chaired by Stephanie and Michael Klein - brought together hundreds of Heart Association supporters, philanthropists, and medical personnel. They were seated alongside heart disease survivors and their families, who shared their harrowing stories to inspire fellow guests.

The evening's proceedings were led by mistress of ceremonies, CBS News anchor Nicole Baker, under the guidance of AHA executive director Corrie Harris.

After a cocktail reception and multicourse (heart-healthy) meal of mixed greens salad, pan-seared jerk chicken, and berry tart and chocolate mousse, guests had the opportunity to give through an "Open Your Heart" appeal.

Those holding out with bigger bucks bid fast and furiously in a live auction. Up for grabs were trips to Broken Bow and Big Sky; packages for the Charles Schwab Challenge and Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo; Duke basketball tickets; Ginger Walker Art; and a De Boulle necklace.

Those who wanted to continue the celebratory evening took to the dance floor while the Mitchell Ferguson Band entertained.

In all, the night raised $300,000 to further the American Heart Association's work in Tarrant County.

Who: Aimee Plummer, Robin Carson, Melinda Bronstad, Allison and Tug Rix, Becca and Johnny Cheng, Lori and Brad Bruce, Trey and Kristin Carmichael, Angela and Rick Bettinger, Arturo Ruiz, Mercedes Cruz, Ava Beach, Allen Beach, Elaine and Shawn Tubre, Emily Howard, Hatice Dalton, Marcia Jacobs, Eric and Shannon Benink, Anthony and Cynthia Villagran, Nancy Murphy, Sarah Harbuck, Emily Avila, Robert Luera, Shehla Shah, Syed Nayyar Shah, Thomas Williams, Suzy Pratt, Lou Martin, Jennifer and Kenneth Willingham, Tammy and Heath Middleton, Kassy and Jacob Flesher, Chrissy and Jordan Long, Matt and Katie Foust, Treanise Owens, Joel and Lisa Mohrman, Michael Tilley, Denise Castle, Georfe Terrazas, Boozaziel Chavez, Tim Dohse, and hundreds more AHA supporters.

Tarrant Heart Ball 2023, Hal Jay

Photo by Stacey Brooks

Sarah Harbuck, Emily Avila, Robert Luera, Ann Harbuck, Hal Jay, Shehla Shah, Syed Nayyar Shah