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.

Concerts in the Garden drones light up this week's 5 hottest Fort Worth headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Fort Worth Symphony launches summer concerts with sparkly extra: drones. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra returned with its annual summer concert series, Concerts in The Garden, featuring 11 concerts taking place at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, starting May 26 and running through June 11. And the coolest part of the 2023 series might be the light show: For the first time, they're replacing old-school fireworks with the use of cutting-edge drones.

2. Openings and closings head up this Fort Worth restaurant news roundup. This roundup of dining news around Fort Worth has an opening, a closing, a gofundme campaign, and loads of new menus for summer. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.

3. Decadent desserts in jars from celebrity Top Chef roll in to Fort Worth. Desserts in jars from a celebrity chef are coming to Fort Worth: Jars by Fabio Viviani, a fast-casual dessert brand serving popular desserts in jars, is opening a location in the Trinity Commons/Tom Thumb center, at 3000 S. Hulen St. #150. It'll open in late 2023.

4. 3 Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneurs rank among Forbes' richest self-made women for 2023. Twelve of the country's 100 most successful female entrepreneurs live in Texas this year, and three of them call Dallas-Fort Worth home. So says Forbes in its 2023 list of America's Richest Self-Made Women, released June 1.

5. 5 tips for stunning beach sand sculptures from 2023 Texas SandFest winners. “Playing” in the sand on the beach isn’t just an activity for children, as proven by the 22 professional sand sculptors from around the world who recently competed in the 26th annual Texas SandFest. Here are five of the pros' top tips for producing a beachfront masterpiece.

Cafe with made-to-order mini-doughnuts to open near TCU in south Fort Worth

Doughnut News

Little doughnuts are rolling into south Fort Worth via a new doughnut cafe. Called Batter & Beans, it'll serve doughnuts, coffee, and more, and it's opening at 3548 South Hills Ave., south of TCU in Westcliff Center.

They'll be right around the corner from Cafe Bella [which it should be noted recently won Best Neighborhood Restauant in CultureMap's 2023 Tastemaker Awards].

Batter & Beans will be a family-owned collaboration between Matthew Whip, a partner at Ernst & Young, and his brother-in-law, who worked for a restaurant group in Michigan and brings the food knowhow.

They'll be doing miniature doughnuts, similar to the Pittsburgh-based Peace, Love, and Little Donuts chain (which has one location in Texas, in Southlake).

They're aiming to be open by early fall.

"We'll be doing fresh, made-to-order mini cake doughnuts plus premium coffee we're sourcing out of Chicago, from Metropolis, a small-batch artisan roaster," Whip says. "We're originally from the Chicago area, and that's always been my favorite roaster, and they also roast coffee for Yolk, which has a location in Sundance Square."

The cafe will also offer fresh lemonade, iced tea, and ice cream, for neighbors who want to stop in for a treat at night.

Whip and his family first relocated from the Chicago area to North Texas in 2018, then moved down the street from the shop last year. It's a small storefront, about 920 square feet, and they're currently in the final stages of design and permitting.

"There's lots of kids in this neighborhood, and I think a place with mini doughnuts would do well," Whip says.

It was only after they signed on to do the shop that they learned from a neighbor that the space they're taking had good doughnut karma, with a longtime history as a doughnut shop, most recently a place called Donut Palace. Sadly, it closed during the pandemic. Now the doughnuts will return.