1. BOCCE AT FOUR SEASONS RESORT AND CLUB – IRVING
Don’t be deterred by the posh digs at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas. Their restaurant, OUTLAW Taproom features elevated pub grub. There is a kid’s menu but why deprive your munchkins of queso made fancy with truffles or Wagyu beef burgers? Don’t forget the s’mores fired up table side to your liking. There’s shuffleboard and a pool table in the saloon, but the big draw on beautiful days is the massive patio with the outdoor bocce court.
2. CHESS BETWEEN MERCAT BISTRO AND SAINT ANN – DALLAS
Sandwiched between Mercat Bistro and Saint Ann Restaurant is an intimate green space in Dallas with a giant outdoor chess board. A game or two is our kids’ reward if they eat up their meals, and the little breaks give my husband and I some time to connect over a cappuccino or a cocktail. The only dilemma we face is choosing between croissants and steak frites at Mercat Bistro or flatbreads and bacon wrapped sizzlers at Saint Ann.
3. OLD FASHIONED GAMES AT CHICKEN SCRATCH – DALLAS
Remember hopscotch, corn hole and good ol’ fashion horse play? It’s all perfectly acceptable at Chicken Scratch in Oak Cliff. This is where Oak Cliff families come to have giant play dates. The food like the games are honest-to-goodness comfort food – buttermilk fried chicken served with handcut fries and homemade ranch made from hormone-free chickens and fresh vegetables. Don’t leave without trying the popsicles made simply out of fruit and sugar.
4. PING PONG AT WOODSHED SMOKEHOUSE – FORT WORTH
Barbecue, ping pong and outdoor games go together perfectly—especially when there’s live music at the Woodshed Smokehouse. Fort Worth Chef Tim Love knows how to make everyday feel like Sunday with his laid-back, Texas smokehouse. Chill over a margarita and take your time perusing the menu of slow-cooked ribs and BBQ brisket. The kids get a kick out of the ‘Animal of the Day.’ Brussels sprouts come out deliciously crispy and Love does a mean Bulgogi beef taco nicely spiced with homemade kimchi. After all that gorging, take a walk along the banks of the beautiful Trinity River.
5. SANDCASTLES AT THE LOT – DALLAS
There’s no beach for miles, but at The Lot in Lakewood, there’s an abundance of sand. This is where East Dallas families go to hang out over a craft beer and guac-n-chips while kids traipse about in the sand-lot playgrounds. Somehow despite the swarming chaos, it all works. Kids manage to stop playing long enough to scarf down BBQ Brisket sliders and parents get to do some adulting while the kids are off building sandcastles.
6. SCAVENGER HUNT AT THE DALLAS FARMERS MARKET – DALLAS
See how many types of fruits and vegetables your kids can identify at the Dallas Farmers Market. On weekends, we head to The Shed when farmers and growers sell their produce. Our kids love the food samples and getting up close and personal with farmers. Chat with old Mr. Lemley from Lemley’s Farm and try the tastiest tomatoes and juiciest peaches in Texas. Dallas Farmers Market is a place for kids to discover the world through their palates.
7. THE MOTHER OF ALL PLAYGROUNDS AT KLYDE WARREN PARK – DALLAS
Klyde Warren Park on the edge of downtown Dallas encompasses 5.2 acres of fun and activity for all ages. There’s always something going on from chess, ping pong, live music, story-time from the Dallas Public Library to yoga. Food-wise, there is a rotating schedule of food trucks. My kids love getting a Ralph’s Reuben Brat or ‘The Original’, beef tenderloin in a brioche bun from The Butcher’s Son food truck. Savor Gastropub is a great choice to dine in air-conditioned comfort. There’s lots of space to spread out a blanket, picnic and relax on the grass while the kids play. Pro tip: suit up the kids in swim gear to enjoy the several splash parks peppered throughout the park.
As a parent, I’d be remiss to note that while these places offer games for kids to play, do keep an eye on them for safety. Adults are still responsible for their children and the games are not a surrogate babysitter.