KIDSTUFF

Benbrook Ranch and Stables. Saddle up and hit the trails. The ranch offers riding lessons, and, for more advanced cowboys, solo rides out there on the plains. Rt. 17, Box 226, Ben-brook,’ near Fort Worth on Highway 377. (817) 249-1176, Daily 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Riding lessons: prices vary. Horse rentals: $10 per hour. .All children under IS most have a parent present or a notarized Benbrook Stable parental consent form to ride.

Children’s Arts & Ideas Foundation. Provides art classes for the purpose of developing self-esteem and creativity in ceramics, panting, sculpture, drama, creative writing, and music 2812 Swiss Aw. 823-1903.

The Dallas Library. Dallas’s neighborhood branch libraries offer year-round activities for preschool (puppet shows, visits from circus clowns, arts and crafts) as well as school-age youngsters (term-paper workshops, summer reading clubs, bicycle safety presentations). Contact the library for specific activities, dates, and limes, or go by and pick up The .Almanac, which publishes events scheduled each month. For hours and branch locations, call the downtown library at 670-1400.

Dallas Park and Recreation Department. The Park and Recreation Department answers a 24-hour activity line for information on events at the various park grounds. Call 670-4100.

The Dallas Zoo. Take a walk on the wild side. The “Wilds of Africa,” the newest addition to the zoo, exhibits gorillas, birds, okapi, and hundreds of other species of animals in (heir natural habitats. You can either take a ride around the wilds on a monorail or take the walking path. 621 E. Clarendon. 670-6825. April-September hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; October-March: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Adults $5, children (3-11) $1.50; monorail rides $1.50 for 3 and up.

Fort Worth Botanic and Japanese Garden. The Botanic Garden features orchids, southern magnolia, narcissus, tulip trees, and flowing dogwood, to name just a few. Visit the Japanese Garden and see Mandarin ducks and Imperial carp; there’s also a fragrance garden. 3220 N. Botanic Garden Drive, Fort Worth (817) 870-7686. Botanic Gardens; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. daily; Japanese Garden: Tuesday-Sunday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.: Conservatory Gardens: Mondav-Friday 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 1-7 p.m. (Ticket sales stop 30 minutes before closing.) Children (4-12) 50 cents, adults $1, $1.50 on weekends, children under 4 free.

Fort Worth Stockyards. When you find our sister city to the west, you’re sure to discover her famed stockyards. North Main and Exchange Avenue form the stockyard borders. On these two streets, you’ll find plenty of true Texana. Be sure to catch the rodeo in the renovated Cowtown Coliseum. For a detailed map of the Stockyards District, call the North fort Worth Historical Society at (817) 625-5082.

Fort Worth Water Gardens. A maze of dancing waterfalls and fountains makes this one of the most tranquil spots around on sunny days Grab a picnic basket, pack up the kids, and head to the heart of downtown Fort Worth. The water is activated daily. Bordered by Commerce, Houston, and East Lancaster, south of the Fort Worth Convention Center. (817) 870-7000. Open 8 a.m.-11 p.m., seven days a week. Free.

Fort Worth Zoological Park. The Fort Worth Zoo is home to one of the largest aquariums in the Southwest. But if you’ve come to see the lions, tigers, and bears, you won’t be disappointed, Take a look at the elephant breeding facility, the extensive collection (more than 600) of reptiles and amphibians in the Herpetarium. the 11-acre ranch complete with native Texas animals, and the African forest. 2727 Zoological Park Drive, Fort Worth. (817) 870-7050. Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Children (4-12) $1, adults $3,3 and under free.

4-H Program of Dallas County. Boys and girls ages 9-19 and their families participate in project work-on raising animals, nutrition, etc.-that leaches life skills and makes the children feel good about themselves. 904-3051.

Heritage Farmstead Association. Since 1891, this Piano farmstead has withstood the test of time, and today it offers a rare visit into the past. The 4-acre museum provides a glimpse of the way people lived (luring the heyday of fanning in North Texas. 1900 W. 15th St., Piano. 424-7874. Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m. Tours available every hour from 10 a.m.-noon. Adults $3, youth (4-18) and senior citizens $2, children 4 and under free.

Hundley Boat and Recreation Center. Rent a bike or paddle boat and tour White Rock on your own. 3240 W. Lawther in the Old Boat House. 823-6933.10 a.m.-sunset. Bicycles: $7.50 per hour, $25 all day; paddle boats: $10 per hour.

International Wildlife Park. As you drive through this natural preserve, you’ll see plenty of exotic animals stalking the grounds, and a few of the beasts are bold enough to come right up to your car for closer inspection. I-30 at Belt Line. Grand Prairie. 263-2203. Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.,Saturday & Sunday 9:10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Children (3-6) $5.95, 7 and up $7,95.

L.B. Houston Nature Area. So, you’re really tired of having someone else point out the animals tell you what kind of flower that is. remind you to stay behind the rope, and herd you to the next exhibit. Have we got the place for you, This nature area is exactly that-natural and undisturbed. You’ll find your own birds, beaver tracks, fossils, honey locusts, and, of course, a swamp rabbit or two. Be prepared to rough it. For the park’s specific location (it branches out near the Trinity Riven), call 670-6270.

Learning About Me, A Child’s Introduction to the Arts. Creative arts school has creative movement, art, drama, and music activities for children ages 3-11, Preschool classes are available, as well as a creative arts day camp during the summer and an after-school care program for kids kindergarten through 4th grade, 6501 Royal Lane. 691-3093 or 360-9893.

Los Cabin Village. Turn the clock back to the frontier days. Seven pioneer cabins, all built in the 1850s. make up this rustic neighborhood. University Drive and Log Cabin Lane. Fort Worth. (817) 926-5881. Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.. Sunday 1-4:30 p.m. Adults $1, children (442) 50 cents.

Malibu Grand Prix. Here’s a half-mile of pure racing pleasure. Race cars punch up to 70 m.p.h., so buckle up and pretend you’re on Central Expressway. 11150 Malibu Drive, Stemmons at Walnut Hill. 247-5318. Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m.-midnight, Friday & Saturday 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Racing laps $2.25, licenses $2.75.

The Palace of Wax and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! A double-attraction facility, the Palace of Wax features a new collection of wax figures representing Hollywood stars, heroes and villains, Col. Bill’s Woderful Wild West Waxworks, and many others. Ripley’s boasts oddities, curiosities, and elusions gathered from around the world by Robert Ripley. 601 E. Safari Pkwy., Grand Prairie. 263-2391. Monday-Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Combination ticket: adults $9.95. children (4-12) $8.95. Wax museum: adults $6.95, children (4-12) $4.95. Ripley’s: adults $5.95, children (4-12) $4.95.

Six Flags Over Texas. Six Flags offers something for everyone: rides, games, and concerts, The Texas Giant, the world’s tallest wooden roller coaster, is sure to give you goosebumps. and the Festival Concert Pavilion hosts top-name performers. But some things never change; don’t miss eating at least one Pink Thing. I-30 at Hwy. 360, Arlington. 640-5050. Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10 a.m.-midnight. Adults $21.35, children under 48 inches $9.98. senior citizens $13.95, 2 and under free.

Wet ’N Wild. Forget (he neighbor’s pool-the wave of the Nineties is water parks. Wet ’N Wild is speed slides, flume rides. wave pools, and an old-fashioned Tom Sawyer-like river raft ride. 1800 East Lamar, Arlington, 265-3356, and 12715 LBJ Freeway at Northwest Highway in Dallas, 271-5637. Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m–9 p.m., Friday & Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Arlington park: adults $14.95, children (3-12) $12.95 Dallas park: adults $12.95,, children (3-12) $10.95.

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