Dallas Aquarium. Experience the tranquility of the underwater world while observing 375 marine and freshwater species. For the more excitable ones in your group, check out the shark and piranha feedings, every day except Monday, at 2:30 p.m. Open daily, 9 a.m.-4;30 p.m. Fair Park. 214-670-8443.
Dallas Arboretum. Summer at the Arboretum features Garden Critters, a display of friendly, larger-than-life animal and insect creatures vital to the health of a garden, for children to climb on, crawl through, and play with. Through Sep 6. Open daily; Mon-Fri, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat-Sun, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 8525 Garland Rd. 214-327-8263.
Dallas World Aquarium. The most peaceful place downtown. This West End aquarium features exotic marine life in 12 saltwater tanks, along with Texas’ largest South African black-footed penguin exhibit. Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p,m. 1801 N, Griffin. 214-720-1801.
Fort Worth Botanical Garden. Fort Worth isn’t just for cowboys and cowboy wannabes: Nature-lovers have a place here, too. The 110-acre, tree-shaded complex includes a rose garden, conservatory, and Japanese gardens. Open daily; 8 a.m.-dusk (9 a.m.-6 p.m., Japanese gardens). 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-871-7686.
Fort Worth Zoo. One of the nation’s most acclaimed zoos, with 5,000 exotic and native animals, including Bluebonnet, the Zoo’s first-ever baby elephant. Don’t miss the Thundering Plains exhibit, featuring American bison, wild turkey, and endangered Mexican wolves. Open daily; Mon-Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; 1989 Colonial Pkwy., Fort Worth. 817-871-7050.
Movie Studios at Las Colinas. Enjoy a look behind the scenes of such locally produced hits as RoboCop and JFK. Daily tours of the studios include up-close looks at memorabilia from Star Wars, Superman, and other big-screen adventures. Open daily; hourly tours begin at 12:30 p.m. 6301 N. O’Connor Blvd.. Las Colinas. 972-869-FILM.
Old City Park, The Historical Village of Dallas. This outdoor museum, a complete turn-of-the-century village, rests in the shadow of the Dallas skyline; a stroll along the streets offers a glimpse into the life of early North Texans. 1717 Gano St., Dallas. 214-421-5141.
The Science Place. The Illuminated Brain, a 3-D multimedia and laser show, teaches kids how their brains function through the use of dazzling visuals and technical effects. Through Sep 6. Mon-Sat, 10a.m.-4:30pjn.; Sun, 1-4:30 p.m. Fair Park. 214-428-5555.
Southfork Ranch. If you’re worried about being labeled a tourist, blame it on your Yankee friends who just had to see J.R.’s house. Visit the Ewing Mansion, explore the ranch by tram, and walk through the ’”Dallas” Museum, with memorabilia from the hit TV series and its stars. There’s also a Western-wear store and the Front Porch Cafe. Open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 3700 Hogge Rd., Parker. 972-442-7800.
CONDUIT GALLERY. So you didn’t have time to camp out for Star Wars tickets. And maybe you would radier have root canal surgery without anesthesia than fight 30-year-old “children” for the last Darth Maul doll at Toys-R-Us. But if your gaze still points heavenward, you’ll be inspired by the Toy Models of Space exhibit, which displays curious spheres covered in graphite designs by Brian Fridge Through July 24. 3200 Main St. 214-939-0064.-Hudson Weichsel
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Arlington’s 34th Annual 4th of July Parade. Celebrate your independence with more than 130 bands, floats, clowns, and cheerleaders- along with thousands of spectators-at this parade, one of the largest in Texas. Jul 3. 9 a.m. Downtown Arlington. 817-265-7721.
Fort Worth Fourth! Don’t miss this free celebration, which features family and children’s entertainment, a military flyover, and fireworks. Tandy Fort Worth Outlet Square and Heritage Park. 817-870-1692.
Irving Symphony Orchestra: Towards the Millennium. The Orchestra opens its 1999-2000 season with a free outdoor concert featuring plenty of patriotic tunes and followed by the traditional fireworks display. Jul 4. 8 p.m. Williams Square, Las Colinas. 972-252-7476.
Africa’s Elephant Kingdom. This stunning Omni Theater presentation offers an insightful and dramatic took into the lives of an elephant family embarking upon a dangerous, yet vital, journey across the African plains. Show times daily, with extended hours in the evenings and on weekends. Omni Theater, 1501 Montgomery Street, Fort Worth. 817-255-9300.
AMAZON. Visiting the rain forest can be like ordering the double deluxe burger chili dog with cheese, onions, and jalapenos. It sounds like a good idea at the time, but right in the middle of it your heart starts pounding, strange noises emanate from inner depths, and your body is drenched with the sweat from unbearable heat. If you’re eating the burger dog, relief may be only a Rolaid away, but if you’re in the rain forest, you’re stuck. A better alternative may be to watch the IMAX-enhanced Amazonian Rain Forest. Follow two explorers as they search the mysterious and awesome canopy for cures to deadly diseases and secrets to prolonging life. The Science Place, Fan-Park. 214-428-5555. -H.W.
David Dike Fine Art. A continuing summer exhibition of Texas paintings features the art and imagination of Texas artists, Jerry Bywaters,Otis Dozier, Alexandre Hogue, Julian Onderdonk, Olin Travis and Porfirio Salinas. Mon-Fri, 10a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, II a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment. 2613 Fairmount, 214-720-4044.
Deep Blum Center for the Arts. Local artists Skip Meyers and Matt Anzak present a show of their colorful, figurative paintings. Opens Jul 17.Tue-Sat,noon-7 p.m. And the Ground Zero Theater Company will perform Sweet Maggie Blues Jul 25-26, 6-10 p.m. 2808 Commerce . 214-744-2787.
Elit h Baker Gallery. Mark Smith introduces himself through abstract interpretations, and Lui Liu’s work takes a surreal, figurative look at the world. Through Jul 17. Tue-Fri, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 2404 Cedar Springs. 214-855-5101.
Irving Arts Center. Guy Deel: Walt Disney Artist. The Irving native returns for an exhibition of works representing his career in visual development and production styling for Walt Disney Studios. Jul 10-Oct 3. Continuing through Jul 3 is Citi of Refuge: Works by Bernice Montgomery, which includes 20 new mixed media paintings and assemblages inspired by the Book of Psalms. 3333 N. Mac-Arthur Blvd, Irving. 972-252-7558.
Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery. Photographer Harvey Stein presents Coney Island, a photo essay depicting the New York landmark as it struggles to maintain its identity as a summer destination. Through Jul 24. Tue-Sat, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 3115 Routh St. 214-969-1852.
Turner & Runyon Gallery. Most of the painters and sculptors featured in Tang were born in the 1960s, at the height of minimalism. Now, they’re re-interpreting the genre in an attempt to define modern culture. Through Jul 10. Tue-Sat, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 2642 Elm St. 214-653-1130.
MEADOWS MUSEUM. He’s like a rock star of the art world-crowds go crazy and ticket sales soar whenever he’s in town. Merchandise from T-shirts to teapots makes fans into collectors. Hailed as a genius, he has a special way with the ladies, and guys genuinely admire his talent. But does anyone really know Picasso? The Intimate Picasso exhibit at the Meadows Museum lets viewers see Pablo Picasso’s less familiar, small-scale works, including prints, drawings, and book designs. Through Aug. 29. Mon., Tue, Fri, Sat, 10 a.m.-5p.m.; Thu, 10a.m.-8p.m.;Sun, 1-5 p.m. Meadows School of the Arts, corner of Bishop Blvd. and Binkley Ave. 214-768-2516. -H.W.
LILITH FAIR. It’s a girl thing. But don’t expect catfights and beauty makeovers or male-bashing lesbian divas crooning about the woes of P.M.S.-at least not on stage, anyway, Lilith Fair offers great entertainment by some of today’s hottest female singers. The third and final edition of this all-day, all-women tour includes performances by Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, and Sarah McLachlan. Helen Reddy would be proud. These are women, hear them sing. Jul 21. Starplex Amphitheater, Fair Park. 214-373-8000.
Dinosaur Families. Observe how dinosaur families nurture and protect one another. These realistic reptile replicas, based on discoveries at “Egg Mountain,” will be appearing at The Science Place through Sep 6. Open daily 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fair Park. 214-428-5555.
The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel comes to life in this Dallas Children’s Theater production, set in the fantasy world of Middle Earth, a place filled with wizards, dwarves, dragons, and other mythological creatures. Jul 9-25 Fri, 7:30 p.m.; Sat, l:30 p.m.; Sun, l:30 and 4:30 p.m. El Centra College Theater, Main and Market streets. 214-978-0110.
Summer Art Camp. Kids can learn the basics of contemporary art, exploring everything from abstract expressionism to pop art. Five weekday sessions; dates and times vary according to age group. Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W. Main St., Arlington. 817-275-4600.
The Teachers Academy. Tragedy & Comedy; Literature as a Mode of Know-ledge, an intensive three-week graduate course for teachers, concentrates on tragedy and comedy from the ancient Greeks to Shakespeare to contemporary works. Through Jul 2. Mon-Fri, 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m. Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, 2719 Routh St. Open Tue-Fri, noon-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 1-5 p,m. For more information call Dr. Glenn Arbery at 214-981-8804.
African American Museum. On My Way: The Arts of Sarah Albritton. This self-taught painter takes us on a haunting and personal tour through her memories and impressions of growing up in rural north Louisiana and the Deep South. Through Aug 29. Fair Park. 214-565-9026.
Amon Carter Museum, Coming Attractions, a preview of the museum’s proposed building expansion, features 135 works by 100 artists; the selection includes master-works of pastels and watercolors, as well as a section on art of the American West. Through Aug l. Tue-Sat, 10a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun, noon-5 p.m. 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-738-1933.
The Cavanaugh Flight Museum. A trip to DFW can make you forget that flying was ever a romantic venture. A trip to this museum, featuring meticulously restored warbirds from WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, will remind you. Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Addison Airport, 4572 Claire Chennault. 972-380-8800.
The Conspiracy Museum. This museum exposes alleged cover-ups of the assassinations of presidents Kennedy, Lincoln, and Garfield, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy, as well as the crash of Korean Right 007. Open daily, 10 a.m.-6 p,m. 110 S. Market St. 214-741-3040.
Dallas Museum of Art Through ambient and colorful mediums of video images and sounds, California-based artist Doug Aitken presents Diamond Sea, a vibrant exhibition of life in Namibia, southwestern Africa. Through Aug 8. Through Sep 5, catch Golden Treasures from the Ancient World, which focuses on ancient Western civilization. 1717 N. Harwood St. 214-922-1200.
Dallas Museum of Natural History. Predators! Interactive exhibits, cinematography footage, and live specimens show you the importance of animals and plants that kill and eat each other to survive. Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 3535 Grand Ave., Fair Park. 214-421-3466.
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Robot Zoo features huge mechanical animals and an up-close glimpse into how the real beasts function in die wild. Through Sep 6. Mon-Wed, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thu-Sat, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. noon-9p.m. 1501 Montgomery St., Fort Worth. 817-255-9300.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. House of Sculpture. Don’t miss this extensive, provocative collection of postwar sculpture, centered around Bruce Nauman’s “Left or Standing.” Through Aug 8. Tue-Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun, noon-5 p.m. 1309 Montgomery St., Fort Worth. 817-738-9215.
Sixth Floor Museum. This intelligent, moving exhibit in the former Texas School Book Depository explores the life and death of President John F. Kennedy. Open daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 411 Elm Si. 214-747-6660.
Dallas Wind Symphony. For the ninth annual production of SOUSA! A Star-Spangled Spectacular, the 50-member Wind Symphony celebrates the life and times of legendary bandmaster John Philip Sousa by re-enacting a turn-of-the-century concert by the Sousa Band. Jul 4, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 214-528-5576.
Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, and BR5-49. These three critically acclaimed acts represent the past, present, and future of the honky-tonk sound. Don’t miss their one-night stop in town. Jul 31. Starplex Amphitheater. 214-373-8000.
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL Blackmail, bribery, and deception-no, it’s not just another day in our nation’s capital. This Tony-nominated musical tells the story of a masked hero who saves French aristocrats from the guillotine. For those of you who aren’t French aristocrats, masked heroes, or gardeners, a scarlet pimpernel is a wild plant-not a teenager’s worst skin nightmare, a tasty deli sandwich, or a fancy new term for a hooker’s boss. Jul. 27-Aug 8. Tue.-Sun., 8 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 2 p.m. Music Hall at Fair Park. 214-691-7200.
Legends of the Game Baseball Museum. Relive baseball’s memorable past at this historic niche inside the Ballpark. Items on display include a Babe Ruth bat and glove and a jersey belonging to Lou Gehrig. New this season is an exhibit honoring Hal! of Famer Nolan Ryan. Last tickets are sold one hour before closing. Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. The Ballpark in Arlington, 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington. 817-273-5600.
Summer Cutting Horse Spectacular. This event, which has its roots in the Old West, features more than 1,000 of the world’s top cutting horses and riders in a combination of skill and athleticism. Jul 19-Aug 1. Will Rogers Memorial Center, Fort Worth. 817-871-8150.
Texas Motor Speedway. Thursday Night Stampede features Legends and Bandolero racing, along with contests, food, and music. Through Aug 26.I-35W and SH 114. Fort Worth. 817-215-8500.
Beyond Therapy. Theatre Three opens its 39th season with this comedy, a satirical look at the relationships between men, women, and their psychiatrists. Jul l-Aug 29. Thu, 7;30 p.m.; Fri and Sat, 8 p.m.; Sun, 2:30 p.m. 2800 Routh St. 214-871-3300.
I Do! I Do! The creators of The Fantasticks capture the joys and heartaches of marriage perfectly in this brassy yet touching musical. Jul 27-Aug 1. Tue-Fri, 8 p.m.; Sat, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sun, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Casa Manana Theatre, 3101 W. Lancaster, Fort Worth. 817-332-2272.
Shakespeare in the Park. Catch the Bard on the local stage with these presentations of Othello and Twelfth Night. Through Jul II.Tue-Sun,8 p.m.; Tue-Sun; gates open at 6:45 p.m. Trinity Park, Fort Worth. 817-923-6698.
The Greatest Show On Earth
The Ringling Bros, and Barnum & Bailey Circus, complete with tightrope artists, Asian elephants, and unconventional performers like Vesuvius, The Human Volcano and Tong, The Prince of Pythons, makes its annual stop in Dallas this month. Jul 29-Aug 8. Reunion Arena. 214-373-8000. Also, for the first time in more than 70 years, you can enjoy the spectacle of the Grand Circus Parade, which features circus performers, floats, and turn-of-the-century, horse-driven circus wagons. The parade will run from Reunion Arena to the West End and back. Jul 27, 8 p.m. For more information: 214-890-6647.
Obzeet is South African slang for “groovy”, but this place is really South African chic. By day, it’s a coffee bar/gift shop. By night, it’s a luminous tropical paradise with beautiful outdoor waterfalls and a creek that runs throughout. If you’re looking for a way to beat the sweltering summer heat, indulge in an icy granita or sip ice-cold martinis (choose from 16 varieties) while listening to jazz. Enjoy live music Thursday through Sunday, and if you like any of the exotic artwork-which ranges from Indian Palace to pink plastic flamingos-you can buy it on the way out.-Valerie Douglas
Obzeet, 19020 Preston Rd., Dallas, TX 972-867-6126.