Dallas Aquarium. Experience [he tranquility of the underwater world while observing 375 marine and freshwater species. Enjoy Aquarium Family Fun Day, Jun 26 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., when kids and families will hear Keeper Talks, touch sea creatures, and much more. Open daily, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fair Park. 214-670-8443.
Dallas Arboretum. Summer at the Arboretum features Garden Critters, a whimsical 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. Jun 5-Sept. 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 Zoo. Summer Fun Weekend kicks off the summer Zoo season, featuring touchable animals, kids’ crafts, and lots more fun for all ages. Jun 5, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Jun 6, 1-5 p.m. Open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 1-35 at Marsalis. 214-670-5656.
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. Don’t miss the new Thundering Plains exhibit, featuring American bison, wild turkey, and endangered Mexican wolves. Open daily; Mon-Fri, I0a.m.-5p.ni.; 1989 Colonial Pkwy., Fort Worth. 817-871-7050.
Movie Studios at Us Colinas. Enjoy a look behind the scenes of such locally produced hits as RoboCop, Leap of Faith, and JFK. Daily tours of the studios include all-new, up-close looks at memorabilia and props 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.
Scuthfork 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 Fron! Porch Cafe. Open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 3700 Hogge Rd., Parker. 972-442-7800.
THE SUNSHINE BOYS. Make it a theme date: First, see Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, then follow up with a tequila sunrise in Sundance Square. The play won rave reviews on Broadway with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman in the title roles. Jun 8-20, with performances Tue-Fri, 8 p.m.; Sal, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sun, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Bass Performance Hall. 4th and Calhoun streets. Fori Worth. 817-332-2272.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Bangla Literature & Cultural Convention. Presented by the Academy of Bangla Arts and Culture, this festival includes an Indian art exhibition, along with musicals, seminars, and recitations. Jun 18-20. Irving Arts Center. 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Irving. 972-252-ARTS.
The Dallas Festival of Arts and Jazz. Jazz is the perfect music for the city’s see-and-be-seen crowd, and this month, the Dallas Festival of Arts and Jazz brings the music to Uptown. The free festival used to be called Mandalay. and though the name’s changed, the events haven’t-jazz concerts and art exhibits turn Uptown into a mini-Woodstock for yuppies. Jun 4-5, 5 p.m.-midnight. Pearl and McKinney streets. 214-855-1881.
Africa’s Elephant Kingdom. This stunning Omni Theater presentation offers an insightful and dramatic look 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 St., Fort Worth. 817-255-9300.
Amazon. Follow two explorers through the IMAX-enhanced Amazonian Rain Forest as they search the mysterious and awesome canopy for cures to deadly diseases and secrets to prolonging life. Also playing: Mysteries of Egypt, a spectacular ride through Egyptian history and myths, narrated by Omar Sharif; and Mission to MIR. Continuing through early June. The Science Place, Fair Park. 214-428-5555
Conduit Gallery. Two stirring exhibits are featured this month, including Toy Models of Space by Brian Fridge, a display of curious spheres covered in pencil marks. Reinhard Ziegler brings his semi-abstract talents to bear on images of landscape and architecture from southern France. J un 12-Jul 24; opening reception Sat. Jun 12,6p.m.-8p.m. 3200 Main, Dallas. 214-939-0064.
HOT FOODS FOB HOT DAYS. There are some rules to proper chili etiquette-and you should know them for the “Cowtown CASI Chili Cookoff.” First, never ask what’s in it-the cook probably can’t remember anyway. Next, it’s not shameful to avoid the habanero-soaked, 10-alarm pot of chili. Remember, doctors still have not mastered the tongue transplant, and while your bravery may impress your date, she’ll love you more if you can drive home without having to open the windows every five minutes. Finally, never criticize the way a person makes chili-even if that person is a Yankee and puts beans in her chili on purpose. Jun 19, 8 a.m,-dusk. Traders Village, Grand Prairie. 972-647-8585.-H.W.
David Dike Fine Art. Acontinuing summer exhibition of Texas-related paintings features the art and imagination of Texas artists Jerry Bywaters, Olis Dozier, Alexandre Hogue, Julian Onderdonk. Olin Travis, and Porfirio Salinas. Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m.-5 p.m., by appointment. 2613 Fairmount. 214-720-4044.
Deep Ellum Center Iter the Arts. Join Broose Dickinson and Antaris Duffey as they lead you through a night of abstractionism, improvisational painting, and ceramic arts. Jun 12. 6-8 p.m. 2808 Commerce St. 214-744-2787.
NATIONAL AU-S11R JOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
What they lack in height and perhaps sanity, jockeys make up for in skill, courage, and determination. The National All-Star Jockey Championship at Lone Star Park on Jun 25 is sure to be exciting for racing, horse, jockey, and underwear fans everywhere. The four-race competition features 12 of the lop jockeys in the world vying for $100,000 in prize money–that’s a lot of oats to the winner. If you can’t have fun watching short guys in fancy outfits riding fast horses in a circle, you’re just not trying hard enough. Regular racing schedule continues throughout the summer. Grand Prairie. 972-263-7223.-H.W.
Edith Baker Gallery. Mark Smith introduces himself through abstract interpretations, and Lui Liu’s work takes a surreal, figurative look at the world. Continuing through Jul l7.Tue-Fri, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 2404 Cedar Springs. 214-855-5101.
Passionate Visions. This exhibit highlights works from the Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery and several private collections. The 29 participating artists portray the diversity of Latin American society, politics, and culture. Through Jun 5. Tue-Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther. 214-670-8749.
Ivanffy-Uhler Gallery. This collection includes contemporary and 20th-century European paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Tue-Sat, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun, 1-6 p.m. 4623 W. Lovers Ln. 214-350-3500.
BANK ONE JAZZ UNDER THE STARS. It s affirming to see thai interesting people do live in our city, not just the yo-yos you work with, the boneheads that live in your neighborhood, and the idiots that always seem to be on the road with you whenever you drive. Of course, you could share the love and invite the yoyos, boneheads. and idiots to come with you-but that’s your decision. The free concert has become increasing popular, so make sure you get there early. Every Thursday, 8 p.m., ending Jun 17. DMA’s Ross Avenue Plaza. For more information call 214-922-1344.-H.W.
KidsArts ’99. This event provides an exciting opportunity for kids to learn about the visual and performing arts, featuring exhibitions, workshops, and performances. Featured workshops include Musical Theatre, Photography. African Drumming, and Story Telling. Continuing through July. Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur, Irving. 972-252-ARTS.
Children’s Series at the Heritage. Don’t miss the world-premiere bilingual children’s play, Senora Tortuga, based on popular Mexican and South American folk tales. Presented by the Piano Repertory Theatre. Jun 15-26. Tue-Sat, 10 a.m. Heritage Farmstead Museum, 1900 W. 15th St.. Piano. 972422-7460.
Camping with Nature. Join the Heard Museum for Tw^wefHongnature camps, featuring arts and crafts, exploration, and lessons in nature and animal habitats. Sign up for Camp Crawdad, Jun 7-11, or Camp Dragonfly, Jun 14-18. Both camps will be repeated in July. Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun, 1-5 p.m.; last tour for nature trail at 4 p.m. Heard Museum, McKinney. 972-562-5566.
Dinosaur Families. Observe how robotic, moving, roaring dinosaur families care for, 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 Teachers Academy. Tragedy & Comedy: Literature as a Made of Knowledge, an intensive three-week graduate course for teachers, concentrates on tragedy and comedy from the ancient Greeks to Shakespeare to contemporary works. Jun 14-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 Am 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. Jun 11-Aug 29. Fair Park. 214-565-9026.
Anion Carter Museum. Coming Attractions, a preview of the museum’s proposed building expansion, features 135 works by 100 artists; the selection includes masterworks of pastels and watercolors and a section on art of the American West. Through Aug 1. Tues-Sat, 10a.m.-5p.m.; Sun, noon-5 p.m. 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-738-1933.
The Cavanaugh Right 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 Flight 007.
Open daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. ] 10 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.
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 the wild. Through Sep 6. Mon-Wed, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thu-Sat, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., noon-9 p,m. 1501 Montgomery St., Fort Worth. 817-255-9300.
Sixth Floor Museum. This thorough, intelligent, and 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 St. 214-747-6660.
International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs. Presented by the Van Cliburn Foundation, this competition, the first of its kind in the United States, will feature 97 amateur pianists representing 10 countries. Jun 9-13. Ed Landreth Auditorium, TCU. For more information call 817-738-6536.
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 Hall 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.
Mesquite Rodeo. Mesquite has been designated the Rodeo Capital of Texas thanks, in large pan, to the Mesquite Championship Rodeo. The festivities include pony rides, a petting zoo, and a 350-seat pavilion offering custom-cooked BBQ buf-fet dinners. The Rodeo’s 42nd season continues through Oct 2. Gates open at 6:30 p.m.; the Rodeo begins at 8 p.m. 1818 Rodeo Dr., Mesquite. 972-285-8777.
A BUG’S WORLD. It’s not easy being a bug. The simplest of needs such as getting lunch-assuming you have successfully avoided becoming lunch yourself-can be a dangerous ordeal. Almost everything in the natural world eats bugs- bigger bugs, birds, bats, frogs, and even grinning motorcycle riders. Now, The Dallas Horticulture Center takes it one step further with a summer showcase featuring exotic insects and plants indigenous to the tropical rain forest. Come see what these interesting creatures look like before getting smacked, swatted and squished. On display through Jul 31. Dallas Horticulture Center. Fair Park. 214-428-7476.-H.W.
Sprint for the Health of ft. The 4th Annual Metroplex Sprint Triathlon Regional Club Championship involves a grueling 800 meter swim, 30K bike, and 5K run. Jim 13. Lynn Creek Park at Joe Pool Lake, Grand Prairie. 817-355-1279 or 234-821-0909.
Buck-Nekkid. A down-home comedy set in rural Mississippi brings out laughter in faith healing and aspirations. Written by John Maxwell. Through Jun 19. Performances Thu and Sun, 7:30 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Stage West, 3055 S. University Dr., Fort Worth. Metro 817-STG-WEST.
Cirque Ingenieux. This show, the big hit of the ’97 season, returns for a much-awaited encore. Come and experience this amazing display of vibrant dance, song, and gymnastics. Jun I -6. Music Hall at Fair Park. 214-691-7200.
Hotter On The Roof. One of the most popular musicals of all time. Fiddler on the Roof tells the story of Tevye, a dairyman in tum-of-the-century Russia, and his five daughters. Jun 11,12,17-19.8 p.m.; Jun 13,20,2 p.m. Garland Performing Arts Center. 300 N. 5th, Garland. 972-205-2790.
Once On This Island. Casa Manana presents this magical South Seas island story inspired by Hans Christian Anderson, which became a popular Broadway hit. Exotic costumes, Caribbean themes, and raucous music and song lend excitement to this fun-filled production. Jun 15-27. Performances are Tue-Fri, 8 p.m.; Sal, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sun, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Casa Manana, 3101 W. Lancaster, Fort Worth. 817-332-2272.
South Pacific. The 50th anniversary’ production of this legendary Rogers and Hammerstein musical experiences a few new twists during this summer’s five-state tour. Featuring a number of local performers. Jun 8-20. Tue-Sat, 8 p.m.; Sal and Sun., 2 p.m. Music Hall at Fair Park. 214-691-7200.
To Kilt a Mockingbird. Theatre Arlington presents this rendition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee. Jun 3-27. Thu, 7:30 p.m.; Fri and Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. 305 W. Main St.. Arlington. 817-275-7661 or metro 817-261-9628.