SUBZERO ICE CREAM & YOGURT
An enormous tank of liquid nitrogen greets you when you walk in to SubZero, where your littles craft their own ice cream and watch it flash-freeze at minus 321 degrees. Let the kiddos take the reins as they choose their cream (vegan and nondairy are available for special diets), their flavor (strawberry, cinnamon, chocolate and more) and their mix-ins like peanut butter cups and raspberries before their concoctions turn super creamy beneath a fog of liquid nitrogen. Flavor combos seem infinite, but if you need a suggestion, try the founder’s favorite, Confetti Surprise: cake batter ice cream mixed with M&M’s, drizzled with caramel and served in a confetti waffle bowl.
9986 Grapevine Highway, Suite C, Hurst; 817/849-5509
3721 Justin Road, Flower Mound; 214/285-2773
This Thai-inspired rolls out some of the best creamy confections in Dallas … literally. For an experience your kiddos can watch from start to finish, hop in line at the Deep Ellum storefront. The made-to-order treat (that means no added preservatives or stabilizers) starts as a liquid custard base poured onto the freezing metal countertop, where mix-ins like strawberries, pretzels and Oreos are added. Then, the employee will write your child’s name in chocolate or caramel sauce across the thinly spread mixture before using a spatula to pry the ice cream off the counter in rolls (think scrolls, not scoops). Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
2646 Elm St., Dallas; 469/687-6797
1005 Foch St., Fort Worth; 817/378-4960
118 E. Rusk St., Rockwall; 469/769-1345
Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream
Head to Plano for this beloved ice cream, available in flavors like maple-walnut, triple Oreo, and pistachio.
3100 Independence Pkwy., Plano; 972/943-3639
Sno Gourmet Shaved Ice
Sno Gourmet uses natural ingredients to craft some of their flavors, so you don’t need to stress about synthetic dyes in your kids’ shaved ice. Select from over 50 flavors and 20 toppings ranging from chopped strawberries to Sour Patch Kids, then enjoy your treats indoors at a red vinyl booth. Need a recommendation? Your kids will love the rainbow, an explosion of colors and flavors that will definitely dye their tongues. For Mom, we like the mango chamoyada, which comes with fresh fruit and a hit of chili pepper on top — it’s the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
10455 N. Central Expressway Suite #102, Dallas; 214/265-5550
A rainbow of fruit-filled popsicles awaits at Berrynaked, where refreshingly fruity pops in flavors like blackberry elderflower and apricot coconut collide with more decadent options, including the much-loved hazelnut butter and banana pop.
326 W Campbell Rd., Richardson; 469/547-1768
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
New to Deep Ellum, this Ohio-born creamery is a favorite among ice cream snobs thanks to its rich and creamy base. Creative flavors like brambleberry crisp, brown butter almond brittle, and coconut cream cold brew don’t hurt either.
2649 Main St., Dallas; 469/317-7126
Sweet Daze Dessert Bar
This Richardson sweet shop is an Instagram star thanks to its seriously over-the-top treats, but the soft-serve ice cream is not to be missed. In addition to the classic black velvet, there’s also a vegan pineapple whip flavor that can be swirled inside a glazed doughnut ice cream cone — or a classic cup — for the perfect summer snack.
3356, 581 W Campbell Rd #127, Richardson; 972/707-7295
Places to Go
Dallas Museum of Art
Sensory Days (formerly Autism Awareness Family Celebrations) are a collaboration between local arts and culture organizations to provide sensory-friendly programming. Participating organizations provide activities at each event and take turns hosting Sensory Day.
On selected days, the DMA will be open early for children with autism and their families to enjoy art together in a fun environment. Families can participate in staff-led gallery experiences and activities provided by our Sensory Day partners. Participants can enjoy an interactive performance with a music therapist, and relax in our sensory room facilitated by occupational therapy students from Texas Woman’s University—all before public hours.
Families will have the opportunity to explore the interactives in the Center for Creative Connections during this special private event, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., and are also invited to stay when the Museum opens at 11:00 a.m. to enjoy additional family programming.
Email access@DMA.org if you have questions about the content of the event or need more information about what to expect.
Nasher Sculpture Center
Families with children who have sensory processing challenges, like those on the Autism spectrum, are invited to the Nasher for customized experiences intended to engage, nurture, and educate all types of learners.
The Dallas Zoo hosts sensory friendly days and nights from time to time. This experience is specially designed for individuals on the autism spectrum – or anyone with sensory sensitivities – to enjoy a trip to the Zoo with their families and caregivers. They have sound modifications and a sensory haven available as you tour ZooNorth on an evening adventure. Activities are stationed along the path to help you navigate your way as the zoo animals prepare for the night.
It’s A Sensory World
Our recreational camps welcome children of all abilities, ages 2 to 18! Campers will be placed in low ratio groups based on an age range, developmental level, and personal interests. We provide customized, sensory-based activities during our camp schedule and help keep children in a daily routine during school breaks. During our summer camps, we help maintain skills while using our unique model to regulate the sensory system and target developmental skills that children might not focus on throughout the school year. We also love to provide our campers with unique experiences through creative activities, special programs, and community outings! Last summer, we didn’t let Covid stop our fun! We brought the adventure to us by turning our gym into a rollerskating rink, our playground into a foam party, our sensory gym into a glow room, and transformed the center into the land before time. Our goal is to provide a one-of-kind experience that provides entertainment and practice and preparation for inclusive opportunities for your child out in the community.
Equest’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with diverse needs by partnering with horses to bring hope and healing through equine assisted activities and therapies.
Metroplex Adaptive Water Sports
Metroplex Adaptive Water Sports (MAWS) is based in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas. We are a non-profit, volunteer driven organization dedicated to providing opportunities for persons with all types of disabilities to experience water sports. The emphasis is on water skiing, utilizing specialized ‘sit skis’ to provide a safe, enjoyable skiing experience, regardless of the level of disability.
MAWS, originally part of the Health South Sports Program, has been involved in adaptive water sports since 1994. Blaine and Belynda Bridgford are the founders of the program and continue to spearhead its growth and development. MAWS regularly hosts low cost clinics for all levels of skiers and also provides water skiing services for other programs and events.
Splash Pads & Water Parks
Addison Circle Park Interactive Fountains
The park features a pavilion, restrooms, public display fountains, water features, two stages, an impressive pergola, benches, and off-street parking.
Hours: Open daily
Location: 4950 Addison Circle Dr. Addison, Tx 75001
At W.J. Thomas Splash Park, push the top of the red fire hydrant to make it rain at Carrollton’s first and only city-run splash park. While the kids check out the water features, including a crashing wave that pours water over the top, parents can watch from the nearby wooden deck with picnic tables. The fountains will be turned on when average temperatures rise above 80 degrees. Open 9am–8pm daily through early October.
Location: 1955 N. Perry Road, (972) 466-3080
Visit Oak Hills Splash Park for more aquatic fun. No need to activate the water features; they run from 9am-8pm daily through October 15 and include a slide, spray grounds and tipping water buckets. A pavilion, table and grills are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Location: 1225 Royal Palm Lane, (972) 466-3080
Bring the kids’ swimsuits when you visit the farmers market in Old Town Coppell at the Main Street Interactive Fountain to get your local goods and produce, and let them cool down by frolicking in the fountains shooting from the ground.
Hours: Saturdays 8am–9pm or Sunday–Friday from 9am–9pm.
Location: 786 W. Main St., (972) 304-7043
It’s hard to miss the spraying and misting fountain in the Children’s Park within Klyde Warren Park, but look closer and you’ll see that the long-bodied water feature simulates the metamorphosis of a caterpillar. The main splash pad is on the corner of Woodall Rodgers Freeway and St. Paul Street. Find more fountains on Hart Boulevard, as you enter the park from either side or behind the main pavilion in Moody Plaza. The park is open 6am–11pm daily, and fountains turn on when the temperature outside reaches 60 degrees.
2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, (214) 716-4500
The Big D also boasts water features above the Trinity River in West Dallas. Stroll along the pedestrian-only Continental Bridge (aka the Ronald Kirk Bridge), and you will find not just climbing fixtures and chess table but also touch-activated play fountains made to beat the summer heat. While the kiddos cool off in the fountains and misters, Mom can kick back in one of the surrounding lounge chairs.
Location: 100 Continental Avenue
In addition to the splash pads at Klyde Warren and Ronald Kirk, Dallas Aquatics offers 10 spray grounds throughout the city. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, enjoy these free water wonderlands seven days a week. Most are open from 10am–8pm, but hours vary. See website for exact hours.
The spray grounds at Parr Park are open daily from May–September, from 8am-8pm every day. Spray grounds are motion activated to save water. No need to press a button; just walk onto the pad. Water shoes are encouraged. Adjacent to Dove Park Pool, the Dove Park spray ground splashes kids with a mechanical bucket daily with the same operational hours.
Dove Park, 1509 Hood Lane
Parr Park, 3010 Parr Lane, (817) 410-3450
Take your pick of the city’s two locations for zero-depth water fun: the Southwest Spray Park and another spray park outside the Northwest Park Recreation Center. Families can enjoy the bubblers, fountains and more spray features at both parks. Due to water restrictions, the Southwest Spray Park is closed Tuesdays and runs from 11am-8pm all other days of the week. The spray park outside the Northwest Park Recreation Center is open 11am-8pm Tuesday-Sunday (closed Mondays). The regular operating hours start on June 1.
Northwest Park Recreation Center, 2800 Cheyenne St.
Southwest Spray Park, 2800 W. Shady Grove Road, (972) 721-2656
Galatyn Park Urban Center is a mixed-use public space that is home to local festivals, fairs and cultural landmarks like the Charles W. Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts. You don’t have to take in a show to appreciate the artistry on display at the Texas Instruments Community Fountain in the public plaza in front of the arts venue. Kids can take in the dancing jets of water from the vertical water fountain, which is lit at night for maximum dazzling effect, and even get soaked—but maybe after the performance is over.
Location: 2351 Performance Drive, (972) 744-4650
Glenville Park features tall water structures resembling cacti (true to the Texas heat), colorful rings kiddos can race through and water cannons for the ultimate refresher. Kids can dive into the pool just a few feet away for a big splash. The pool is also equipped with restrooms, including a family restroom. And, the kiddos can dry off at the playground nearby. Parking is available by the spray park and playground. Entry into the pool and spray ground is $2 for residents, $4 for non-residents and free for children 3 and under. Open 1-8pm daily (closed Tuesdays) and will open June 1.
Location: 500 S. Glenville Drive, (972) 671-0187