Play Dates

Animal Magnetism

When was the last time the kids got to feed a giraffe? See a wildebeest? These are just a few of our favorite things to do at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center , in Glen Rose. Explore at your own pace along the ten-mile scenic drive (don't be surprised if an ostrich, the largest bird in the world, makes a mad dash for your car), or take a group and spend the day looking for native animals with a naturalist. The ultimate slumber party? Safari tents overlooking a popular wildlife watering pond. (See Glen Rose: Points of Interest ) PATRICIA BUSA MCCONNICO

Taste Test

Visit the state's famous food facilities for some edible education. No matter how you slice it, summertime in Texas gets toasty: Butter up your kids with a morning trip to Mrs. Baird's Bakery , in Fort Worth, and view the original hand-twisting technique. Or just cool down at the Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Company . It takes about an hour for a bottle to go from washer to final inspection, but visitors can watch an up-close, slowed version of the process during the company's 113th birthday celebration on June 12. And did you know that Blue Bell Creameries ,in Brenham, uses milk from 50,000 to 60,000 cows to make a day's worth of goodies? Get the whole scoop on ice cream and a sample too. Pile into the car and be a road hog—literally. (See Fort Worth: Points of Interest , Brenham: Points of Interest , and Dublin: Points of Interest ) LORI FRADKIN

The Buzz

Let's face it: Summer pests can be a pain in your grass. Your children return from the playground with annoying little friends, and soon your home is crawling with (uninvited) company. Don't let the kids bring the bugs to you—take them to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History June 12 for the invasion of "Big Bugs: Giant Robotic Insects." Watch huge mosquitoes munch on prey, and check out the 22-foot wingspan of a desert locust. At up to six hundred times their actual size, the creepy critters leave visitors itching for more. Touring the exhibit costs only $7 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors, but if you've already squashed your budget, you won't want to miss Bug Week, June 14-19, for free bug-cooking demonstrations, appearances by insect experts, and screenings of A Bug's Life, The Love Bug, and Charlotte's Web . (See Fort Worth: Museums ) LORI FRADKIN

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