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Life in DFW

My life as a wife and mom in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and all things fun about it!

Filtering by Tag: indoor playground dfw

Where To Cool Off Around Grapevine, TX

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

It's the first day of August! The HOTTEST month of the year! Oh gosh, when summer gets to this month, a lot of people might still be on vacation mode, while others are on that back-to-school blues :P But me? All I could think of is the heat. But I have a toddler, I can't just go to the malls and museums to avoid the heat all the time! Well, the beauty about living only 10 minutes from Grapevine is that I get to visit the city and experience its variety of entertainment and recreational activities all the time with my family. And when it comes to indoor play areas, Grapevine has a lot to offer!

Paradise Pond

Located in the First Baptist Church - Grapevine, this play area opens only 2x a week on Thursdays & Fridays from 9 am to 11 am. During the summer though, they open on Mondays as well! See details here.

There's only a $1/person charge, which is very affordable compared to going to a museum and other commercial indoor play areas. However the line to get in is very long! Especially if you're a first-timer because you'd have to sign a waiver to get this key tag right here.

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My strategy is to get there around 8.50 am the latest. I know this sounds like a lot of work for y'all, but once you have the key tag, you won't have to get in the long line. And believe me, you'd be surprise to see a lot of other moms and dads who'd also get here by like 8.45 am.

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Strollers are not allowed, there are clean socks available for your kids to borrow if they need to, and there plenty of things they can do inside!

They have a bounce house, a giant slide, areas for the crawlers, plenty of toys from pretend cookware to Star Wars, fire engines, and dinosaurs. They also have costumes for the kiddos to play dress up with! But J's favorite is this mini 'roller coaster' right here!

And this one right here! No quarters needed, it's all free.

Yeah, he still tries to shoot some hoops even with his cast on. He's recovering though, we're getting that cast off this Wednesday :)

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No food or drink allowed in the carpeted area (which means the whole play area), so you're only allowed to feed your kiddo (or have a snack yourself) at the 'lobby' area (the one with the checked tiles).

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The Rec

REC stands for Recreation, Education, and Community. It is a 108,000 sq feet health and community center with an indoor playground, full-size gyms, indoor aquatic center with slides and even a child watch area!


It's a beautiful facility that opens from as early as 5 am (details here). And when you walk in you could easily find this awesome indoor playground in the lobby which is open to everyone!

J's favorite is this interactive wall of lights thingy.

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There's a restroom for kiddos inside this air-conditioned play area as well, which I love! Now the play area is awesome, but you gotta come check out the aquatic center. It's like a mini indoor waterpark!

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That area on the second level right there is the fitness room! They also have dance studios, swim lessons, party rooms, and even video games for kiddos to play. The guest pass is $10 but you have to be accompanied by a REC member. If you're interested in becoming a member, the details are here. You can be a member even if you're not a Grapevine resident!

Now if after all of the awesomeness I've talked about above, you still want that outdoor vibe...Check out this park that I like!

Parr Park

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Why this park? Because it has a good amount of shaded areas, lots of trees, and this awesome splash pad!

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As soon as his cast is off, we're going to celebrate like crazy here for sure!

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J was dancing to the sounds his daddy made. I don't know that this thing is but it looks fun to play! :p

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Lots of trees right? Love it. I would come in the morning though, it just gets too hot for me to enjoy it in the afternoon.

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Love that the restroom, picnic area, splash pad, and play area are all very close together. And best of all, it's all FREE!

Okay, one more thing : if you're around Main Street, Grapevine don't forget to visit this popsicle place that I really like called Hip Pop! My favorite flavor is : Busta Limes!


This is a throwback pic of course, look at how tiny J was!

Anyways, I hope that this post has been helpful. Stay cool, everyone! And Happy August!

Around Irving (with a Toddler) On Under $30

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

As much as I love downtown Dallas with its arts district, North Park with its shopping centers, and Lower Greenville with its hip-ness, I love Irving. I have to, it's my 'hood'! If I don't like where I live, how am I going to live at all? ;) Those who think that you always have to go to 'popular' neighborhoods to have fun are definitely wrong, not effective with their time, and probably spending too much money on gas and parking tickets (ugh, thanks downtown Dallas haha).  

Some days, I could just wake up early, take a shower, pack our lunch, and drive to gorgeous and cool places with J. But some other days, I just want to go to a place within my zip code without taking a shower. You know what I'm talking about, mothers. Sometimes you're in such a rush that you don't even have time to make breakfast and all that!


Now I love to go out with J, but I'm also on a budget here. I can't just go out everyday and eat out. So I'd like to keep the expenses of our activities next to nothing or even FREE and our meals at a total of less than $30. And in Irving, it's not that hard to do so!

Don't believe me? Just watch! *Bruno Mars voice


08.00 a.m. - BREAKFAST

JavaMe Up

Why do I love this place? Mainly because it's connected to the Irving Valley Ranch Library. It's a perfect place for me to get some breakfast or coffee/tea before taking J to a FREE storytime at the library.


They serve organic coffee and offer dairy alternatives like almond milk (yeay!). They also serve gluten-free brownies & cupcakes, mini macarons, and oatmeal.



My favorite is their breakfast specials, starting at $3.75 to $5.75 (bagels, sausage, croissant, etc)


Spacious with indoor and outdoor area. Simply cozy.



This is our favorite corner because they provide board games, magazines, and novels that you can use or read for FREE!




Hey, a mom's gotta eat.



You can get in through the main entrance or....



through an entrance at the library foyer.


*COST : bagels with cream cheese + caramel macchiato (small, no whip) + gf brownie = $11.52



10.00 a.m. - ACTIVITY

"1,2 ,Me & You" Storytime (1-2 yrs)

The storytimes at Valley Ranch Library are held on Mondays (for infants), Wednesdays, and Fridays (for 1-2 yrs). The one we go to is the Friday one.

The storytime starts at 10 .30 a.m but you gotta be here early to get a ticket (one for each person, and they run out pretty quickly!). We usually get there before 10.    The library is nice and quiet in the morning. Photos of the storytime could be found in my previous post here. They do a lot of singing, a lot of bubble-blowing, and a good amount of reading. It lasts for 30 minutes.



 11.30 a.m. - LUNCH

 LA Burger

They serve classic American comfort food with a Korean twist (or as they put it, "with Seoul" haha). Burgers with bulgogi instead of beef patties, asian-style tacos, and my favorite, K-Fries.

A friend of ours introduced this place to us, and he told us about the secret menu : Koreano!


No, no you won't find it on the Menu board, but trust me, they have it. Just ask for it.


*COST : koreano + k-fries + water = $13.00



Now by the time we finish our burgers, J would want to go home and take a nap, so I usually end my 'adventure' here. Plus, Mr. Man usually goes home at 5 and he'd expect dinner to be ready by then.


But! If your kiddo still has some energy left, take him to these following places!



The Tube

Because the summer heat is getting crazier, an indoor playground called The Tube at Irving Bible Church might be the best place to take your kiddo. It is FREE!

Or, when it gets cooler, you can definitely go to...


Victoria Park

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It's got a playground with slides and swings (pretty standard, but hey it's free, and it's bigger than Mustang Park) plus a lot of trees and a pond. I love it here, but not during summer.



If you want to get some afternoon snacks, we've got our favorite empanaderia to recommend to you!



Empa Mundo

Though with a modest interior and decor, Empa Mundo has remained "The Best of Irving" on Yelp for 4 years straight with its high quality empanadas. Serving menus like Criolla (beef, olive, raisins, and eggs), Cheesesteak, Brisket, and my favorite, GUAVA AND CHEESE, this family-owned business keeps people coming back for more even with its recent No-AC situation.


With her broken English, the owner Mrs. Miming is always eager to make you feel welcomed. She would say "Welcome, my friend! Have you been here before?" every time a person walks in. And most of the time, she would recognize the customer. She'd be like "Hey! welcome back!" :)



To our surprise though, she is actually an Indonesian too! How did she get so good at making empanadas? Well her husband is an Argentinian so she might have learned it from some family recipe.

Anyway, she treats me like her daughter , always taking the time to talk to us and giving J free empanadas and cookies without hesitation.Oh! We love her!

*COST : guava & cheese + criolla  = $5.4

* TOTAL SPENDING : $24.52 + $5.4 = $29.92


Still got more energy? Oh, please go home. Bathe your kiddo and make dinner. You got plenty of time to explore Irving tomorrow. If you want more info on what's happening in Irving, click here!