Facebook/Farmers Branch Parks and Rec

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Texas' first glow-in-the-dark playground to light up in Farmers Branch. Fair warning to parents: A new Dallas-area playground will have kids wanting to stay up past their bedtimes. Joya at Oran Good Park in Farmers Branch, set to open this summer, will be the first glow-in-the-dark playground in DFW and all of Texas.

2. HGTV's No Demo Reno seeks homeowners north of Dallas for design makeover.A buzzy HGTV show is seeking participants: No Demo Reno, the renovation series hosted by Jenn Todryk, AKA the "Rambling Redhead," is casting homeowners who live north of Dallas. Way north.

3. High-profile new downtown Dallas steakhouse leaks opening date and menu. There's an opening date for one of the most high-profile restaurants in Dallas: Crown Block, the new restaurant from a high-powered hospitality team that's going into the Reunion Tower downtown, will open on Monday, April 17.

4. Speakeasy breezes into Plano at new bar featuring famed mixologist cocktails.Plano finally gets on board with the buzzy speakeasy trend, with a new place called The Wilfred, opening at Lakeside Market, at 4017 Preston Rd. #530. The concept is from Ryan Oruch, chef and co-owner of Plano’s Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill, which not coincidentally is located right next door.

5. Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa bake up big Dallas show as part of smokin' new tour. Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa will headline "The High School Reunion Tour," along with special guests Too $hort, Warren G, and Berner, and featuring DJ Drama. The 33-city tour will kick off start in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, July 7, and end in Irvine, California on Sunday, August 27. Dallas fans can catch the show on Sunday, August 20 at Dos Equis Pavilion.

Facebook/Farmers Branch Parks and Rec

Texas' first glow-in-the-dark playground to light up in Farmers Branch

Fun after dark

Fair warning to parents: A new Dallas-area playground will have kids wanting to stay up past their bedtimes. Joya at Oran Good Parkin Farmers Branch, set to open this summer, will be the first glow-in-the-dark playground in DFW and all of Texas.

Meaning: When the sun goes down, the true fun begins.

"Joya will be an inclusive glow playground that, while fun in the daytime, will come alive at night with interactive features that glow, allowing for day and evening play," a description on the Farmers Branch website says. (Watch a video rendering here.)

Translated as "jewel" in Spanish, Joya will feature both a main playground (for ages 6+) and a tot playground (for ages 2 to 5).

The main playground will span about 18,000 square feet, and highlights will include:

  • 27-foot sphere with 6 levels of climbing, swings and slides
  • Zip line with interactive lights
  • Spin Zone with LED lights
  • Swings
  • Obstacle course
  • Glowing seating

The 7,000-square foot tot playground will be in a fenced area and include:

  • Lit seating area under custom shade structures
  • Turf embankment play
  • Natural sensory play area
  • Two gated entrances
  • Ground level and ramp structured play
  • LED uplit spin zones

Oran Good Park is located at 13300 Dennis Ln., at the corner of Tom Field Road and Valley View Lane, in Farmers Branch.

According to Local Profile, it will open in late August and will offer not just a fun, light-up playground for the kids, but also activities for the whole family, with daytime and nighttime events year round.

The project is funded by a $750,000 grant from the State of Texas Parks & Wildlife and $4,000,000 from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, the city says.

"The Oran Good Park location was strategically selected for Joya not just for its central location and visibility but also for the unique topography and natural features of the site, most of which will stay intact," the website says. "The location features Farmers Branch Creek and walking trails which will remain."

As part of the planning process, city staff studied potential environmental impacts an negative effects of light pollution. All of their specifications are expected to meet International Dark Sky Association (IDA) and National Audubon Society guidelines, they say.

"A riparian buffer will be planted around the creek to help with runoff, pollutants and erosion, and will invite wildlife." they say. "Birds, toads, butterflies, and all other creatures will exist in perfect harmony at Joya."

To keep up with the park progress, visit the park's website and follow along on Facebook.

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44 new Dallas debutantes star in this week's most popular stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. 44 new Dallas debutantes begin Presentation Ball prep with glam parties and glorious gowns. With the start of summer vacation came the beginning of the 2023-2024 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League debutante season - even though it seems like just yesterday that the 2023 debs were Texas-dipping into society. The DSOL introduced 44 new debs during Announcement Weekend festivities, May 18-20. Their parties, philanthropy, and training will culminate with the 38th Presentation Ball.

2. 21 North Texas museums offer free admission to military families this summer. Nearly two dozen Dallas-Fort Worth museums are honoring active duty military personnel and their families with free admission through the Blue Star Museums initiative, May 20-September 4, 2023.

3. 11 Dallas icons star in new book of most influential Texans from last 50 years. To commemorate Texas Monthly's 50th anniversary, the publication has collected the stories and photographs of 50 iconic Texans who have shaped the state and the country over the past 50 years for a book called Lone Stars Rising. Eleven Dallas megastars have made the roster.

4. These are the 7 best most intriguing hot dogs in Dallas right now. Hot dogs are the quintessential summer food and an item that nearly everyone loves. They're simple, flavorful, easy to make at home, and affordable if you dine out. Here are the seven most interesting hot dogs you can find in Dallas-Fort Worth.

5. Mississippi sisters debut perky Southern-chic boutique on Dallas' Greenville Avenue. When Allison and Anna Williams graduated from University of Mississippi in 2021, they didn't picture themselves owning a boutique on Lower Greenville in Dallas. But the Williamses' new women's clothing boutique, Five 54, opened this spring at 1906 Greenville Ave., next to Clark's Barbershop, in the buzziest neighborhood in town.

Dallas-Fort Worth arrives at surprising spot among top summer travel destinations


Dallas-Fort Worth recently racked up more than a dozen accolades at the 2023 Texas Travel Awards. But a new survey reveals it's not necessarily such a hot travel destination this summer.

DFW comes in at a middle-of-the-road No. 45 in WalletHub's recent 2023 Best Summer Travel Destinations report.

The report compared 100 of the largest metro areas in America across 41 metrics, including number of attractions.

DFW scored an overall rating of 52.56 out of 100. Broken down by category, the Metroplex ranked 86th in "Travel Costs & Hassles;" 32nd in "Local Costs;" 20th in "Attractions;" 41st in "Weather;" 27th in "Activities;" and 50th in "Safety."

Taking the top spot in Texas was San Antonio, at No. 11, with Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown at No. 14. Behind Austin and San Antonio in the 2023 rankings is El Paso (No. 18), then Houston (No. 38). After 45th ranked DFW came Corpus Christi (No. 62), and McAllen (No. 86).

Dr. Susan Weidmann, assistant professor in the department of recreational management and physical education at Appalachian State University, said in the report that summer 2023 is going to be a “good season for travel” despite recent economic downturns that have many worried about a recession.

“Coming out of Covid, I think many people have taken these last few years to really evaluate what they want out of life, and for those that love travel, I think they have probably put it at the top of their list of things to do,” she said. “As far as economics are concerned, many may have saved their traveling money from the last multiple years, so will have money to spend. That being said, after the airline chaos of last year, many people may be thinking about domestic travel over the long-haul, just to alleviate many of the concerns that airlines, especially in Europe, are still grappling with, such as reduced staffing leading to flight cancellations.”

Weidmann predicts the time period between July and early August will be the most popular season for National Parks, like Texas’ Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains.

Despite none of them being in Texas, the top 10 destinations in WalletHub’s report are all popular cities worth a glance in sun-friendly states like Hawaii, New York, and Florida.

The top 10 best summer destinations are:

  • No. 1 – Atlanta
  • No. 2 – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • No. 3 – Washington, D.C.
  • No. 4 – Wichita, Kansas
  • No. 5 – New York City
  • No. 6 – Chicago
  • No. 7 – Tampa, Florida
  • No. 8 – Orlando, Florida
  • No. 9 – Richmond, Virginia
  • No. 10 – Springfield, Missouri

Score a hole in one at these 10 top public golf courses in Dallas-Fort Worth

Tee Time

North Texas recently popped the cork for the new $520 million Omni PGA Frisco Resort, which opened in May and features its own entertainment district, full-service spa and salon, four swimming pools, 500 guest rooms and suites, 10 private ranch houses, and 13 unique dining options.

But as the name hints, the resort is very much about the golf. With Father's Day around the corner, we're revisiting Dallas-Fort Worth's best public courses, including the two newest ones found in Frisco and their alternative ways to play.

Load up the clubs and hit the green with this list:

Fields Ranch
Omni PGA Frisco Resort boasts two 18-hole championship golf courses, collectively known as Fields Ranch. Fields Ranch East was designed by Gil Hanse, and Fields Ranch West by Beau Welling.

Registered hotel guests can book tee times 120 days in advance of their stay to play Fields Ranch, which will be home to 26 major championships starting in May and continuing through 2034.

Not ready for the full 18-hole experience? Take a few practice swings at the Fields Ranch Practice Facility, then head to The Swing, a lighted 10-hole, par-3 short course, or The Dance Floor, a two-acre putting course and entertainment area.

This will also be the site of Frisco's first Lounge by Topgolf and PGA of America's new headquarters.

Take advantage of all that expertise at the PGA Coaching Center, which offers a high-tech, data-driven club-fitting and instruction experience.

Cowboys Golf Club
If you're a die-hard fan of both the 'Boys and the links, here's where your passions combine. The par-72, 6,553-yard course is as swanky as you'd expect from Jerry Jones, with years of Cowboys history scattered throughout. Of course, with all this top-of-the-line design comes a rather hefty price tag for the green fees, but you do definitely get your money's worth.

Meadowbrook Golf Course
Fort Worth
The 18-hole regulation facility is considered one of the top in Texas, with a par 71 that covers the most rolling terrain in the city. It's also a popular course, with a golf association of more than 200 members who play regularly.

Stevens Park Golf Course
Oak Cliff
All 18 holes of this par-70 course were completely redesigned in 2011, including new tee boxes, fairways, greens, and bunkers. Even the carts boast newly installed TekGPS units that track yardages to the front, middle, and back of the green (and help keep play moving). Appreciate mature oaks, dramatic elevation changes, and great views of downtown Dallas while you traverse the course, which is also affectionately known as "Little Augusta."

Pecan Valley
Fort Worth
Originally designed by golf course architect Ralph Plummer in 1963, Pecan Valley is actually two 18-hole golf courses separated by the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. The "River" course is considered one of the top municipal courses in Texas, while the "Hills" course is approximately 150 yards shorter. Several hundred trees were semi-recently planted and are just beginning to mature, which only bodes well for playing conditions in the years to come.

Texas Star Golf Course
The accolades come rolling in for this course, which has been recognized for its beauty and serene atmosphere by Golf Digest and Golf Weekly, among others. Unlike most public courses, which back up to private homes or run along busy streets, this par-71, 6,529-yard course is truly secluded, surrounded only by ponds, waterfalls, woodlands, and fairways. Reasonable green fees are a bonus, with residents of Euless receiving a 15 percent discount with proof of residence.

Tierra Verde Golf Club
As the first municipal course in the world to be certified as an Audubon Signature Sanctuary, Tierra Verde offers breathtaking natural scenery to go along with its challenging holes. The par-72 6,085-yard layout boasts some of the most uniquely designed holes in DFW, and was named the top course in DFW in 2012 by Avid Golfer.

The Tribute Golf Club
The Colony
Not had the chance to play Hogan's Alley at Carnoustie, Nos. 1 and 18 from St. Andrews, or the fifth from Royal Troon? Then you can experience the next best thing here in Texas, without having to fly across the pond. This par-72, 7,000-yard course is brilliantly designed while replicating the best links-style courses from the United Kingdom.

Waterchase Golf Club
Fort Worth
Like its name implies, Waterchase does indeed boast a cascading waterfall, found between the ninth and eighteenth greens. From tree-lined doglegs to split fairways, the risk and reward opportunities are abundant for the six sets of tees on the par-72 course. The club even received a nomination to Golf Digest's best new courses and promises to be "a round you'll remember."