Photo courtesy of Lawn Love

Dallas residents looking to create lasting memories with their families don’t need to look further than their own city limits - and certainly not outside their state.

In a new report from lawn care company Lawn Love, Dallas scored No. 11 for Best Cities for Kid-Friendly Vacations, behind Houston (No. 8) and San Antonio (No. 10). Austin scored No. 29, and somehow Dallas' neighbor Fort Worth was all the way down at No. 44.

Not bad, though, considering 200 of America’s largest cities were ranked using 23 metrics, including affordability, family-friendly accommodations, attractions, transportation options, and more.

Dallas - a hotel-rich city - scored highest in the category of "staying" (No. 11). Dallas also did well in the "having fun" category (No. 14). The city ranked 21st for "getting around," and an inexplicable 53rd for "eating."

Houston, the highest rated Texas city, was classified as the third safest city for kid-friendly vacations, and earned the No. 6 spot in the category of “getting around." In the category of most amusement and theme parks, Houston ranked No. 5 in a three-way tie with San Diego, California and Denver, Colorado. Houston also tied at No. 3 with Baltimore, Maryland in the category of most children’s hospitals.

San Antonio was hot on Houston's heels, just making the top 10 with its highest ranking in "having fun" (No. 5), the highest of any Texas city. It also had a high ranking in safety (No. 8), and all its scores were above average, including the lowest ranking in "eating" (No. 97).

Austin did better than average on most metrics except affordability (No. 115 of 200). In an odd order, the city's best rankings were "getting around" or ease of transportation (No. 30), followed closely by "having fun" (No. 36).

Fort Worth lagged behind these four Texas counterparts, but still made the 78th percentile and beat cities like Killeen (the worst in Texas at No. 192). It did very well in "staying" (No. 16) and better than average in all other metrics than eating (No. 116), which sees to have dragged the overall ranking down significantly.

When planning a vacation, Christina Sharp, faculty member at MiraCosta College in California, says there are no rules that say all family members have to agree on what to do.

"Let folks carve out time for themselves and the activities they want to do and ensure that there are activities for everyone to do together," she suggests. "My 92-year-old father-in-law didn’t want to go to the beach – and that was fine. We went while he read. But we all did take walks, eat meals, and watch TV together – and it was wonderful."

Sharp also recommends families plan ahead when deciding their mode of travel, and to limit use of technology once at their destination in order to connect and bond with each other.

The full top 10 list of best US cities for kid-friendly vacations includes:

  • No. 1 New York City, New York
  • No. 2 Orlando, Florida
  • No. 3 Miami, Florida
  • No. 4 Las Vegas, Nevada
  • No. 5 Chicago, Illinois
  • No. 6 Tampa, Florida
  • No. 7 San Francisco, California
  • No. 8 Houston, Texas
  • No. 9 Los Angeles, California
  • No. 10 San Antonio, Texas

More information about Lawn Love’s report can be found at lawnlove.com.

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Dallas-Fort Worth bags 3 new Kroger supermarkets opening in 2024

Supermarket News

Three Dallas-Fort Worth cities are set to score new supermarkets.

According to a release, the Kroger supermarket chain is opening three new Kroger Marketplace format stores in North Texas in three cities: Plano, Melissa, and Fort Worth. Specific addresses

These will be the first new-build Kroger stores in North Texas since 2019 when they opened a store in McKinney at 1801 North Lake Forest Dr.

The stores will open in 2024.

Kroger's Dallas Division president Keith Shoemaker says the three areas were chosen because of their "booming growth."

Kroger currently operates more than 100 stores in North and East Texas and more than 200 stores total throughout Texas.

Marketplace format stores are multi-department stores offering full-service grocery, pharmacy, and expanded general merchandise including outdoor living products, electronics, home goods, apparel, and toys. Marketplace stores typically range in size from 100,000 to 130,000 square feet. Hello direct shot at H-E-B.

In 2022, Kroger opened a Fulfillment Center in South Dallas to focus solely on the growing demand for grocery delivery service. With spoke facilities since constructed in Austin, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, the company has added the capability to serve an ever-increasing digital audience and more remote communities without the need for brick-and-mortar stores.

With Boost by Kroger, digital shoppers have convenient options for every budget, including next-day delivery and same-day delivery in as little as 2 hours. If that's not enough, Boost members save up to $1,000 a year on gas, groceries, and delivery fees.

Dance inside the world of Disney at new immersive experience coming to Dallas

Let's Talk about Bruno

A family-friendly immersive experience coming to Dallas will let Disney fans feel like they're part of their favorite films. "Disney Animation: Immersive Experience" will make its Dallas debut at Lighthouse ArtSpace Dallas (507 S. Harwood St.) on April 20.

It's from the same team that brought "Immersive Van Gogh" to cities around the world, including a highly successful run in Dallas.

According to a release, the new experience promises to bring to life Disney classics like The Lion King and Aladdin, as well as newer favorites such as Encanto, Frozen, and more.

"Like so many of us, I have a life-long love of Disney films,” says Lighthouse Immersive founder Corey Ross in the release. “I’ve grown up with them since childhood and so has my family. The work lends itself brilliantly to the immersive experience and I am confident this program will give our guests the opportunity to be engulfed in the world of Disney, making them feel like they’re standing next to their favorite characters and seeing the world through their eyes.”

Ross describes how it begins:

“Just imagine journeying through Zootopia with Judy Hopps, diving to the ocean floor with Ariel, flying on a magic carpet with Aladdin, and stepping into Casita with Mirabel and the family Madrigal. This is where the 'Disney Animation: Immersive Experience' will take you.”

According to the release, additional interactive features include responsive floor projection design that "moves" with the audience and custom bracelets that light up in sync with the projections and based on the audiences’ movements. A particularly show-stopping moment, organizers say, is when the Gazillion Bubbles special effects team fills the 500,000 cubic feet of galleries with bubbles.

Oscar-winning producer J. Miles Dale (2018 Best Picture: The Shape of Water) is leading the creative team on the production, a collaboration between Lighthouse Immersive and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

“Trailblazing in a new medium is always exciting, and this is truly going to be the most challenging and rewarding project of my career," Dale says in the release. "Being entrusted with Disney’s rich archive of animation is a great honor, but also a tremendous responsibility. With such a wealth of material and a treasure trove of memorable characters, it will be a thrill to bring the work of all the great Disney animators and performers to life in a 360-degree immersive environment.”

Dallas' opening date is April 20, and and tickets (starting at $29.99) go on sale March 23 at https://lighthouseimmersive.com/disney/.

Spring break staycation ideas zip into this week's 5 most-read Dallas 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. 10 new ideas for a FOMO-free spring break staycation in Dallas-Fort Worth. It’s spring break time across North Texas. For families who did NOT jet off to ski the slopes or head to the beach, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in Dallas-Fort Worth. We once called this "staying home." Now it's a "staycation!" Here are 10 new ideas for fun things to do, even into the weekend.

2. Dallas police arrest man caught on camera dumping German shepherd. On March 11, the Dallas Police Department Animal Cruelty Unit arrested Ramiro Zuniga, 41, and charged him with Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals – Abandon, an A Misdemeanor charge. An investigation determined that on March 8, Zuniga intentionally abandoned a dog in the 9000 block of Teagarden Road.

3. Big day for music fans with news of a dozen concerts coming to Dallas. For summer concert lovers in Dallas, Monday, March 13 brought a bounty of good news with a big round of tours coming through Texas in 2023. In a single day, details were revealed for tours featuring Drake, TLC, Christopher Cross, Steve Miller Band with Cheap Trick, and Coheed & Cambria.

4. Truck Yard reopens on Dallas' Greenville Ave with famed frogs on the roof. An outdoor hangout on Dallas' Greenville Avenue has reopened with a new nostalgic feature: Truck Yard, which helped usher in the backyard trend that is now de rigeur in the food & beverage world, reopened at 5624 Sears St., AKA across from Trader Joe's, with $2 million in renovations that include an installation of the famed Tango Frogs sculptures.

5. Shop in East Dallas dedicated entirely to pickles closes its doors. A one-of-a-kind shop in East Dallas dedicated to pickles has closed: Pickletopia, a shop at 4812 Bryan St. that sold pickles of all kinds, closed its doors at the end of 2022, and according to its owner, is unlikely to return.