For those that are not traveling this spring break and are looking for some family fun or engaging activities for the kids, here is a list of things to do in Amarillo this spring break. This list includes everything from enjoying some educational fun with the Don Harrington Discovery Center (DHDC); plenty of outdoor fun with Wildcat Bluff, the Amarillo Zoo, Amarillo Botanical Gardens and more; as well as some ideas centered around enjoying Amarillo's historic roots with the Panhandle Plains Historic Museum and Route 66.
Don Harrington Discovery Center
Starting off the list, the DHDC is offering two events, with its 2023 Spring Break Spectacular running Monday-Friday, March 13-17 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and its Spring Break Camp: ‘Round the World, to be held March 13-17.
During their Spring Break Camp: ‘Round the World, young explorers will learn how science impacts the world through adventurous experiments, cool demonstrations, and explorer-approved creations. Pick and choose which days to attend, or sign up for the whole week and save.
Pre-K Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Kindergarten through first grade and second through fourth grade will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Access to both pre-care and after-care is $10. To learn more or register for the camp, visit them online at https://discoverycenteramarillo.org/camp-discovery/ .
The DHDC's 2023 Spring Break Spectacular event includes a week of special activities and demos for all ages. According to the DHDC, this year’s Spring Break Spectacular theme emphasizes everything that Amarillo has to offer. People from all over are encouraged to learn how to “live Amarillo local” during their spring break.
Community partners that will make appearances through the Spectacular include the Amarillo Museum of Art, the Amarillo Police and Fire Departments, Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, the Wild Hanburys, and many more local vendors.
Included in general admission and DHDC membership, the public is invited to visit the DHDC during operating hours to enjoy their exhibits; watch mind-blowing demos; and meet local organizations, vendors, and community members that match a different theme for each day of the week. All children in attendance must be accompanied by an adult.
This year’s lineup includes:
Monday - Localtopia: Ooh and aah at local community members’ creations. Visit vendors at booths all over the DHDC.
Tuesday - Pi Day: Enjoy amazing live science demos and free pie on 3.14 at 1:59 pm. Including a pie contest judged by Ali and Sheldon from News Channel 10’s 2nd Cup.
Wednesday - Wildlife Wednesday: Interact with the weird, wacky, wonderful local wildlife. Meet the animals that call the Panhandle home.
Thursday - Livin’ Local: Have a blast with familiar faces like Ruckus and the Amarillo Wranglers. See everything fun that Amarillo has to offer.
Friday - High Plains Heroes: Meet first responders from the community and learn all about their jobs as our High Plains Heroes.
For more information, visit them online at https://discoverycenteramarillo.org/event/spring-break-spectacular-2023/ .
Like DHDC, the Amarillo Zoo is also offering a day of activities for the whole family to enjoy, as well as a spring break camp.
Their day of activities during Spring Break at the Zoo will be held Saturday, March 18 at the zoo, where families can enjoy a day of enrichment, crafts, keeper chats, animal encounters, and other fun activities.
For all-day fun, the Amarillo Zoo is offering its 2023 Spring Break Camp: Nature Detectives, to be held at the zoo at 700 Comanchero Trail, on Monday-Friday, March 13-17. Each camp day will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There, children can learn the difference between wildlife tracks; figure out who keeps making calls throughout the zoo; go on the hunt for camouflaged animals and animals that use tricky disguises; identify animal scat and how it can be used to trace an animal's diet; and help Mesa, the black bear, solve the case of the missing grapes using the knowledge learned from the week.
The five-day camp is $200 per child and available for ages 6 through 12. To register, visit the Amarillo Zoo online at bit.ly/amazoocamp .
For more information about the camp, visit the zoo online at https://zoo.amarillo.gov/camp-programs/family-programs/ .
For nature enthusiasts, the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center is offering a Hiking 101 for first-time hikers ages 5 and up and its Toddler Tracks for parents and children 5 years of age or younger. Both events will be held at the nature center, located at 1200 Streit Drive.
Pricing for both nature walks is $4 for adults, children and students ages 2 to 17 are $3 and children ages 1 and younger get in free.
With Toddler Tracks, the Nature Center staff will read a nature-themed book, demonstrate a craft or hands-on activity and lead a nature walk on Libb's Trail. Toddler Tracks will be held Friday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Toddler Tracks is for explorers age 5 and under accompanied by a caregiver.
Hiking 101 teaches beginning hikers what to expect on the trails, what to bring on hikes and what to stay away from. Hiking 101 will be held Saturday, March 11 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
For more information about Toddler Tracks, visit Wildcat Bluff Nature Center online at https://www.wildcatbluff.org/event-details/toddler-tracks-2023-03-10-10-00 .
For more information about Hiking 101, visit them online at https://www.wildcatbluff.org/event-details/hiking-101-2023-03-11-09-00 .
Palo Duro Canyon
For those seeking even more nature ideas for the family this spring break, the city of Amarillo recommends a visit to the Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
According to Visit Amarillo, the Palo Duro Canyon is great for exploring on foot, bike, horseback, mountain bike, or car. The entrance fee is $8 per person, ages 13 and older.
For more information on the park and all they offer, visit them online at https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/palo-duro-canyon .
According to the park's Facebook page, "If you’ve never visited us during spring break, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Our park will be busy! Expect long lines, crowded parking lots, and company on our trails.
Reservations, especially during the month of March, are highly recommended. If we reach our park’s capacity limit, meaning there is no more parking available, only those with reservations will be permitted; all others will be asked to leave.
As always, plan ahead of time for your trip and come prepared with a back up plan. Nearby alternative attractions can be found on our webpage, https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/palo-duro-canyon, under attractions. Be sure to check out our friends at Caprock Canyons State Park and Texas Parks and Wildlife - Copper Breaks State Park.
Keep up-to-date with the weather forecast. Weather changes quickly across the Panhandle. Weather for the canyon can be found here: https://www.mesonet.ttu.edu/.
Historic Route 66
If nature is not your thing but you still want to immerse yourself in the land, Route 66 offers plenty of history about the area along with some great shopping opportunities.
As stated by Visit Amarillo, Route 66 has everything a spring break vacation needs. From antiques to one of the oldest restaurants in Amarillo, Goldenlight Cantina, the Historic Route 66 District is a great place to roam and experience the past and the present in one place. Other must-stop locations include The Nat, The Roseberry, High Fidelity Vinyl and more.
From the Amarillo Museum of Art (AMoA) to murals and art instillations, a full day can be planned from all the beautiful views surrounding the city and for free.
For art enthusiasts, the day can begin gazing at AMoA's 15 art exhibits representing original works in all media, periods, and styles. Admission to the museum is free and open to the public. AMoA is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Afterwards, families can cruse around town and view all the murals and art installations including Cadillac Ranch, the Floating Meza, Ozymandias, and the Dynamite Museum.
Another fun option as recommended by the city of Amarillo is to explore vintage Americana at Jack Siesmore’s RV Museum. This is home to vintage trailers, campers, and mobile homes. You can also find a 1915 Model T Kampcar, a 1967 Hippie Van, the world’s oldest Airstream and the 1948 Flexible bus used by the Gornicke family in the Robin Williams film, RV. The museum is free and open to the public, Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Amarillo Botanical Gardens
Unwind at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens, located at 1400 Streit Dr. The gardens offer a spectacular and diverse array of plants, trees and flowers.
Admission is $8 per person, and it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information, visit them online at https://amarillobotanicalgardens.org/ .
Spring Break lunches
The Vessel of Humanity and Compassion will be serving Spring Break Lunches Hosted by Shi Lee’s BBQ And Soul Food, Sunday, March 12 through Sunday, March 19, served each day at noon.
Kick-off festivities will be held Sunday at Bones Hooks Park, where the non-profit will serve a hot lunch provided by Shi Lee’s BBQ and Soul Food. In addition, attendees will also receive snack packs to take home. Lunches will continue to be served through spring break at various schools and park locations throughout the city. At both the kick-off event March 12 and the send-off event March 19, activities such as bouncy castles, games, activities and more will be offered.
This year, with the help of Family Support Services and community volunteers, the organizations will be able to reach 10 to 12 city parks/school parks beginning at 11 a.m. daily.
Tremaine Brown, owner of Shi Lee's and founder of The Vessel, said that Bones Hooks Park will serve as ground zero for this program, throughout the week. Volunteers are welcome on any day. The organization is currently accepting lunch item donations at Shi Lee’s, located at 1213 SW 3rd St., or monetary donations via the foundation website, www.BeBlessedByTheVessel.org.
For more information or to find out where the lunches will be held, follow Brown or Shi Lee’s on Facebook.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: For spring break, Amarillo has lunches, staycation ideas, kids' camps