Whether you're trying to be the summer heat or winter blahs or for any time of year -- you and your tots need a break from your every day routine. From park adventures and library time to farm animals and holiday festivals, the city is full of toddler-approved activities.
When it's not too hot to enjoy summer weather, Forney's easy-to-find public parks will be your go-to destinations. For slides and swings, check out the small, shady Eastside Park at the corner of Aimee and Broad Streets or the sprawling, sunny Mustang Creek Park, which spans all of Longhorn Drive. With its gazebo and fountain, quiet Bell Park at the southwest corner of Trinity and Bois d’Arc Streets is perfect for toddler-tempo exploration. For an experience that will teach your tyke about nature, suit up in raingear -- galoshes and all -- and venture out on a dreary day. What's more fun to a toddler than splashing in puddles? Most of Forney's parks have covered areas for a break from the drizzle, if needed.
Ellen Brooks West Memorial Library
Forney's Ellen Brooks West Memorial Library (no website; 800 S. FM 741, Forney; 972-564-7027) serves the school district and the public. Visiting the library during school hours, and observing big kids can be interesting for your soon-to-be student. The library also holds toddler story times for a bit of social interaction with other little ones. The story time group meets in the children's area each Wednesday at 11 a.m. Or if you and baby need some quiet time, you can find a peaceful corner and curl up with a picture or rhyming book Monday through Saturday. Hours vary daily and according to whether there's a school holiday or not, so make sure to give the library a call before heading out.
The Gentle Zoo
Forney's Gentle Zoo (gentlezoo.com) is a community favorite where you'll find endless learning opportunities for your tot. Children get to pet and feed pigs, goats, sheep and more. Interacting with farm animals is an awesome activity for toddlers because seeing similarities and differences between each type of critter reinforces grouping skills. And yes, this trip is going to inspire plenty of talk to the tune of, "Cow, moo-moo-moo!" and "Duck, quack-quack!" Special Gentle Zoo activities include party packages, educational show-and-tell programs and train rides. Bring $5 per visitor and drop by Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m to 2 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Carrying out family-centered holiday traditions (without getting carried away) can help your little gift feel stable and secure, and close-knit Forney is serious about the holidays. The Gentle Zoo (gentlezoo.com) extends its hours in the fall until 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday to include a pumpkin patch and hayrides with general admission. Forney's annual Trail of Treats begins at 5 p.m. the Saturday before Halloween at Forney Community Park (no website; 241 S. FM 548, Forney; 972-564-7326) -- stop by early for toddler-geared activities. The 2012 Forney Hometown Christmas (forneyhometownchristmas.com) festival takes place December 1 on historic downtown Main Street. The parade begins at 9 a.m. with Santa on hand from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. for free pictures.