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Art&Seek Jr: Clang, Clang, Clang Went The Trolley!

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Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

In case you didn’t know, or you’re not a fan of WWII era musicals, the title of this post is a fond reference to “The Trolley Song“—a catchy little ditty from the 1944 film, Meet Me in St. Louis. I had always thought the lyrics were “Ding, Ding, Ding went the trolley,” but when I went to look up the lyrics online, I saw that they’re actually, “Clang, Clang, Clang went the trolley.” As I read the words to the song something came over me and I felt compelled to sing them out loud. This is one of those songs, like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” or the theme from The Brady Bunch, that when you hear even a few notes, you just can’t help but join in and sing out loud. I thought I was singing quietly, but apparently I wasn’t, because my co-worker immediately joined in from her cubicle for an impromptu sing-a-long. We started softly but finished grandly in true Judy Garland style. The commentary from fellow staffers started precisely one beat after we finished our performance. Note to self:  Be careful about breaking into song when you share an office with an arts critic.

"Rosie" was the name of the trolley we chose to ride. (Photo: Wynn Powell)

“Rosie” was the name of the trolley we chose to ride. (Photo: Wynn Powell)

Anyhoo, like the song says, there’s something truly irresistible about a trolley ride. It’s one of life’s best lighthearted pleasures that doubles as a great way to get around town. Last August Art&Seek Jr took a ride on Fort Worth’s Molly the Trolley and it was such a blast we decided to give the antique streetcars from the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority a whirl. MATA operates a 4 mile line through the heart of Uptown Dallas called the M-Line. The vintage trolleys run up and down McKinney and portions of Cole Avenue 365 days a year and are free to ride. Don’t worry about hopping on San Francisco style with small children. The driver will stop for passengers at the designated locations. Just look for the brown M-Line Trolley signs along McKinney to ride. So spend a jolly hour on the trolley and sample these sites along McKinney Avenue while you’re on your ride. Here’s a handy-dandy map of the M-Line so you won’t miss anything.

There are many stops where you can jump on the M-Line, but I’ve found that the West Village is the best place to start your trolley adventure. There is plenty of parking and after you peruse the shops you can easily hop on at the stop on the westbound side of Lemmon Avenue.

Join George Cortez for some drumming at Klyde Warren Park this weekend. (Photo: Wynn Powell)

Join George Cortez for some drumming at Klyde Warren Park this weekend. (Photo: Wynn Powell)

Jump off at Klyde Warren Park and plan to spend a lot of time there. I’m not lying when I say the the list of things to do is endless. You can sample the food trucks, climb the imaginary tree in the Children’s Playground or just sit and relax at one of the café tables and play a game of checkers. If you’re at the park on Saturday, you won’t want to miss the acting games and activities presented by Dallas Children’s Theater. They’ll be at the playground around 10:30 a.m. If you’re there on Sunday, be sure to catch drumming with George Cortez  at 1 p.m. in the Grand Plaza. Kids can pick instruments from his bag and play along with the beat.

After you’ve had all the fun you care to have at Klyde Warren Park, bebop yourself across the street to the Dallas Museum of Art. On Saturday at 11 a.m. kids can take part in a unique civic and arts educational event in the American wing of the museum. As part of the MAP 2013 project (Make Art with Purpose), the Yankee Doodles will present a morning of family fun with song, puppetry, and historical exposition relating to the American Revolution.

And speaking of history, on your way back to the car, you’re going to make one last stop on Oak Grove Avenue to explore four of the city’s oldest cemeteries–Greenwood, Calvary, Temple Emanu-El and Freedman’s Memorial. Far from ghoulish, it’s a beautiful walk along the tree-lined paths and you and the kids will discover a lot about the city’s past as you take a self-guided tour through the grounds.

When you and the kiddos have finished your adventure on the M-Line I have no doubt that you’ll be humming “The Trolley Song” as well.

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 8-year-old daughter, Rose.  Tell us about your quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at tpowell@kera.org