A Collin County Mom’s Guide to the Month of January

It’s January! New beginnings. A clean slate. Let’s throw off the moldy old husk of 2020 and get down to better business. All that optimism, potential, and possibility that comes with a new year? WE’LL TAKE IT. Have a look at our roundup of January events and activities below, and get 2021 started off right.

And of course, it’s important to remember that things are still ever-changing. Check risk levels, mask up, keep your distance, and double check for last-minute cancellations of any and all activities.

As always, don’t forget to PIN IT for later OR subscribe to our Newsletter and have our Collin County event guides sent straight to your inbox.

All Month :: Last full month to see Dinosaurs Live! at the Heard in McKinney. Be sure to check the weather before you go, because they won’t turn on the dinosaurs if temperatures drop below 35 degrees. Visitor tips hereCOVID protocols here. Closed Mondays! Tickets are $12/adults, $9/ages 3-12. 2 & under are free.

All Month :: Penguin Days at the Dallas Zoo means $8 admission and a chance to see the animals actually awake instead of napping in the heat. Reminder that there are some new safety measures in place, and all visitors must reserve tickets online in advance (even members). 9am-4pm daily.

All Month :: The city of McKinney is great about putting together seasonal Activity Guides for their parks, libraries, and civic centers. Check out the McKinney Parks & Recreation Winter Activity Guide for all sorts of classes and events. How about Create Your Own Piñata for ages 6-12 on January 23.

All Month :: Do I need to move to McKinney? I’m loving all their programs. Locals, be sure to look into the Storybook Kits, available to check out from the library. They bundle children’s books on different topics: mermaids, singing, camping, Texas, space, new baby, potty training, and tons more! Free!

All Month :: I can’t forget Plano libraries when it comes to being thoughtful and organized. You can check out Themed Bookpacks (similar to the Storybook Kits) for preschool-aged children. Each themed bag contains picture books as well as a relevant activity, like a flannel board story, puppet, or toy. Free!

All Month :: If you live in Wylie, don’t miss their Winter Activity Menu! Hint: Skip to the Activity Index on page 17. You’ll be able to click on events sorted by location and age group, and there are little computer icons next to the virtual options.

All Month :: Want a little structure to your next park outing? Print this Bingo Sheet out and head to Old Settler’s Park in McKinney. I don’t quite see how it’s proper bingo, but it would work great as a scavenger hunt checklist for the kiddos. Free!

All Month, Fridays & Saturdays :: Cathy’s Critters (in Princeton, TX) has added Open Farm Fridays to their calendar in addition to their Saturday hours. If you’ve never been, check out the “Before Your Visit” info here. Friday: 9am-2pm, Saturday: 10am-4pm. Tickets $8-12.

January 1 :: Day 1 DFW (formerly Day 1 Dallas) is all about family fun, with proceeds benefitting Vogel Alcove, a nonprofit for homeless children and their families. In consideration of the pandemic, this year there are three ways to attend. Check the link for details on each option: all-access passes to Main Event; a virtual party with live and pre-recorded games, performances, trivia, and more; and a FREE drive-in fireworks show at Toyota Stadium. **Please note: Any Main Event passes must be purchased by 12pm on December 31!

January 1-3 :: It’s the last weekend for Skating Under the Stars in Farmer’s Branch. They’re doing limited ice occupancy, so be sure you book a time slot online in advance or you might have to wait a while. Masks required for ages 10 and up. Tickets: $10 for ages 4 and up. Skate rental: $5.

January 2 :: First Saturday at the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center in Lucas, TX, is a monthly event featuring guided hikes, kids’ activities, and raptor programs. Masks and social distancing required. Please be advised that the December First Saturday was cancelled. Be sure to check before you go! Tickets: $5 for adults, $3 for ages 3-12, under 3 free.

January 2 :: Allen residents! Your library offers a STEM Take & Make for children in grades 4-6 today. Learn about kinetic and potential energy using rubber bands and popsicle sticks to create stick bombs, catapults and to propel a tiny riverboat. Details on reserving your kits here. Free!
Note: They’ll also have a Mad Science Virtual Show on January 4 for grades K-6. When you register you’ll get a supply list so kids can participate alongside the presenter. 3pm. Free!

January 2-3 :: Head to Watters Creek this weekend to visit the Sweet Tooth Motel (modeled after the Sweet Tooth Hotel in Dallas). Book an exclusive walkthrough experience and enjoy a magical winter wonderland filled with fantastical deserts, frosted trees, northern lights, and more. Advanced ticket purchase highly recommended. Tickets are bundled, $10 per person. Max group size is 4.

January 15 :: Celebrate the Year of the Ox during the Japan-America Society’s Mochitsuki New Year’s Celebration. There’s lots planned: musical performances, mochi pounding and origami demonstrations, the first calligraphy of the year, and more. Don’t miss a chance to purchase limited Mochi Set ($25) or Activity Set ($15) to make the event more fun and hands on! See link for purchase and pick-up instructions. 4:30-5:30pm. Free!

January 18 :: Plano ISD celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a week of virtual programming celebrating the diverse Plano community. More details to come at the link.

January 27 :: Feeling a little isolated, parenting-wise? Plano Libraries will host Family Place, a virtual library program for parents/caregivers of children ages 0-3. Participate in a hands-on activity with your child, share songs and rhymes, connect with other parents, and speak one-on-one with local child development experts from our community. Registration required. 10-11am. Free!

January 30 :: One more for the Heard! Trail Guides will take you on a special Winter Night Hike tonight from 6-7:30pm. Sharpen your senses to spot signs of animal life and learn more about the inhabitants of the Heard. Check the link for night hike rules and to register in advance because these always sell out. $12 for members ages 3 & up/$14 non-members.

January 30 :: The Little Sweetheart Dance is for fathers or father figures and daughters ages 4-14. Enjoy an evening of music, dancing, and fun at this reimagined virtual event. 7-9pm. Ticketing details TBA.

Katie Lewis
Katie grew up in Dallas and then spent 10 post-college years in Austin, where she and her husband Mick welcomed a daughter and son (in 2011 and 2013). They've since moved to Fort Worth and find it to be quite fun and a great place for kids. Katie is horrible at social media but secretly likes Twitter best. Favorite uses for her phone: reading library books and listening to comedy podcasts. Least favorite uses: making and receiving calls. If you've seen Death Becomes Her or Big Business more than once, you'll be best friends.

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