GRAPEVINE — Birthday parties for kids these days tend to be a little more extravagant than the old pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, smash the candy-filled piñata with a stick and bob for apples backyard extravaganzas of days gone by.

For youngsters celebrating their 10th birthday this year, the news gets even better.

Throughout 2021, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth and SEA LIFE Grapevine are inviting all children who turn 10 years old to visit and enjoy their attractions for free on their birthday.

To add icing to the cake, these entertainment attractions, located about two-and-a-half hours north of Killeen-Fort Hood, are offering a combined total of more than 10 events to keep the party going all year long. Since 2011, the two facilities have welcomed guests to witness breath-taking ocean encounters and the ultimate indoor LEGO® playground.

More details are to be released as the year goes on, but for now, some of the special events for 2021 are to include an all new 4D film, a Pirate Party and a PJ Masks adventure at SEA LIFE Grapevine. Kids — and adults — can try out one of LEGO’s newest products, LEGO Dots, in an interactive experience offering creative activities for all ages.

Other scheduled activities include:

Winter:

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth: LEGO Dots Event

SEA LIFE Grapevine: PJ Masks Event

Spring:

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth: 10th Bricktastic Birthday Celebration and Pirates Ahoy! Event

Summer:

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth: New 4D Movie and NINJAGO 10th Anniversary Event

SEA LIFE Grapevine: 10th Sharktacular Birthday Celebration

Fall:

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth: Brick or Treat

SEA LIFE Grapevine: Spooky Seas

Winter:

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth: Holiday Bricktacular

SEA LIFE Grapevine transports guests into an amazing underwater world. Prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays and powerful sharks. With an amazing 360-degree ocean tunnel, 30 display tanks and thousands of sea creatures, the aquarium is the perfect stop for family fun. To get any closer, you would have to get wet! Tickets start at $19.99 for ages 3 and up. Children 2 and under free. For more information, go to www.visitsealife.com/grapevine. SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium is located at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, Texas. Phone is 469-444-3050. Or follow them on Facebook @sealifegrapevine, Twitter @sealifegrpevine and Instagram @sealifeusa.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth opened at Grapevine Mills Mall in March 2011. The 35,000-square-foot indoor attraction, geared towards children ages 3 to 10 and their families, features millions of LEGO® bricks and offers a fun, highly interactive and educational two to three hour experience. Interactive features include hands-on play areas, a 4D cinema, LEGO® rides, outdoor water playground, special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, and a signature MINILAND exhibit featuring replicas of North Texas landmarks made out of LEGO® bricks. Admission is $22.99 for guests 3 and older, free for kids 2 and under. Adults must be accompanied by children to enter. For more information visit www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/dallas-fw/ Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @ldcdfw.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Fort Hood’s Belton Lake Outdoor and Recreation Center (BLORA), at the intersection of North Nolan Road and Cottage Road, offers a number of fun-filled outdoor family activities, including such things as camping sites, picnic pavilions, hiking, sightseeing, bird watching, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, paintball, a 53-foot outdoor climbing wall and an archery range. Admission for military patrons is $3 per car; all others are $10 per vehicle.

The Recreation Equipment Checkout Center, located within the garrison 14 miles southwest of BLORA, is available to authorized Family and MWR patrons, and offers such equipment rentals as kayaks, canoes, wakeboards, skis, knee boards, tubes, camping equipment, pop-ups/travel trailers, accessories and more. Go to hood.armymwr.com for more information.

Fort Hood’s Apache Arts and Crafts Center is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for those interested in do-it-yourself projects, including picture frames, ceramics and ceramics birthday parties for kids. Also offered at the center, 761st Tank Battalion and 62nd Street, Building 2337, is screen-printing, embroidery and a wood shop.

The center has a Resiliency through Art program that offers a quiet area with art materials for soldiers to create “whatever comes to mind.” It is available free of charge to all active-duty soldiers during the week until 5 p.m. Soldiers may take their work with them, or leave it at the center to be displayed for others to see. For more information, contact MWR.

For some relaxing indoor entertainment, head on over to Central Texas College’s Mayborn Science Theater in Killeen and its ongoing lineup of new weekday matinees, classic movie showings and Laser Friday presentations. Saturday matinees run all day, and weekday matinees are on Wednesdays. For complete show descriptions, directions, membership information and more, go to starsatnight.org.

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