Think you've got mad blowing skills? To clarify, that's bubble gum bubble blowing, and kids under 12 get to find out if they're up to par when Wal-Mart stores nationwide host the fourth annual Dubble Bubble National Bubble Blowing Contest. Kids compete to see who can blow the biggest bubble. All bubbles are measured using an official Dubble Bubble Bubble Meter (extra points if your Dubble Bubble bubble can be seen by Hubble). From the preliminary contest, six finalists from across the country will participate in the national finals on August 7 live on NBC's Today show in New York City. The grand prize is a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond and a $5,000 donation in the winner's honor to Children's Miracle Network. Last year, nearly 1 million kids participated in the event, but it was 12-year-old Britney Radford of Tulsa who won the crown with a 13-inch bubble. Radford went on to be interviewed for newspapers and magazines and has even blown bubbles on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The fourth annual Dubble Bubble National Bubble Blowing Contest is Saturday at all Wal-Mart locations. --David Wilson
Don't pretend you didn't do it. Years ago, you were stuck in science class, listening to Mrs. Herberschlecker lecture for hours on end about homeostasis in meatpacking plants and photosynthesis in the arctic jungles of Greenland, and you were bored out of your skull. So you reached for a microscope and put non-microscope-friendly junk on the slide, ranging from fingernails to...well, we can't really say that. Sicko. But for those who like to see what weird stuff looks like up close, Nikon has just the exhibit for you. Head to the Science Place in Fair Park at 1318 Second Ave. beginning Monday for The Small World Tour, the largest photomicrography exhibit ever, which showcases hundreds of super-zoomed photos taken with microscopes. For 28 years, Nikon has sponsored a photomicrography contest that gathers the weirdest and most colorful photos derived from slides, and the Science Place will feature every winner from the history of the up-close contest. Take the kids for the combination of art and science education, or, at the very least, tell them that this year's leading entries include samples of rat brains, deer skin and semen. Or maybe that'll be reason enough for you to go. Sicko. Call the museum at 214-428-5555. --Sam Machkovech
The stuffing may be gone from your own Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, but the classic story lives thanks to the summer series of shows for children by the Creative Arts Theater and School in Arlington. A performance is 7 p.m. June 12 at 1100 W. Randol Mill Road. Tickets are $5. Call 817-861-2287 or order online at www.creativearts.org. --Charles Siderius
This will come as a shock to many of you and a huge disappointment to some others: Hank the Cowdog is not, in fact, the unholy spawn of two mismatched animals. That would have been way cool, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. Rather, Hank the Cowdog & the Curse of the Incredible Priceless Corncob is a musical comedy for children about Hank, the head of ranch security. Follow Hank as he tangles with the coyote gang and enjoys his newfound riches, i.e. a priceless corncob. The musical runs June 16 through June 21 at the ArtCentre Theatre of Plano, 1028 15th Place, Plano. Tickets range from $8 to $10. Call 972-422-7460. --John Gonzalez
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The Great Escape
Clocks, butterflies and nature, oh my
Looking for a way to keep the kids busy while they're out of school for the summer? Don't want Junior to waste another summer developing his PlayStation skills? Do you really want your daughter to become a daytime soap opera junkie before she hits junior high? If not, then check out Fair Park's Day in the Park promotion in which all the area's attractions and museums present special events. The Dallas Museum of Natural History is hosting the Outdoor Adventure Weekend, the perfect opportunity to help kids find a new summer hobby. The educational festival features demonstrations, lectures and hands-on activities to introduce young minds to orienteering, rappelling, fishing, bird watching, cycling and conservation. The museum also opens two new exhibits during the weekend. Tick Tock: Beyond the Clock teaches young minds about the concept of time. By crawling through the butterfly tunnel kids discover how, with a little patience, a crawly green caterpillar morphs into a beautiful winged butterfly. In the "Good Night Room" kids learn how time really keeps ticking around the world when they're asleep. Tick Tock runs through January 25. The other new exhibit, Just a Flutter Away, expands on the butterfly tunnel by examining the works of butterfly artist William H. Howe, whose paintings and mounted specimens reveal the intricacies of nature's flying flowers. Just a Flutter Away is on display through September 7. So whether your kids develop a new interest in butterfly collecting or bird watching, the festival should provide an outdoor activity to keep them out of trouble, for one day at least. Outdoor Adventure Weekend takes place Saturday at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, 3535 Grand Ave. Tickets are $6.50 for adults, $5.50 for seniors, $5 for students and $4 for ages 3 to 12. Call 214-421-DINO or visit www.dallasdino.org. --Jay Webb