The cracking sounds of line drives and fly balls spread throughout Stolen Bases's indoor facility, where baseball and softball players can hone their game. Eight batting cages challenge athletes to step up to home plate and hit pitches hurled by automatic machines, real-life players, or enchanted bobble heads posing as real-life players. Visitors can train on their own or request help from Stolen Bases's baseball and softball instructors who guide swings during private lessons and camps. The faculty includes former collegiate and professional players, such as Fontella Jones, who pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Away from the batting cages, an onsite pro shop stocks enough apparel and equipment to make any baseball mascot molt with glee. Staffers can help customers select gloves and bats from brands such as Easton, Rawlings, and Rip-It.
Fanny Kerwich, Lone Star Circus’s founder and current creative director, was born with the circus in her blood. An eighth-generation member of a renowned French circus family, she has been performing since age 6, delighting international audiences at Paris’s Lido and Moulin Rouge, Germany’s Circus Roncalli, and San Francisco’s Teatro ZinZanni.
Fanny’s performing experience and artistic vision now guide the nonprofit Lone Star Circus, which is a two-branched operation. Its performance troupe’s grace and athleticism shine during shows such as the upcoming winter spectacle, Cirque Banquisté. The circus’s school hosts classes for youngsters and adults, teaching them how to swing from trapezes, scale silks, and contort their frames so they can more accurately pantomime what Gumby would look like during a high-speed car chase.
One might assume that 40 acres of meadowland in Parker, Texas, carries a certain tranquility and peacefulness. That is, unless, that chunk of land has been transformed into a gigantic battleground for paintball wars. Fort Paintball has done just that, divvying up its real estate into nine fields, highlighted by 5- and 10-man Lego fields and a Big Game field. On the expansive fields, competitors duck behind oil barrels and massive spools, dodging shots and acorns launched by squirrels who want to get in on the action. Players can either strap on their own gear or utilize rental packages that include guns, rounds, and masks.
As part of a premiere PADI five-star National Geographic instructor-development center, International Scuba’s team trains underwater explorers in a variety of courses that range from snorkeling and skin diving to open-water and rescue diving. The heated, indoor salt-water pool accommodates divers from ages 8 and older, and equipment packages ensure all students are outfitted for their dives. Beyond the student level, divers can also earn their master scuba-diver certification, thus becoming teachers themselves.
Students who master any of these levels can then elect a related specialty allowing them to dive under the ice, discover underwater wrecks, snap photographs of marine life, and help protect coral reefs from predatory plastic bags. Students who have completed their desired level of training but want to venture forth with a group can also participate in a trip diving in locations abroad and in 30 rivers, quarries, and beaches in and around Texas.
Big Boar Tactical doesn't train their clientele on a typical gun range with stationary, paper targets. Instead, their trainers—each of whom has more than 12 years of professional armed bodyguard experience—take beginner shooters outdoors, where they move through a series of obstacles and shoot multiple targets set to various heights, distances, and parallel dimensions. Each drill teaches a relevant skill, from learning to draw a gun and move and shoot during the intro to handgun class to honing one-handed accuracy and using cover and concealment during the tactical combat handgun training course. Instructors can also help customers obtain concealed handgun licenses or master the use of various other firearms, including shotguns and rifles.
Upon first glance, those training and partying on Kick-em Training Facility's four indoor fields seem to be playing soccer. But they're actually engaging in futsal, a game whose smaller turf and heavier ball make it an ideal training opportunity for soccer players. Atop the green rectangles, athletes practice and casual guests enjoy open play. Birthday partiers can also celebrate sportily before fueling up with cake (prepared, perhaps, in the facility's industrial kitchen). The space also hosts dodge-ball games, and serves as a practice facility for students in mascot academies. Futsal leagues give the sport's local players a place to show off as friends cheer from wooden benches or unleash flocks of doves in their honor.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.