An autumn harvest fair. A Memorial Day celebration, punctuated by a 21-gun salute. A kids' summer camp complete with archery, swimming, and a meet-and-greet with a friendly raccoon mascot. These are just a few of the events hosted by Grand Prairie Parks & Rec, a department that has garnered a Gold Medal from the National Recreation and Parks Association. Its recreational facilities––including a pool with an aquatic climbing wall––and frequent social events bring the city together year round. Under the bright sun or starry skies, visitors can dance at a concert in the park, rather than just dancing to the rhythmic creak of a swing set. For longer excursions, the 791 lakeside acres of Loyd Park feature 221 campsites replete with cabins, picnic areas, and trails. There, visitors can paddle out on the water in a rented kayak, play a game of volleyball, or sleep overnight under the stars.
Several years ago, Branndon Bargo and his brother set out on a mammoth adventure. Not sure what they were after, they biked 4,000 miles to Baja, Mexico from Alaska and found themselves submerged in the open waters of the Pacific, scuba diving with great white sharks. After a harrowing climb of Mount McKinley in Alaska, Branndon began questioning his motivations for staying at his desk job. So in 2005, he gently kissed his cubicle goodbye and founded Live Adventure as a means of encouraging others to challenge themselves while discovering deeper connections with the world around them. Within Cedar Hill State Park, Brandon organizes team-building programs and encourages groups to kayak, synchronize swim, and fish on Joe Pool Lake. Other expeditions include rock-climbing outings and custom guided jaunts around the planet.
Originally leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1988, Meadowmere Park welcomes its guests to 250 acres of parklands and lakefront ripe for outdoor activities. As kayaks and paddleboats launch into Lake Grapevine and float across 8,000 acres of water, miles of trails surrounding the lake allow visitors to run, bike, and set world somersault records. As the evening sets in, tents sit beneath twinkling stars at campsites along sandy beaches, and special events unfold at a waterfront pavilion.
The Race 2 Rescue Color Run is an important event for Rescue Her, the nonprofit organization founded by Josie Carignan to put an end to human trafficking. Her organization’s mission revolves around two things: raise awareness about the problem and raise money to solve the problem. One of Rescue Her's main initiatives—and the reason why the 5K Race 2 Rescue Color Run is so important—is to use the profits from the run to build a safe house in Chennai, India, to shelter women and children from human traffickers.
An excellent resource for children to acquire new hobbies and meet new friends, Adventure Day Camps includes a full day of exciting escapades on the south side of Lake Grapevine at Meadowmere Park. At camp, young ones aged 4–13 can become reacquainted with the outdoors through a diverse assortment of activities, such as kayaking, archery, fishing, swimming, treasure hunts, target shooting, staring contests with intensely focused owls, nature study, and more. Snacks are provided to replenish the kids’ depleted energy at 10 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.
Kayak Instruction, Inc.'s tale begins in 2000, when Dave Holl and his friends went kayaking in the Grand Canyon. As he paddled through the crashing water and listened to the laughter of his friends, Dave came up with a plan to start his own kayaking school. He'd hire a crew of top instructors—certified teachers with a real love for the sport—and build a fleet of quality kayaks.
Today, Dave's crew of seasoned instructors boasts an abundance of kayaking certifications and awards. When the instructors aren't helping fledgling kayakers achieve mastery over their oars, they're parting Texas waters during tours of scenic landscapes populated by bald eagles, blue herons, and fluttering land sharks. The team also rents out an assortment of recreational, tandem, whitewater, and sea kayaks by the day.