Hosted by the Amarillo Zoological Society, the fourth-annual Zoo-la-Palooza benefit event transforms the Amarillo Zoo into an after-hours fete, showering the 15-acre kingdom with live music, tantalizing treats, and a silent auction. Gallivant through Thompson Park and enter the zoo’s premises, where flocks of hobnobbing supporters relish enticing edibles and specialty drinks and hone their telepathic prowess on enigmatic lions. Bid in anonymity on a selection of donated items, services, and gift certificates during a silent auction as a thankful horde of mammals, birds, and reptiles ooh and ahh in support. An included steak dinner is catered by Country Barn Steakhouse and, throughout the night, music escapes the clutches of the euphonious Insufficient Funds and wafts through the open sky, motivating gala-goers to give brazen frill lizards a smackdown during interspecies dance-offs.
At Circus Gatti, exotic animals, hilarious showmen, and thrilling daredevils delight families in an outrageous three-ring spectacle. During the two-hour show, elephants Tika and Patti stomp to Bollywood choreography, and the Liberty Ponies knock their synchronized hooves under the deft direction of Miss Genevieve. The BMX Freaks soar through the air with but the aid of their agile bikes and their helium-infused bones, and Miss Beehaven delivers further aerial thrills while fluttering beside her hive in an aerial ballet. Hirsute humorist Laughing Leo elicits chuckles with his comedy routine, and Miss Natalia induces awe with an aerial contortion act rarely seen outside Russia.
Bronze castings, beadwork, and art by more than 100 artists of the American Plains and Southwest line the walls at the Kwahadi Museum, providing visitors an enlightening glimpse of the Kwahadi, a band of Comanche people who hunted on the High Plains of Texas. The adobe-styled museum also displays the paintings, manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts of Thomas E. Mails, the late artist and author who has fed hungry libraries with 14 tasty tomes about American Indians, including Mystic Warriors of the Plains. Upcoming exhibits include the Perry Null Game Animal collection and Birds of the High Plains, and lucky visitors might catch one of the Kwahadi dancers' regular performances at the museum. Feel free to barter currency for elegant jewelry, pottery, paintings, dolls at the Trading Post, the museum's gift shop, which hosts collectibles from more than 100 native artisans.
YMCA of Amarillo has opened its doors to peoples of all faiths, races, income levels, and abilities since 1937. Today staffers continue to uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they ensure each location is a safe place for members to play, exercise, and strengthen family bonds weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. Adults can take aquatic, boot-camp, and Zumba classes or workout within fitness centers filled with cardio and strength-training equipment. Kids, meanwhile, can join in on youth basketball and soccer matches or stimulate their imagination, mental development, and growth in afterschool programs, homework-assistance sessions, and art classes. To help guests of all ages get in touch with their creative sides, local artists host writing groups, dance courses, and photography classes.
YMCA of Amarillo emphasizes the importance of cultural enrichment in their community as well—they partner with such community-based organizations as Boy Scouts of America, Lone Star Ballet, and Amarillo Opera. They also further strengthen the community by offering much-needed funding to children and families who cannot afford the full cost of any of these progressive programs.
CrossFit 806's dedicated coaches are extensively trained in the CrossFit regimen, with individual concentrations in football, gymnastics, and power lifting. Their varied backgrounds allow the gym to offer a variety of CrossFit sessions, including ones that cater to newbies, seasoned athletes, teens, and young children. There are also childcare services available onsite, so tykes can stay safe while their parents work out or build treehouses out of free weights.
River Breaks Ranch––a ConnectArmarillo.com Best Bet––loads city folk onto its wagon and transports them to the Old West, complete with a wagon ride and a horse race. See the Spanish Skirts through the eyes and horse blinders of early settlers on the 20-minute wagon ride through the canyon. Upon arrival at the grub location, participants dig into a hearty dinner of either chicken or beef fajitas. Meals are cooked over an open mesquite fire and accompanied by a cowboy's warbling, then finished off with the sweet notes of Texas cobbler. After licking the plate clean, don a 10-gallon derby hat and head to the horse track, where every rancher can bet their provided Ranch Bucks, good for ranch discounts or turning into salad dressing, on one of four to eight majestic steeds with the chance to win a trophy.