Bo Poole's family farm is a working farm—complete with harvests of sweet corn, eggplant, and purple-hull peas—but it is also a family destination for autumnal fun. The farm's country store also allows visitors to stock up on honey harvested onsite, pumpkin-cake mixes, and corncobs that may be taken home and popped or planted in hopes of sprouting a popcorn bush. Along with developing P-6 Farms' yearly harvest, Bo develops the public's agricultural know-how with an annual fall festival filled with family-friendly activities. Tractor-drawn hayrides give passengers a first-hand look at farm life, and the 8-acre corn maze allows them to get up close and personal with America's most celebrated crop as they navigate twists and turns in search of the exit. Other autumnal amusements include a life-size human spider, target-shooting with a kid-friendly water canon, and a pumpkin patch.
A Triple-A affiliate of the 2010 and 2011 American League Champion Texas Rangers, Round Rock Express players bat, slide, steal, and knock spherical things out of The Dell Diamond. Managed by former Rangers' outfielder Bobby Jones, the team receives its silent hand signals and coaching from former major-league player Spike Owen, pitching coach Terry Clark, and star of Major League: Back to the Minors Scott Bakula. Watch this squad of dynamos take on their bat-swinging foes, and catch air-conditioned respites in the chic, WiFi-enabled Intel Club during slow innings, rain delays, or catastrophic nacho spills.
There aren’t many fighters who can say that they have their own day. Then again, there aren’t many fighters like Richard Lord. Known as the godfather of Austin boxing, he ran the boxing circuit as a professional boxer and fought a number of rounds in the old Austin Coliseum. A powerhouse presence for more than 30 years, Richard Lord has trained world-champion combatants, including Jesús "El Matador" Chávez and Anissa "The Assassin" Zamarron, and organized the first all-female boxing match sanctioned by U.S. Amateur Boxing, Inc. Looking at all of his achievements, it’s no surprise that the Austin boxing community marks its calendar for March 31, Richard Lord Day.
Inside his gym, he trains reigning prizefighters right next to first-timers in his old-school yet welcoming boxing gym. A team of amicable boxing trainers helps aspiring pugilists to pare off pounds quickly, float like butterflies, and sting like adult-contemporary singers during sweat-soaked sessions that cover form, rhythm, and timing.
Seasoned kayaker John Cline paddles with a local hotel concierge along the Colorado River, periodically explaining that kayaking is perfectly safe for beginners and an ideal way to savor the pleasant Texas weather. Suddenly, the sky erupts and an onslaught of rain drenches the waterborne duo. They rest their paddles on their laps, look at each other, and start laughing. Rising Phoenix Adventures' kayak and canoe trips create these unique memories so regularly that one Belgian businesswoman even makes annual trips to the area just to ride the class-1 river. Since establishing the outdoor-excursion company in 2004 with barely 10 kayaks and canoes, Cline has more than quadrupled his fleet to accommodate the ever-increasing demand. After alighting one of the trusty vessels, adventurers set off to navigate through the river's islands and beneath a scenic half-mile tree canopy, where the shores offer glimpses of wild pigs, great blue herons, and undomesticated beach umbrellas.
Standing atop a small hill and shrouded beneath low-lying branches, a hunter looks out over a pond. A thick expanse of brush lies on the far bank, and he knows that once his target flies, he'll only have seconds to shoot before it disappears beyond the foliage. The hunter, however, isn't actually hunting. He's warming up on one of Rio Brazos Hunting Preserve's two sporting-clays courses, which integrate the preserve's habitats of prairie grass, shore brush, and tree lines that are home to quail, chukar, and pheasant. Instructors lend insight to all levels of sport shooters, and hunting guides bring along trained bird dogs to recover downed game and feral squeaky toys. The preserve also allows fishing on its 15 lakes, each stocked with largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie. A more than 5,000-square-foot pavilion lends a resting place between adventures in the field. The preserve's team can also help coordinate lodging with discounted rates at nearby hotels.
At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.