Fair but challenging seems to be the ethos of course architect Bill Johnston and The Hideout Golf Club, the 18-hole, 6,981-yard grassy gem sculpted into the scenic area surrounding Lake Brownwood. The par 72 flows through a circuit of wide fairways that let players liberally use their driver. Though treacherously placed, The Hideout?s sandtraps are also fair?most will reward a sound bunker shot. But while golfers will appreciate the player-friendly features, they shouldn?t take the course lightly. Ravines and water hazards come into play on multiple holes, and the course plays to a formidable 74.1 rating from the tips. To make the club even more hospitable, The Hideout has a dynamic practice facility with a 5,000 square-foot practice green and a full-length driving range, where golfers can practice hitting with every club and mastodon fossil in their bag.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Bill Johnston * Length of 6,981 from the farthest tees * Course rating of 74.1 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 139 from the farthest tees * Four tee options * Scorecard
Though the creatures on display at Dinosaur World don?t need much space to roam, plenty of care has been taken to furnish them a comfortable habitat. They peer imposingly from the hillsides, crane their necks up through native trees, and stomp through prairie fields. Although a life-size mammoth or T. rex might be hard to miss, little visitors might still jump with delight at noticing a baby dino suddenly appear from behind a bush. Giant brachiosaurus necks arch high above treetops, while toothy meat-eaters and spiny stegosauruses roam the world below. The fiberglass, steel, and concrete models reach up to 80 feet in length, and are built according to the latest scientific discoveries about what dinosaurs looked like and what styles were trendy in the Mesozoic era.
The first Dinosaur World location was a former alligator farm in Florida, and today it has spread to encompass outposts in Kentucky and Texas. As Swedish-born Christer Svensson began to fill it with statues, he consulted with experts around the world to not only create realistic reptiles but to surround them with fun, educational activities. Kids can sift through sand to find shark?s teeth, gastropod shells, and trilobites in a fossil dig, get to know some lizards a little better on the playground, or examine ancient eggs and raptor claws in the museum.
A patio extends from Bluff Dale Vineyards's tasting room, presenting an expansive view of the sun-drenched grapevines and sloping foothills that D Magazine called "impressive." This swath of land grows the succulent grapes used to make the winery's fruit-forward selection of silken reds and aromatic whites. In addition to an oak-aged cabernet sauvignon, crisp chardonnay, and sweet muscat, the tasting room features a Texas cream sherry that is blended with the traditional—and time-intensive—solera system instead of with an industrial-sized cocktail shaker.
Owners David and Theresa Hayes also host live bands at their winery from time to time, inviting visitors to attend for free, bring a picnic, and tap their toes to the melodies of such groups as the Double J-R Band or the jazzy Pearl Street 4.