While Trail of Fear is now Oklahoma's largest haunted attraction, Hauntworld.com reveals that the original format was a small, roadside hay maze operated by a father and son in 1998. Today, a three-story pyramid looms above the theme park's frightful environs and prowling actors. Creators Bob Wright Sr. and Bob Wright Jr. supervise a staff of more than 100—a vast increase from their first crew of approximately 15 people and a few rusty table fans—as they guide visitors through four nightmarish worlds. Though the majority of these helpers return to the job each season with fiendish devotion, their strategies for harvesting screams evolve every year to surprise even the most loyal fans.
The Voodoo Bayou has proven to be Trail of Fear's most intense experience, where ghastly creatures dart from their swampland dens to spook trespassers and ask directions to the nearest zombie hoedown. Elsewhere, a maniacal ringmaster oversees the disorienting maze and murderous clowns of Cirque de Morte, and malformed test subjects rise from The Experiment's excavation and lab sites. Laughter and gasps join the chorus of screams at the Crispy Family Carnival, where performers inject dark humor into their classic sideshow acts, which can be viewed at the Thunderbird Trail of Fear.
On the Halloween Midway, Boo House BBQ supplies fuel for brave souls in the form of burgers and brisket. Fairground games embrace macabre twists; past activities include a severed-head toss and live-zombie target practice. For younger children, Pumpkin Junction entertains with scary stories and magic tricks on select nights. A portion of Trail of Fear's proceeds go to benefit a specific charity every year, contributing thousands of dollars to community causes.
Throughout wedding season, bells in the century-old Spanish chapel at Chapel Creek Winery ring out across the grape fields. Students of Redlands Community College's enology and viticulture program tend to the vines’ more than 46 grape varieties, taking part in each step of the winemaking process. They grow, crush, and reanimate the grapes before fermenting and bottling the wine. Guests visiting the winery can tour the fields, watch the students in action, and stomp on grapes inside wooden barrels.
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art still has that new art museum luster since construction finished on the elegant, 110,000-square -oot facility in 2002. Since then, the downtown museum has become synonymous with OKC’s burgeoning art scene. The museum is anchored by its world-class collection of brightly colored, 3D glasswork from artist Dale Chihuly, including his 55-foot Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower, located in the atrium.
An on-site movie theater shows independent, international, and classic films. After exploring the museum or taking in a film, visitors can have lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch at the Museum Café. The restaurant features an extensive wine list, and patio tables are available in warm seasons.
Reliant Stadium’s titanic venue, home to the Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, covers 125,000 square feet of sporting ground. The facility is the first in NFL history to have a retractable roof, which sightseers can view from the field during public gridiron tours. While strolling across Reliant’s stadium floor, fans can relive their favorite memories of Super Bowl XXXVIII, or search every nook and cranny for John Madden’s lost bus keys.
Set upon a bucolic farm with vineyards and a pond, the vines at Native Spirits Winery yield cabernet sauvignon, riesling, and syrah grapes. Vintners squish and craft these grapes into a variety of vintages, including sweet and dry reds and whites such as merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay, and shiraz. All wines are available for taste and purchase in the tasting room, and Native Spirits Winery frequently holds events that feature wine tastings joined by live music.