Even after dusk in the summertime, visitors to Engelke Farm are riding ziplines, whizzing through the air at 20 miles per hour. Suspended 60 feet in air, the cables allow exquisite views of golden cornfields and rolling, tree-dotted hills. Those content to remain earthbound can peruse the greenhouse, pluck strawberries and blackberries from the pick-your-own produce patches, or wander the cornfields, challenging scarecrows to staring contests.
Classic wooden rail fences surround the knolls and trees at Placid Hills Stables' 110-acre ranch, where trainers lead riding lessons and weekly clinics on several well-trained mounts, including resident school horses Yosie, Knuckle Puck, and Hermes. Tailored to accommodate riders of all experience levels, classes blend a survey of skills in a variety of disciplines—such as eventing, dressage, and the traditional western riding style—with proper care techniques. The facility can accommodate sessions in any sort of weather, thanks to the large indoor arena and the outdoor stone track, designed to be rideable after heavy rains or matches of the exciting hybrid of water polo and polo known as "wet horse ball."
After navigating the puffed-up tubes and passageways of Bounce Around Indoor Family Fun Center’s inflatable bounce houses, kids may never look at air the same way again. The stuff they breathe each day takes on new and exciting possibilities as they zip down huge, colorful slides and crawl through obstacle courses that emphasize fun over function. The play areas abound with whimsical decorations, from a barnyard filled with bouncy wooden barrels to a giant shark that scours the facility in search of tasty pufferfish. Not far from the bounce houses, arcade games subsist on their own diet of golden tokens, and tuckered-out kids replenish their energy with pizza, chicken wings, and soda from the concession stand.
On a given afternoon, Tiny Tots Tea Room buzzes with excitement while kids swoop down slides or tame a roller coaster designed for pint-sized thrills. Inside the playground and cafe, children ages nine months to six years old gleefully frolic amid one another while indulging in open play sessions held six days a week. The space features fun for both kids and adults, who unwind in Tiny Tots cafe while sipping signature drinks, such as espresso drinks or Tiny Tots tea, and noshing on snacks including wraps, housemade desserts, and plenty of gluten-, dairy-, and peanut-free dishes. In addition to promoting open play sessions, the space hosts birthday events with all-inclusive theme parties such as Princess, Rock-star Diva, Ohh La La Spa, and Playroom Parties on the weekends.
Since first enchanting moviegoers with a screening of The Desert Song on May 30, 1929, Madison Theater continues to treat attendees to the latest cinematic offerings. Designed by acclaimed American theater architect Thomas White Lamb, Madison Theater remained a single-screen establishment until 1994, and now projects motion pictures on seven screens, playing Hollywood features alongside films from local and independent moviemakers. As cinematic stories unfold before their eyes, visitors can scarf down handfuls of daily made, cholesterol- and trans-fat-free popcorn. Snackers seeking richer treats can request kernels slathered in canola oil or drenched in a soy-based buttery topping, which concessions employees also insert in the middle of the corn for lasting buttery taste and protection from the beaks of butter-syphoning hawks.
History books chronicle the happenings of politicians and leaders of a country, state, or city, but a folklorist shares the stories and lives of the people who made a community what it is. In the Ghosts & Legends tours—a series of tales about the local and infamous—Randy Felts weaves a blend of south Texas history and tall tales that date back up to 500 years. Randy loves a good ghost story, but what he loves even more is sharing a good ghost story. As a USA Today writer puts it, “Felts likes to emphasize history, culture and drama rather than ghost hunting,” which is further exemplified by his lack of paranormal investigative equipment on each nightly tour.