Located on a 90-acre site on the campus of Texas A&M University, the Bush Presidential Library and Museum entertains and educates with interactive exhibits and an exhaustive collection of artifacts. Opening September 1, the new Headed to the White House exhibit charts the presidential-election process from primaries to inauguration with hands-on activities, role-playing opportunities, and animatronic babies to kiss. Visitors can try running their own campaign, create their own election news story, or tour exhibits and sculptures including Life and Times of George Bush, and The Day the Wall Came Down.
At Lone Star Trapeze Academy, nothing but air and a safety net fills the vast distance between you and the ground. Classes teach fledgling trapeze artists how to navigate that wide open space by flipping and somersaulting through the air. Experts lead these private and group classes for people of all skill levels, available to circophiles aged 6 and older. Students begin by jumping off a 25-foot platform, using bars and swings to maintain their altitude, in much the same way as early birds did. The instructors help with every step of the process, ensuring the utmost in safety by fixing everyone with a safety belt before each high-flying maneuver.
Briarcrest Country Club's cardio-tennis camp gets hearts pumping with group classes that combine tennis instruction with boot-camp-style circuits in a high-energy workout environment. This one-hour outdoor class is peppered with calorie-burning aerobic tennis drills and agility training exercises such as ladder hopping, cone weaving, and snapping-turtle shuttle runs. Each session includes a warm-up segment, 30–50 minutes of cardio, and a short cool down, and the added use of a heart-rate monitor helps ensure workouts are safe for all participants and that no disguised cheetahs have been able to sneak in.
The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History welcomes visitors to its 9,400-square-foot naturalistic nostalgia emporium stocked with exhibits and collections ranging from archeological anthologies to local historical tidbits. The popular Ice Age Mammals exhibit poses large fossils and casts for tangible perusal, and the Carter Creek Nature Trail takes trekkers through the museum's front yard for an earth-friendly jaunt narrated by botanist squirrels. Hit up the Discovery Room for up-close glimpses of both live and preserved reptiles and arachnids, or swing by The Republic of Texas exhibit, a celebration of Texas history filled with Lone Star State memorabilia such as Santa Anna's silverware and the cowboy hats of tumbleweeds who fought in the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836.
With a number of hands-on activities tailored to kids up to 12 years old, The Children's Museum of the Brazos Valley excites the brains of younglings with educational excursions into science, art, and more. Wee explorers embark on a mission of epic proportions by blasting off into exciting exhibits, such as the Spaceship and Control Center, where gravity-defying kids will feel at home exploring the black abyss. Future Mozarts get a taste for music in Sounds Around Town, where tiny head-bangers can learn how sounds are made and how sound waves travel. Precocious foodies and shopping fanatics can visit HEB Groceries and learn how to apply math and budgeting skills, ensuring there's always enough cash for a three-course meal of pixy stix, marshmallows, and chocolate-syrup-covered sugar packets .
The North Pole's most famous resident descends from his workshop to share the lights, fun, and food of the holiday with revelers at Santa's Wonderland. For 15 years, the larger-than-life Christmas experience has dazzled visitors with sparkling, colorful light displays that stretch more than 37 acres, following a path traversable by car, horse and carriage, or hay ride. Said to be one of the largest Christmas attractions in Texas, this yuletide haven has been delighting families for more than a decade. After gazing upon the 2.5 million twinkling L.E.D. bulbs, visitors can head over to Santa's Town to enjoy a bite of barbecue and continue the festivities. Trumpeted by the owners as a "Texas Christmas Village," the community invites guests to shop at an old Western ghost town and little ones to hop aboard a kids' train before meeting Santa and one of his reindeer. Marshall Frostbite, the park's smiling officer, encourages visitors to watch a nightly holiday movie on a large screen, run their fingers through the fur of the barn animals in the petting zoo, and try their hand at riding a mechanical bull.