More than 100 exotic and endangered animals can be seen at Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch, an educational, nonprofit wildlife ranch licensed by the USDA and featured on the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs. Knowledgeable staffers pilot a fleet of safari trams that ferry guests across the park's sprawling pastures, dispensing enlightening wisdom as they pass zebras, kangaroos, emus, bears, and monkeys. The staff brings patrons face-to-face with many of the exotic critters and often stops to allow guests to pet and get to know the animals. Interactive presentations and small-animal habitats further educate visitors on the menagerie of rare creatures.
Hosted by former Dallas Cowboys Jay Novacek and Kevin Smith, Sportz Partnerz's ESPN "Lunch with a Legend" events invite fans to meet, greet, and eat with a selection of NFL players and veterans in private luncheons with no more than 100 attendees. Rudy's chefs barbecue infinite amounts of brisket, sausage, and chicken to fuel mingling among fans and football stars. The intimate event allows lunchers to get close enough to smell the fame for 90 minutes of posing for photographs, listening to NFL stories, and snagging barbecue-sauce-smeared autographs. The roster of NFL guests will vary by day and location, and a complete list will be available upon registration.
Named Best Honey in 2008 by the Dallas Observer, Round Rock Honey's 100% natural local wildflower honey is harvested from more than 90 sites by owners Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard and their crews of trained beekeepers. With precision, they remove the liquid gold from hives by centrifuge, ensuring that pollen, trace minerals, and complex sugars are never compromised during the honey harvest. They then pour the honey through a stainless-steel sieve to remove potential bee legs and wings, wax caps, and miniature tiaras before bottling it and selling it to specialty stores, farmer's market visitors, and online customers.
A similar procedure happens in other parts of the country at Round Rock's beekeeping schools. During classes, Konrad Bouffard and Beekeeping Academy teachers impart their beekeeping knowledge upon suited-up students while they extract honey from a live beehive. Along the way, novices learn about the finer points of raising bees and keeping them healthy, as well as bee handling and lullaby-buzzing.
When players take a tumble or dive at Gatsplat, they’re cushioned by the same stuff that protects NFL players from harm. Both of Gatsplat’s indoor paintball fields are padded by NFL-quality Astroturf, but these are not the only safety measures the staff puts in place. Professional referees keep watch over games, as opposed to off-duty clowns looking to score some free face paint. Players are also divided by experience level, and standard 68-caliber markers can be swapped out for lighter-weight 50-caliber markers so kids as young as six can play.
The 26,000-square-foot climate-controlled facility also has a comfortable viewing area with wide windows for non-players to keep an eye on the action. Free wireless internet access and a wide-screen television keep them occupied, and between games, players and non-players can discuss strategy or compare paint splatters as they snack at picnic tables.
At Paint with Flair, instructors kick down the barriers that traditionally stand between beginners and a paintbrush, starting by creating a comfortable environment. Couples on dates, coworkers looking to bond, or friends out on the town sip on BYOB drinks and snacks as they loosen up and get acquainted with the provided materials (classes for kids and non-drinkers are also available on the schedule). Teachers get groups chatting as they take them on a step-by-step walk through the brushstrokes, color selection, and witchcraft necessary to whip up their own fetching painting, whether it be a reproduction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night or an original design.