As the sun rises over the forested wetlands of Dallas County, a group of camouflaged hunters leads dogs to a blind. From their perch, the shooters wait to spot passels of ducks or pheasants. The gunmen raise their rifles. They aim. Then they fire. Their feathered bounty falls from the sky.
Scenes such as this are business as usual during the autumn months at Central Alabama Fowl Preserve. There, staffers help outfit hunters with the amenities needed for a successful day, including a lodge equipped with bedrooms, a kitchen, and a social area where groups can unwind. On the offseason, the preserve opens a skeet-shooting range to help clients keep their aim sharp.
The chefs at Dusty’s Sports Bar—though nestled in a new location inside Eastern Shore Lanes since this March—continue to cook up the same classic pub snacks and seafood that have sated their customers' appetites since 1959. Plates fill with hearty fare such as oven-baked stuffed potatoes, homemade soups, and seafood ranging from steamed Gulf shrimp to hand-breaded fried crab claw. In the rest of the 35,000-square-foot amusement complex, guests can bowl in the 24-lane alley, shoot pool at the billiards tables, compete in laser tag bouts, or practice for Olympic hurdle time-trials by vaulting over games in the arcade.
"You need to open a business and dress up other people's kids," said 13-year-old Aleigha Murphy, a daughter who'd outgrown playing dress-up with mom LaKisha. Aleigha's offhand comment took root in LaKisha's mind, and LaKisha founded Dazzle Me Kids Spa & More. Her princess- and spa-themed party packages often include age-appropriate manicures, makeup application, and temporary hair color and glitter, in addition to dress-up and fashion shows. Girls also can stop in for one of the kid-friendly spa services.