At Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park, visitors step back in time more than 100 years, immersed in the buildings and lifestyles of those who populated the land from 1840 to 1910. These historic structures have been slowly relocated over the last century to represent north-central Texas's storied past in one location: Dallas Heritage Village, the town’s first city park. Spanning 20 acres, the village is populated by 38 historic structures including a railroad complex, farmstead, church, and pioneer and Victorian homes, where actors donning period clothing await to educate guests on their customs while making them wonder if they accidentally traveled back in time. The site hosts regular student history hunts and seasonal learning programs, such as Plow, Plant, and Shear and Civil War on the Homefront.
Several years ago, Branndon Bargo and his brother set out on a mammoth adventure. Not sure what they were after, they biked 4,000 miles to Baja, Mexico from Alaska and found themselves submerged in the open waters of the Pacific, scuba diving with great white sharks. After a harrowing climb of Mount McKinley in Alaska, Branndon began questioning his motivations for staying at his desk job. So in 2005, he gently kissed his cubicle goodbye and founded Live Adventure as a means of encouraging others to challenge themselves while discovering deeper connections with the world around them. Within Cedar Hill State Park, Brandon organizes team-building programs and encourages groups to kayak, synchronize swim, and fish on Joe Pool Lake. Other expeditions include rock-climbing outings and custom guided jaunts around the planet.
Cindy Gibson hears a lot of ecstatic exclamations from first-time jumpers—including gratuitous use of the words "awesome" and "amazing"—but one of the most memorable remarks she ever heard came from a woman celebrating her 81st birthday. After landing, Cindy asked her why she waited so long to try skydiving. The woman replied that her husband never let her. Then she cracked a sly smile and said, "But now he's dead."
Cindy certainly understands the lifelong desire to skydive. "I don't remember a time when I didn’t want to jump out of airplanes," she says. But growing up, she figured you had to be paratrooper to do it. Then as a waitress in college, she overheard some customers talking about going skydiving, and she convinced them to take her along. The more she went, the more ways she found to improve the experience. With this newfound love and knowledge of the skydiving business, she sought out a parcel of land and a passionate team and founded Texas Skydiving Center.
Today, she and her team of instructors lead tandem jumps, static-line jumps, and solo free falls thousands of feet above their picturesque facility. Beyond using equipment and instructional methods that are compliant with the United States Parachute Association's standards, the instructors' claim their chief difference lies in the individual attention they give each client. Groups are kept small so that all are on a first-name basis, and the instructors ask each person what they hope to do in the air. A bunch of flips? Maybe a zen-like float? On the way down, they can even record the jumps with several filming options. An eco-friendly dropzone then awaits skydivers, where chattering guinea fowl snatch up insects, colorful songbirds flit through wildflowers, and a llama and alpaca knit their own wool into a commemorative scarf for each successful skydiver.
Ad-Libs' cast of musicians, standup comedians, and professional writers has poured out its spontaneous ideas and off-kilter humor through a quarter-century of frenetic evenings. The troupe performs in a cabaret-style theater, mixing video with scripted and improvisational comedy while inspiring audience members to participate. Despite their diverse backgrounds, the laugh-masters' shared knack for spontaneity should not surprise since most have studied in Ad-Libs' school of off-the-cuff humor, which imparts to students what it takes to get a full ride to clown college.