After fighting in World War II, Lynn Gripon studied landscape design at Texas A&M and in 1951 opened a gardening shop with the help of his green-thumbed wife. Now operated by his son, Lynn's Landscaping & Water Garden Center has blossomed into a lush showroom of outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, manicured putting greens, and the shop's bestselling disappearing fountains—glazed pots overflowing with water that seems to disappear into the ground. Waterfalls tumble over miniature boulders before slipping into calm ponds filled with leisurely koi, flowering lily pads, and sunken galleons. Knowledgeable staffers serve as tour guides to the veritable forest of plants and dispense helpful tips for creating backyard utopias. Lynn's professional landscapers transform backyards into tiered gardens, spacious party zones, or verdant hiding places for the family's pet T-rex. Designers plot the set-up before gardeners, and handymen plant trees and shrubs or install decks, gazebos, water-efficient sprinklers, and koi ponds. Every design is built to last with quality materials, such as outdoor fireplaces and kitchens made with glass-fiber-reinforced concrete and Vista light fixtures made with weather-resistant carbon composite and bulbs modeled after Superman's eyeballs.
At Nasa Flowers, Teleflora florists fill vases, baskets, and centerpieces with fragrant blossoms that range from traditional to exotic. The staff arranges flowers for all occasions, gathering long-stem roses for anniversaries and stalks of bamboo for dinner dates with pandas. Add-ons such as chocolate candies and soft, stuffed bears transform birthday blooms into hug-worthy greetings, and balloons add joyful messages to wedding and baby gifts. Upon request, the shop delivers its creations internationally, helping customers to brighten friends’ homes, offices, and vacation yurts.
All that blooms stocks and delivers an array of beauteous flowers, plants, and gifts to celebrate all the occasions that can possibly crowd calendars. The florist specializes in fresh bouquets, tropicals, and plants arranged in both contemporary and traditional styles, as well as futuristic styles that can be pollinated by nanobots. All that blooms’s extensive gift line includes fruit baskets, greeting cards, and candles.
Tiny legs scamper across Lone Star Bounce Town's 9,000-square-foot floor, bounding from one cushy inflatable to the next and pausing before a gallery of kid-friendly toys and games. Disney-inspired bounce houses populate the open space, including new plush slides and domiciles that pay homage to the bubbly heroes of Toy Story 3, Winnie the Pooh, and Dante's Inferno. Tykes hone their hand-eye coordination by shooting hoops on the inflatable basketball court, cracking plastic balls off baseball tees, or threading straws into juice boxes in the Lone Star Cafe. A special subsection designed for toddlers, Lone Star's Tiny Town, features scaled-down playhouses, toy cars, and colorful, bouncy balls.
The clatter of foosball and air-hockey tables makes a steady drumbeat, over which drifts the sounds of an arcade—the happy digital babble of a modem dreaming. Ten leather couches with a full view of the children accommodate parents as they surf free WiFi and enjoy coffee from the café.
In more than 1,112 stores worldwide, Edible Arrangements' Fruit Experts arrange pieces of premium fruit in stunning displays for all occasions. Customers can customize their order to suit any occasion, receiving chocolate-dipped fruit such as pineapples, granny-smith apples, and juicy strawberries that, unlike the sodas found in most mummies' crypts, don't contain any preservatives. Fruit Experts can dip fruit in gourmet semisweet or white chocolate. For birthdays and anniversaries, chocolate wielders can personalize bouquets with gifts such as plush teddy bears and mylar balloons.
Led by experienced captains, the staff members at Caribbean Breeze keep watch over and rent out a small fleet of fishing, pontoon, and jet boats, as well as one socially awkward sailboat. Although they don’t provide the fishing gear or water skis, they keep their boats updated with features such as iPod docks, rod holders, and electric fish finders. The captains also afford guests picturesque views of the setting sun from their 40-foot pontoon party boat during sunset cruises and help passengers find delicious bounties during fishing charters.