Brad and Judy Lee are devoted environmentalists: Judy is a wildlife rehabilitator, and both received an award from the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council in 2005 for their work. So it's hardly a surprise that after visiting a few aerial parks in the Northeast in 2012, the couple decided they wanted to give Texans a chance to mingle with Mother Nature, too. Spread across seven acres near Trinity River, the result—Trinity Forest Adventure Park—immerses visitors in a world free of cell phones, job worries, and pay-per-view sunsets.
Here, adventures unfold on six aerial courses, each with a different degree of difficulty. Thrill-seekers zip, dive, and soar through 200-year-old oaks as they conquer more than 70 rope bridges, ziplines, cargo nets, and ladders, all while safely attached to a harness. No matter the course, though, trips are what guests make them: they can be laid back and appreciative of the surroundings, or adrenaline-pumping tests of mettle.
The adventure doesn't have to end at the finish line, either. The neighboring Southern Cross Ranch—also run by the Lees—lets groups extend their trips to enjoy rock climbing a wall that's 24-feet tall, swimming, jumping on a super trampoline, and riding a 300-foot zipline over a pond.
Climbers negotiate a web of routes that snake up walls that stretch as far as 25 feet toward the roof inside Dyno-Rock Climbing Center’s cavernous, air-conditioned space. The center sprawls to 16,000 square feet in all, including 2,000 square feet dedicated exclusively to bouldering. Climbers of all stripes will find challenges suited to their skill level, from straightforward routes with large handholds for beginners to inverted ceiling climbs for advanced spider people. The center’s staff also regularly scrambles the routes and handholds to keep climbers on their toes. All first-time visitors must take a quick course that helps them climb confidently, understand gym rules, and ensure a safe experience for everyone in the gym.
Summit Climbing Gym sprawls across 10,000 square feet lined with towering structures for boundless bouldering and rope climbing along with its own onsite yoga studio. Manmade walls adorned with brightly colored handholds emerge from the ground, daring aspiring climbers to decode their paths. Fingertips dipped in rock chalk learn to cling to the hardened monoliths with firm grace, keeping on the lookout for the single book spine that triggers access to a revolving door and secret chocolate fountain. Guests can gab with experts about form and new-equipment purchases at the climb shop, or take a breather on a comfy couch to rest, reflect on a new route, or admire their brand-new Popeye forearms.
In addition to its scaling structures, Summit Climbing Gym hosts yoga classes in an on-site studio to boost climbing flexibility. Here, guests choose from a variety of formats, including CoreFusion, Slow Flow, Power Yoga, and Yin Yoga, a pose-intensive class that helps range of motion and strengthen connective tissues.
Tours with Classic Carriages have been clip-clopping through the streets of Texas for more than 20 years, and charming excursionists with reliable animal chauffeurs and well-tended carriages. Nab up to three friends and troll around town inside of a luxurious open-air carriage. Wheel-riders can wave like parade princesses at jealous bipedaling compatriots as the cheerful driver steers his prancing team of elegant equines through Fort Worth's scenic downtown cityscape. If poor weather interrupts plans for a stormless sojourn, the top of the carriage can be pulled up, allowing looky-loos romantic views while leaving them undampened by rain or the drool of a hungry cloud.
Rebel Race's military-style obstacle courses challenge athletes from all backgrounds to shed humdrum day-to-day routines to experience the primal joys of mud, sweat and glory. Emerging from the mire in various states across the country, each Rebel Race packs its rucksack with tests of physical and mental toughness, rousing racers and washing machines alike to triumph in the face of sloppy opposition. After dashing through fire, climbing walls, and scaling mountains of hay, race participants bask in the collective kudos of parties, which include live entertainment, food, and beer for purchase. Camping options encourage participants and spectators to transform races into weekend getaways, while awards recognize each day's standout competitors and most-humble mud pits.
Run the Jailbreak is a 3.8-mile race through 14 muddy and challenging obstacles, and it is expected to draw more than 10,000 participants this year. A portion of the proceeds directly benefits Sower of Seeds, a non-profit ministry with compassion outreaches in India. Run the Jailbreak donations will help the organization provide clean drinking water and the resources to dig clean wells in India. After the race, racers will receive a free T-shirt and two complimentary beers (if racers are at least 21 years old). If you sweat out enough barbecue sauce during the race to crave more, the world's largest smoker will be in attendance, with post-race barbecue available for purchase. There will also be live music.