Wayne Standefer, the head pilot at Balloon Adventures, is well versed in Dallas-area scenery and topography, knowledge that helps him regale passengers with information during flights. The adventure begins as the aircraft is brought to life before your eyes. Once his balloon reaches its full height—more than 10 stories—Standefer invites you inside the tightly woven wicker basket to soar above rooftops and trees and dip low over fields and rivers. Total flight time is usually around an hour, though the whole experience can take three times as long from start to finish.
Balloon Adventures also charters its services for weddings, arranges surprise flights for special occasions, and offers instruction in specific tasks such as rigging the balloon, navigating in-flight, and shooing away flocks of paper airplanes. In addition, the company participates in hot-air-balloon festivals, where clouds of bright purple, orange, and yellow balloons fill the daytime sky or illuminate the festival grounds at night.
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.
For Central Texas Fishing Guides’ Allen Morehouse and Tim Harrell the outdoors are more than just a hobby—they're a way of life. Morehouse was a professional bull rider until 2001, when the birth of his first son prompted him to choose a slightly tamer career path. He began guiding hunting, fly-fishing, and lake-fishing trips, sharing his extensive knowledge and passion with other nature enthusiasts. Harrell, on the other hand, has been fishing since he's been walking. Having grown up casting lures with his dad on Cedar Creek Lake, he extended his passion through his life, founding the Baylor Bass Club at Baylor University—one of the first programs in the country to join the collegiate Bassmasters circuit—and currently targeting white bass and crappie.
The duo takes groups of up to 20 anglers on full- or half-day adventures using boats designed for agility and comfort. The V8, 300-horsepower engine of the spacious ZX24V, for example, allows it to easily cut through waves on the open water and navigate shallow inlets in search of float-through fast-food restaurants.
An open-water scuba certification class dips ungilled divers deeper than the basics of breathing underwater en route to earning a PADI-certified open-diving card accepted at dive destinations worldwide. With flippers-on experience under the watchful eye of PADI-certified instructors, divers will learn how to be safe and ecologically sound while interacting with the elements present in an open dive–like water. Beyond providing gallons of aquatic knowledge, they'll happily answer any questions you have regarding your dive, potential underwater odysseys, or how long they think you can hold your breath. Beyond giving your hair ultimate surf appeal, the mimicked salty seas of International Scuba's heated, indoor, saltwater pools keep your skin gently soft while your brain-sponge sops up knowledge.
Big Boar Tactical doesn't train their clientele on a typical gun range with stationary, paper targets. Instead, their trainers—each of whom has more than 12 years of professional armed bodyguard experience—take beginner shooters outdoors, where they move through a series of obstacles and shoot multiple targets set to various heights, distances, and parallel dimensions. Each drill teaches a relevant skill, from learning to draw a gun and move and shoot during the intro to handgun class to honing one-handed accuracy and using cover and concealment during the tactical combat handgun training course. Instructors can also help customers obtain concealed handgun licenses or master the use of various other firearms, including shotguns and rifles.