An autumn harvest fair. A Memorial Day celebration, punctuated by a 21-gun salute. A kids' summer camp complete with archery, swimming, and a meet-and-greet with a friendly raccoon mascot. These are just a few of the events hosted by Grand Prairie Parks & Rec, a department that has garnered a Gold Medal from the National Recreation and Parks Association. Its recreational facilities––including a pool with an aquatic climbing wall––and frequent social events bring the city together year round. Under the bright sun or starry skies, visitors can dance at a concert in the park, rather than just dancing to the rhythmic creak of a swing set. For longer excursions, the 791 lakeside acres of Loyd Park feature 221 campsites replete with cabins, picnic areas, and trails. There, visitors can paddle out on the water in a rented kayak, play a game of volleyball, or sleep overnight under the stars.
Beaumont Ranch is the realization of a dream. Ron Beaumont, the founder and family patriarch, was enamored with the cowboy lifestyle from a very young age, and envisioned himself one day running a ranch like the ones he saw in his favorite western movies. The vision came to fruition in July of 1997, when he and his wife Linda opened their 800 acres of land to the public, allowing visitors to live like cowboys and mingle with their herds of Texas longhorns and horses.
Today, three Beaumont generations live on the ranch, and the guest accommodations have expanded from a 22-room bed-and-breakfast to a 32-room facility boasting an events center, a common area, and a bunkhouse with an additional 48 beds. Well-rested patrons can explore the natural prairies that stretch as far as the eye can see on the transportation of their choice: ATV, horse, or even zipline. After a day spent riding bucking broncos and roping cattle, visitors can kick off their cowboy boots and remove their 10-gallon hats to enjoy pampering serenity at the ranch spa. Here, the aestheticians soothe weary cowpokes' muscles with massages and body scrubs, which were what kept John Wayne so cool under pressure.
The eclectic organizers at Red Frog Events take a lighthearted and fun-focused approach to building their adventurous events, such as obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, and themed bar crawls, to connect city dwellers with local neighborhoods. Their creative, interactive offerings include regularly occurring competitions such as the Warrior Dash, Great Urban Race, and Beach Dash, the proceeds from which usually benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Like the idea of having a pet rock, their events have grown more popular annually, and frequently spring up in cities across the United States.
Dallas Trolley Tours shuttles visitors and locals around the popular hot spots of the Big D. The 75-minute flagship trolley tour visits sites such as Reunion Tower and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, as well as districts such as the West End and the Dallas Arts District. The JFK Assassination Tour reviews the locations surrounding the tragic events of November 22nd, 1963, illuminated by facts and contextualizing narrative provided by the guide. The trolley comes with authentic brass fixtures including bells and rails, and narration provides an informational soundtrack to the tour.
Harbor Inn Marina at Northshore Harbor rents covered and open boats to visitors looking to explore Richland Chambers Lake. Its 24- to 36-foot boats roam the lake's 43,384 acres, allowing guests to water ski, break out wave runners, or fish for bass, crappie, and catfish.
CitySolve lets citizens explore their metropolis through a one-day odyssey that tests speed, stamina, and smarts. Teams scamper through their burb as they solve clues ranging from anagrams and pop-culture trivia to deciphering graffiti written in pig Latin. Interspersed throughout the race are mettle-testing physical challenges, molding iron wills to such tasks as dodgeball, improv comedy games, or identifying ice-cream flavors. Each day's race also awards winners for best costumes and best tweet. Each urban iditarod takes between two to three hours, and jet packs are strictly prohibited.