As part of a premiere PADI five-star National Geographic instructor-development center, International Scuba’s team trains underwater explorers in a variety of courses that range from snorkeling and skin diving to open-water and rescue diving. The heated, indoor salt-water pool accommodates divers from ages 8 and older, and equipment packages ensure all students are outfitted for their dives. Beyond the student level, divers can also earn their master scuba-diver certification, thus becoming teachers themselves.
Students who master any of these levels can then elect a related specialty allowing them to dive under the ice, discover underwater wrecks, snap photographs of marine life, and help protect coral reefs from predatory plastic bags. Students who have completed their desired level of training but want to venture forth with a group can also participate in a trip diving in locations abroad and in 30 rivers, quarries, and beaches in and around Texas.
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.
Located inside an upscale tennis club, T Bar M Wellness Center is no stranger to athletes' troubles. Under the direction of Dr. Jeff Scarella, the wellness team strives to treat and prevent injuries with chiropractic care, ultrasonic massage, Kinesio tape, and cryotherapy pain-relief chambers used by the likes of the Dallas Cowboys, the Texas Rangers, and mad scientists trying to live forever.
Donna Park's passion for performance preceded the bulk of her vocabulary: at 4 years old, she got into the habit of correcting the dance steps of the other children in her recitals. Her unquenchable thirst for performance led her through a theater minor in college to the discovery of film, then onto a career as a director, writer, and producer of television specials and commercials. Now, calling upon contacts developed during her 20-year career, she brings working professionals to Texas Creative Arts Academy to share their hard-earned wisdom with the young.
The Academy's year-round programs gather students aged 4 to 18 to celebrate their interest in dance, art, film, and melodrama. Aspiring artisans learn the basics of canvas and garment craftsmanship in Hi Ho! Van Gogh! and Design Fashion Diva! camps. Teachers unlock high notes in students' vocal ranges with voice lessons and train the eyes of future cameramen in video-production classes. Piano and guitar instruction empowers kids to realize a future where spontaneous public musical numbers don’t just happen on stage.
The closest ocean is hundreds of miles away, but you wouldn't know it once you've set foot on the grounds of Bahama Beach Club. Outside, competitors spike volleyballs on fourteen sand-covered courts and, during breaks in the action, order cocktails from a beach bar. It's all part of the club's summery theme. Once the victor has been crowned, teammates retire to a shaded deck to relax with sandwiches and tacos, flat-screen TVs, a beer garden, and, once a week, live music.
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