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.
Fanny Kerwich, Lone Star Circus’s founder and current creative director, was born with the circus in her blood. An eighth-generation member of a renowned French circus family, she has been performing since age 6, delighting international audiences at Paris’s Lido and Moulin Rouge, Germany’s Circus Roncalli, and San Francisco’s Teatro ZinZanni.
Fanny’s performing experience and artistic vision now guide the nonprofit Lone Star Circus, which is a two-branched operation. Its performance troupe’s grace and athleticism shine during shows such as the upcoming winter spectacle, Cirque Banquisté. The circus’s school hosts classes for youngsters and adults, teaching them how to swing from trapezes, scale silks, and contort their frames so they can more accurately pantomime what Gumby would look like during a high-speed car chase.
Crisscrossed with more than 100 boulder problems and 60 climbing routes at any one time, the 14,000 square feet of indoor climbing space at Dallas Rocks offers a challenging workout for everyone from expert climbers to those who have never seen a rock. Climbing walls reach up to 35 feet, and the “Big Tex” bouldering wall challenges experienced climbers with 120 linear feet of 70-degree overhang. Split down the middle between bouldering and route climbing, the climbing area is constantly being refreshed with new routes and problems, delighting members but rankling anyone who has to take the routes every morning on the way to work.
To accommodate fitness-seekers looking for variety in their workouts, the rock shop boasts a fitness center filled with free weights, heavy bags, stationary bikes, and exercise machines. Additionally, experienced personal trainers can help patrons plan a workout strategy designed specifically to enhance their rock climbing or skyscraper scaling.
From its first days as a converted parking garage to its time as a host for Quentin Tarantino's five-day movie marathons, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has ushered film-lovers of all breeds into its atypical auditoriums. The theaters subvert the industry standard by offering locally brewed beer and fine wines, a rotating menu of handcrafted snacks and desserts, and an advertisement-free experience. A long table stretches in front of every row of seats, enabling waiters to unobtrusively pick up written food orders throughout the night.
An even more refreshing break from the standard moviegoing experience is the strict no-talking, no-texting policy enforced by Alamo Drafthouse staff and an enormous shepherd's crook—with a few notable exceptions. For example, fan-centric Quote-Along and Sing-Along nights encourage guests to shout their favorite lines, and appearances by actors, directors, and other film celebrities append screenings with in-depth discussions. These exclusive events have helped build Alamo Drafthouse's reputation among cinephiles across the country, leading to nods from Entertainment Weekly, which called it “one of America's most fanatically unique moviegoing experiences,” and Wired, which opined that it "might just be the coolest movie theater in the world."
Alamo Drafthouse's schedule balances first-run blockbusters with silver-screen classics, projecting them in crisp 35-millimeter or digital format. Surround sound submerges audiences in the cinematic landscape, whether they're seated in one of the intimate theaters reserved for indie screenings or the more expansive spaces afforded to Hollywood epics.
One might assume that 40 acres of meadowland in Parker, Texas, carries a certain tranquility and peacefulness. That is, unless, that chunk of land has been transformed into a gigantic battleground for paintball wars. Fort Paintball has done just that, divvying up its real estate into nine fields, highlighted by 5- and 10-man Lego fields and a Big Game field. On the expansive fields, competitors duck behind oil barrels and massive spools, dodging shots and acorns launched by squirrels who want to get in on the action. Players can either strap on their own gear or utilize rental packages that include guns, rounds, and masks.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.