The successive pinging of golf balls as they speed toward distant targets at Cedar Park Driving Range is a welcoming sound to visiting golfers, almost therapeutic. The expansive facility boasts 12 grass hitting bays for players who prefer a natural feel as well as 18 shaded stations with mat hitting bays, 10 of which cool down hardworking golfers and parched sand wedges with a water-misting system. Four circular targets—positioned at distances of 25, 50, 75, and 100 yards—help players dial in approach shots, while five distance markers—stationed at 50-yard intervals from 100 to 300 yards—help golfers gauge how far their golf-ball trebuchet is capable of sending a ball. Cedar Park Driving Range also has more than 100 clubs that they rent out free of charge.
A Triple-A affiliate of the 2010 and 2011 American League Champion Texas Rangers, Round Rock Express players bat, slide, steal, and knock spherical things out of The Dell Diamond. Managed by former Rangers' outfielder Bobby Jones, the team receives its silent hand signals and coaching from former major-league player Spike Owen, pitching coach Terry Clark, and star of Major League: Back to the Minors Scott Bakula. Watch this squad of dynamos take on their bat-swinging foes, and catch air-conditioned respites in the chic, WiFi-enabled Intel Club during slow innings, rain delays, or catastrophic nacho spills.
As members of the NBA Development League, the Toros serve as the minor-league affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs, fostering the NBA's future stars from the moment they hatch from their locker-room cocoons. In 2012, the franchise won its first-ever D-League championship, spurred by the home crowd's raucous celebrations, which are led by the Capital City Dance Team and mascot Da Bull. As an extension of their commitment to developing young talent, the Toros also host youth development camps, providing players in grades 4–9 with the opportunity to develop their potential before high-school physics class teaches them that slam dunks are impossible.
Terrain changes fast in Hill Country. The landscapes on Texas Paintball’s 40 acres, for example, transform from flat, open fields to foothills to wooded valleys. This dynamic terrain naturally lends itself to a variety of playing scenarios, which the owners capitalize on with nine fields such as requisite air-ball and hyperball fields and custom-designed wooded grounds with names such as Normandy and Trenches. Texas Paintball also has more fields in the works, including an upcoming saw-mill field where players can stalk stacks of timber while battling to control a two-story mill.
On these fields, crews divide up players according to experience level for a variety of games, from classics such as Capture the Flag to creative scenarios such as Protect the President, where one team escorts an unarmed player to a safe zone while the other attacks and yells false Gallup Poll numbers. Props, including a Huey helicopter, 1920's ambulance, deuce and a half, cars, trucks, and various boats, scatter themselves across a 10,000-sq.-ft. turf field. The knowledgeable staff also caters to players’ ability levels by renting an array of markers, from the basic Tippmann Pro-Lite to the A-5 Flatline, one of the farthest-shooting models on the market.
Off the fields, Texas Paintball encompasses amenities including dressing rooms, a concession stand, a picnic area with two barbecue pits for players who bring their own food, and a pro shop.
The professional teachers and staff at The Children’s Courtyard nurture minds and nourish spirits in tots ranging from 6 weeks to 13 years old. Armed with training they receive at The Children’s Courtyard’s unique master schools, they lead engaging programs in interactive classrooms, most of which brim with computers equipped with up to 50 learning programs. Class participants play games, sing songs, and interact with friends, which allows them to learn valuable skills in cognition, conflict resolution, and academic performance through activities geared toward their age group. Regular programs inspire little minds in half- and full-day increments, and summer camps take kids on field trips to see new animals at the zoo, sing a song at a recording studio, and muse over the complex metaphors for the role of capitalism in a local fairy-tale play.