Ripley’s has enthralled audiences for more than nine decades with its dedication to revealing odd and unexplainable rarities from around the globe. But it all began with one man: Robert Ripley, a wildly successful and eccentric character who rose to fame during the first half of the 20th century. After selling his first cartoon to Life magazine at age 14, he set out on a quick-paced career of drawing sports cartoons for the New York Globe. During a slow day at the office, he sketched nine unusual sporting events and finished his work with a title: “Believe It or Not!” It became immensely popular, allowing Ripley to travel the world in search of more bizarre stories to put into his comic strips. While visiting relatively unknown areas in locales such as India, China, and the inside of his neighbor’s chimney, he picked up a slew of unbelievable souvenirs that later became fixtures in several of Ripley’s museums, or as they’re affectionately called today, Odditoriums. Ripley’s now encompasses publications, attractions, a television show, and a blog, all of which carry Ripley’s tradition of reporting on the world’s curiosities.
A love for golf pulses through the veins of the Mims family, owners of Sunset Golf Club. In the age when the jeep was invented, Mount Rushmore received its finishing touches, and the first paper airplane flew into outer space, C.B. Mims's professional golf career was blazing a trail through such PGA tournaments as the 1941 U.S. Open. While her brother slammed tee shots with the fellas, Bettye Mims Danoff, a touring professional, set out to create a brand-new league for the opposite sex, and in 1950, became 1 of the 11 founding members of the LPGA. Their passion for golf and C.B.'s passion for architecting playing grounds led to the birth of Sunset Golf Club.
Greens management and club selection eventually infused in the Mims DNA, filtering through two subsequent generations that continue to own and operate the nine-hole course to this day. Fifty years of course management saturated with passed down know-how gifts the clan with comprehensive golfing knowledge used to maintain 3,350 yards of bunkers, water hazards, and bermuda-grass greens.
Clean running clothes have no place at Mighty Mud Dash, a 5K-challenge course that beckons runners of all fitness levels to plunge through stretches of mud in search of glory. Friendly competition is encouraged as waves of runners forge a path through more than 20 rugged, slippery obstacles?including wall climbs, cargo net-covered crawls, 30-yard mud-filled trenches, and a sprawling tarp slide.
Though the main race is only open to competitors age 14 and older, a scaled-down 100-yard obstacle dash welcomes children as young as 6 to test their agility and endurance. After the competition, participants gather for celebration and music at the post-race party, where they can rinse off or roll all over an expensive white velour sofa to a soundtrack of upbeat tunes. A portion of the proceeds from the event benefit the work of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, a non-profit organization working to conserve Texas's natural resources like its hunting and fishing grounds.
Before heeding the call to a life as a certified yoga instructor, Diana Roehl helped companies to cultivate corporate talent as a human-resources specialist. Now she helps individuals to discover the strengths that lie within. Roehl steers students toward these revelations with Hatha yoga, whose deep breaths and focused poses center the mind as they fortify the muscles. Natural light and calming blue walls envelop group classes at her studio, casting a soothing glow on shiny wooden floorboards where students practice shoulder stands and bridges. Roehl also brings her yoga teachings to local offices, showing employees how to dislodge stress and impossibly jammed printer paper with graceful movements and powerful exhalations. Between classes, she leads Thai bodywork sessions, which combine acupressure and ayurvedic medicine through assisted yoga poses.
Keeping alive the tradition set by the legends of the original American Association—where players such as Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays once toed the batter's box, before the league was absorbed by the professional ranks—the Grand Prairie AirHogs take the diamond to face off against rivals. As part the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, the club brought sandlot glory to their fans in 2011, when they won the Association's championship. Mirroring the on-field excitement, the new QuikTrip Park turns each outing into a memorable shindig with a party deck, a 17,000-square-foot kids' zone, and a pool adjacent to the outfield. Between innings, fans can fuel up at the stadium’s sports bar or leapfrog over each of the park’s 5,445 seats.
Exuberating the Elizabethan, The Improvised Shakespeare Company curates an epic evening of history-defying comedy quips. With Shakespeare's worlds open for interpretation, the company may dabble in the themes of kings, queens, political prowess, pranksters, and knee-slapping tales of heart-crushed lovers. With nary a script to nip from, the Chicago-based improv crew invents new tales of guffaw and jest each time they take the world as their stage.