It’s a quiet afternoon in Rhome when the tranquil plains suddenly erupt with whoops and hollers. A pair of tandem skydivers has just seemingly dropped out of nowhere and is high-fiving and cheering while they fall. One has done this drop countless times and the other is about to check the adrenaline-fueling activity off his bucket list.
The staff behind Thrillzown makes it their goal to see activities such as skydiving get crossed off of lists. In doing this, they offer hot air balloon rides, ziplining, and hang-gliding, along with a host of other activities. They can also advise hesitant customers on the appropriate thrill to partake in, pointing out which jaunts are more serene versus which ones make Superman nervous.
While it's not uncommon to share stories around a campfire, there's something special about the ones told at Dallas Skydive Center's fire pit. For one, most of them feature the storyteller's exploits 13,500 feet above the earth's surface. The fire pit is part of Dallas Skydive Center's 651-acre open landing area, which doubles as a campground where people hang out before and after their jumps.
The massive landing area and campground aren't the only things that set the center apart. It has also attracted an expert staff, all hand selected by chief instructor Jimmy Mendonca, who has more than 12,000 dives under his parachute harness. Plus, it assuages some of the fears felt by first-time divers by employing the same tandem harnesses used by U.S. Special Forces and by never showing Hitchcock's The Birds. Skydivers just need to worry about what face they'll make during their mid-dive photo op.
Bob Landon has been making wine for decades, but he didn't always have French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks at his disposal. His first forays into small-batch winemaking took place in his basement, but like Batman's love of justice, his hobby was soon elevated to a profession. Today, he and the Landon Winery staff cultivate Texas–grown viognier and tempranillo grapes into a rotating selection of house varietals.
At either location, oenophiles can deepen their knowledge of wines or simply explore the facilities. The McKinney location features an old well that dates back more than 150 years, and the 15,000 square foot Greenville location boasts more than 100 oak barrels filled with grapey blends and one batch of orange juice just pretending. Landon Winery also hosts events and classes that allow visitors to pair wines with food, sample sips, and make their own custom wines.
Littered with paint-splattered cars, barrels, and spools, the four fields of Hunt County Paintball host players as they sneak through tall grasses and dodge incoming pellets. After gearing up by the picnic tables of their own covered staging area, participants take to the field with trusty Tippman A5 rental markers in-hand. Refs oversee every round to ensure fair play, and even gather first-timers before the game to go over the sport's ground rules and sanctioned victory dances. Though it specializes in private group sessions and tournaments, Hunt County Paintball also welcomes walk-ins during open-play sessions on the second Sunday of every month.
Drivers careen at a blinding 85 miles per hour around the track at Dallas Karting Complex. In order to take the wheel of a high-speed Rotax DD2 karts, racers must pass a few tests, including achieving a 74-second lap time on the 0.8-mile track, reaching 16 years of age, and being able to recite three quotes from The Fast and the Furious in iambic pentameter. Drivers who don't meet the high-octane criteria or are interested in a simpler ride can zip around the track's 17 turns in lower-speed karts, starting at the 30-miles-per-hour cadet carts for kids aged 7–15 or the karts for adults that burn rubber at highway speeds. The 25-acre facility has enough room to host racing parties for kids and adults, as well as corporate meetings to discuss the feasibility of commuting to work in a Rotax DD2.