For the guests of Cowboy Fan Connection, a Dallas Cowboys game actually starts three hours before kickoff. For both home and away games, the company hosts all-inclusive tailgate parties?with or without tickets to the game itself?that keep revelers sustained with burgers, brats, drinks, and raffles for Cowboys merchandise. Customers can dress the part with apparel from the online store to show off their fandom or eerie resemblance to Troy Aikman to current and former players during private autograph sessions.
In addition to game-day events, Cowboy Fan Connection also hosts Saturday-night dinner parties where fans come together to break bread as sportswriter Mickey Spagnola and former Cowboy Nate Newton broadcast their weekly radio program, Radio Road Show. Stadium tours the day before or after a game enable fans to guide themselves throughout Cowboys Stadium, while off-season trips such as a weekend in the Bahamas give fans the chance to draw up defensive plays in the sand with current and former Cowboys.
There are bowling alleys, and there are bowling super highways. With 600 pins creating a satisfying, nearly constant thunder, Forum Bowling Lanes could be considered the latter. Since 1974 the Grand Prairie institution has welcomed strike-seeking families and competitors to its 60 lanes, and although it recently underwent a remodel, it retains its vintage feel. Classic bowling is the name of the game here, with a straightforward style that allows players to focus on the frames. And after the final throw, they can relax with a drink in Forum?s cafe and lounge or head to the pro shop to pick up essential bowling gear such as balls and air horns for distracting opponents.
Forum Roller World’s vast polished hardwood floor stretches below a similarly vast ceiling outfitted with festive lights. And between the two? A scrum of roller skaters gliding, weaving, and figure-eighting to the tune of music such as hip-hop and gospel. This large facility welcomes skaters of all levels to slip into a pair of skates and cruise the floors. On Sunday nights until 1 a.m., adults rule the roost, where they can skate at their own speed without having to dodge children or re-oil their training wheels.
A coalition of ice arenas endorsed by the Dallas Stars, Dr Pepper StarCenters help nurture athletes of all ages and skill levels with activities on or off the ice. Dr Pepper StarCenters house NHL-regulation ice-hockey rinks that host hockey leagues for players of all ages, eradicating the need to play on dangerous frozen lakes dotted with irritable frozen geese. StarCenters' skate academies instill students with the fundamentals of ice hockey or figure skating, allowing them to progress to hockey leagues and local skating competitions if they choose. To warm up after laps around the Euless ice rink, skaters can check out the onsite baseball stadium, batting cages, soccer fields, and Texas Star Golf Course. All locations are open for birthday parties and special events; see each location's website for details.
On a single day in the middle of World War II, actions in three isolated incidents represent an ethical lesson taught to this day at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. On that day—April 19, 1943—three Belgian men attacked a train destined for Auschwitz, freeing its passengers; the occupants of the Warsaw Ghetto united in revolt; and at the Bermuda Conference, officials from the British and American governments declined to take action against ongoing atrocities in Europe. The Dallas Holocaust Museum’s main exhibit locates a crucial distinction in presenting these three events: the difference between "bystanders" and what the museum calls "Upstanders." The exhibit was created in the hopes that every visitor would become an "Upstander," moved not only to remember a horrific past but also to take action when faced with modern threats to human rights.
A self-guided audio tour relates the heroism of those who stood up on that date in 1943 as museum guests explore artifacts, photographs, and a full-size boxcar. Special exhibits that often focus on photography supplement the permanent installation, and testimonies from volunteer survivors and liberators provide a firsthand perspective on the historical tragedy and its lessons. Along with exposing more than 30,000 students and 22,000 walk-in visitors to its messages annually, the museum advocates engagement with the world through educational programs designed for everyone from educators to law-enforcement officials.
There was a time when looking down the barrel of Clyde Barrow's gun wouldn't have seemed too appealing. But now people visit the second floor galleries of the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture just to get a glimpse of the infamous weapon, which shares space with more than 1,000 other artifacts, including the first traffic light in Dallas County and handcuffs worn by Lee Harvey Oswald. Taken together, these artifacts trace Dallas County's past from prehistory to the present day, a timeline visitors also explore via the museum's 41 touchscreen computers, four mini theatres screening specially commissioned films, and hands-on activities on topics such as architecture and pioneer life. More hands-on activities await in the education center, where youngsters learn about their local heritage thanks to exhibits on Dallas County children.
Housed in the Old Red Courthouse, a restored Romanesque building from 1892, the museum is practically a large-scale exhibit unto itself. Its many architectural flourishes include a four-story grand staircase, a restored clock tower, and two original stained-glass windows from the courthouse's original collection of more than 100. Tours of all four floors grant visitors access to areas not otherwise open to the general public, including the courtroom and the judge's tightly guarded gavel shed. The historic building makes a fitting setting for the special exhibits that grace the first floor gallery several times a year.