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.
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.
Gondola Adventures sets quartets afloat on the Mandalay Canal and Lake Carolyn for a melodious aquatic outing spiced with Venetian charm. After boarding a sleek, electric craft or traditional single-oar gondola, wayfarers skim the water's surface to the tune of their gondolier's private serenade or the soothing softness of prerecorded romantic tunes. Gourmet chocolates and cider nourish tummy butterflies as the ship glides into sheltered inlets with views of cascading falls—a cue for sweethearts to lock lips and for wooden figureheads to shield their eyes and giggle. As the lake-top explorations wind down, the gondolas skate back to the docks along the unshared waterways, allowing guests to enjoy total solitude aside from the occasional patrol craft or stork addicted to peek-a-boo.
Though the instructors at Dallas Concealed Carry recognize that some people want intense drill-sergeant-style training, they prefer the relaxed approach. The instructors maintain a light, friendly atmosphere with lively classroom training bolstered by multimedia presentations. They teach the basics of marksmanship and lead classes such as the certified concealed-handgun-license course, which includes classroom instruction taught by a certified instructor, range instruction with a certified firearms instructor, a range-proficiency test, and help filling out all the necessary paperwork to apply for a license.
Cindy Gibson hears a lot of ecstatic exclamations from first-time jumpers—including gratuitous use of the words "awesome" and "amazing"—but one of the most memorable remarks she ever heard came from a woman celebrating her 81st birthday. After landing, Cindy asked her why she waited so long to try skydiving. The woman replied that her husband never let her. Then she cracked a sly smile and said, "But now he's dead."
Cindy certainly understands the lifelong desire to skydive. "I don't remember a time when I didn’t want to jump out of airplanes," she says. But growing up, she figured you had to be paratrooper to do it. Then as a waitress in college, she overheard some customers talking about going skydiving, and she convinced them to take her along. The more she went, the more ways she found to improve the experience. With this newfound love and knowledge of the skydiving business, she sought out a parcel of land and a passionate team and founded Texas Skydiving Center.
Today, she and her team of instructors lead tandem jumps, static-line jumps, and solo free falls thousands of feet above their picturesque facility. Beyond using equipment and instructional methods that are compliant with the United States Parachute Association's standards, the instructors' claim their chief difference lies in the individual attention they give each client. Groups are kept small so that all are on a first-name basis, and the instructors ask each person what they hope to do in the air. A bunch of flips? Maybe a zen-like float? On the way down, they can even record the jumps with several filming options. An eco-friendly dropzone then awaits skydivers, where chattering guinea fowl snatch up insects, colorful songbirds flit through wildflowers, and a llama and alpaca knit their own wool into a commemorative scarf for each successful skydiver.
Supreme Golf makes maintaining an oft-pricey golf addiction a bit easier on the wallet by granting golfers discounts at golf courses and golf schools, as well as cutting the price of books, golf clubs, and nutritional supplements. Golfers can enjoy relaxing, discounted rounds at area courses in cities across the country including such area courses as Bear Creek Golf Club in Dallas, Gateway National Golf Links in St. Louis and St. Andrews Golf and Country Club in Atlanta, soaking in the sights and badgering local pros for analysis of the annual caddie draft.
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium boasts 11 galleries of interactive exhibits, featuring rare and bizarre artifacts inspired by the oddball collection of worldwide explorer Robert Ripley. Glimpse inside the Taj Mahal of the bizarre with astonishing and outlandish displays including odd inventions, ancient gewgaws, a conjoined calf, metallic prehistoric monsters, and a chance to spot a mermaid. The museum is open seven American standard days a week.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.