Under the new management of Tom Lawless, the 2011 Hooks—the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros—look to proclaim bat-swinging dominance in the Texas League. Baseball supporters can claim seats at Whataburger Field, which is built to reflect the feel of a classic ballpark and can hold about 7,000 Hooks fans and three times as many foam fingers. Two wristbands adorn arms and grant access to extracurricular excursions in the Driscoll Children's Hospital Kids Zone, featuring a rock-climbing wall and a chimp-free jungle gym. Along with being able to see the USS Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium from inside the park, fans can enjoy breath-robbing views of the Harbor Bridge and mascots removing their comically oversize heads to observe the National Anthem. After the game, fans can trade their baseball caps for 10-gallon hats as they take in a concert by Tejano rockers Texas Tornados or Green River Ordinance, a quintet of aspiring environmental attorneys moonlighting as talented musicians.
Perched on the shores of the Laguna Madre on the coast of south Texas, Bluff's Landing Marina and Lodge is a modern fishing and hunting lodge with a full-service marina. You’ll be within walking distance of the marina when you stay in a king or two-doubles room, decorated with rustic lodge items such as mounted deer heads and plaid-upholstered chairs, and you’ll have great views of the nearby ocean. Next door to the marina is Laguna Reef Restaurant, where the house chefs will cook up your day’s catch, or you can nosh on coconut shrimp and fried oysters while looking out over Laguna Madre. There’s free parking, a live bait and tackle shop onsite, and a free boat launch for the naval battleship you’ve been hauling around.
Among more than a dozen bullet points on his resume, Captain Bobby Luna of Luna & Associates holds certifications as an NRA-licensed firearm instructor and a DPS-certified concealed-handgun instructor. The US Army veteran and 30-year law-enforcement member trains his students to safely operate handguns and obtain their concealed-handgun licenses. He's also a retired game warden, which makes him an ideal instructor to teach a Texas Hunter Safety Course for novices and young hunters.
Within Boing Boing Bounce's climate-controlled facility, sock-clad youngsters leap about in bounce castles and clamber up towering inflatables before plummeting down slides. Kids can also climb through brightly colored tubes, paint a masterwork at the art station, or read from the picture-book table's educational titles, such as Tanya Lee Stone's B is for Bunny and Friedrich Nietzsche's N is for Nihilism. Along with hosting energetic youths at open-play sessions, Boing Boing Bounce houses two party rooms for birthday soirees with optional entertainment such as face painting and balloon sculpting.
Atop the glossy wood floors with their reflections winking back at them from the wall-to-wall mirrors, Mary Lee & Dance Suave’s instructors lead small groups through a variety of dance styles. They teach classic ballroom dancing, such as waltz, swing, and rumba to individuals and couples, and invite them for dancing parties where guests can practice their moves. The instructors also lead dance-fitness Zumba classes.
Club Internationale' hosts private and group social-dance classes and posh private parties in its 4,400-square-foot, hardwood-floored space. Students can choose from a smorgasbord of dance styles such as American and international ballroom, salsa, and swing. They’ll perfect their steps in three private lessons, then join two group sessions to synchronize feet and spy watches with other dancers before showing off their new moves at a practice party. Alternatively, opt to commandeer the studio’s main ballroom and three smaller rooms for a four-hour festival, family reunion, or life-size chess tournament. Call ahead for group-lesson schedule and private appointments.