Surrounded by swaying trees and fresh air, the five ziplines of Zip Nac?s adrenaline-pumping course speed gliders through 90-minute trips across a towering forest canopy. Participants begin standing atop the first platform, then careen down lines ranging from a quick 225 feet to an invigorating 900-foot dual line that pairs riders side by side for races to the bottom or private auditions for the Miss Wind Tunnel competition. Seasoned guides help patrons strap into each line, where they can take solo trips. Little ones (weighing 60 pounds or less) can ride tandem with a guide, ensuring that every member of the family can zoom through the tree tops. In between lines two and three, visitors traverse the 60-foot sky bridge, which allows brief moments of repose amid the verdant outdoor setting. Gliders can rent GoPro cameras for a fee to capture their zipline experience on video. Nighttime zipline sessions grant heart-pumping adventures in the dark without the hassle of helping Edgar Allan Poe find the fuse box. Zip Nac also offers onsite overnight accommodations at their Zip Inn.
The animal kingdom encompasses species from every continent on the planet. But Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari cuts down on the need for excessive travel by bringing an eclectic array of exotic species to the heart of East Texas. The 300-acre preserve houses 36 exotic and endangered species in open areas similar to their native habitats. This allows visitors to see these majestic creatures firsthand while driving along the miles of roads that weave throughout the preserve's hills and savannahs. Over the course of the self-guided tour, visitors will have the opportunity to spot animals such as an alligator, Canadian wood bison, Arabian camel, red kangaroo, zebra, and holographic dodo, all from the safety of their vehicle. In addition to providing one-of-a-kind wildlife photo ops, the preserve also allows groups to feed some of the animals by dropping food pellets onto the ground.
At Four Winds Renaissance Faire, historical accuracy is key, as talented actors and supervising staff present a bounty of Renaissance- and medieval-themed performance, music, and fare. Across the grounds, kings and queens strut over grass in opulent capes of purple, green, and gold. Minstrels cavort with their lyres, granting a background score to bright-eyed children as they play-duel to imitate nearby knights. The air fills with ancient Celtic tunes and modern-day laughter as jesters and a comedic swordplay troupe keeps attendees entertained. In one of the main events, six knights joust while clad in full armor, pitting their accuracy and endurance against targets, rings, and each other in five events.
Vendors who’ve travelled throughout the country populate the grounds with dunking booths, carriage rides, and eclectic crafts ranging from hand-hammered metal pieces to medieval weapons and witch-repellant. After perusing the wares, attendees might espy an onsite wedding, which fair staffers supply with menus, themed costumes, and period décor. Though primarily a showcase for living, breathing medieval and Renaissance history, the fair’s monthly events also extend to themes such as Celtic heritage, steampunk, and the American Wild West.