With paintball gear on, 10,000 sq. ft. can seem like a vast jungle. Specifically, one where the animals have figured out how to operate paintball markers. The outdoor paintball arena at Celebration Station hosts friendly competitions between players of all skill level, who fire salvos from behind obstacles. That competitive zone only makes up a small portion of the fun, however. Outside alone, visitors find a towering rock-climbing wall, batting cages, and a go-kart track that twists and turns across a quarter mile. Bumper boats collide nearby, while waterfalls cascade down the landscapes of an 18-hole mini-golf course.
Arcade tokens take over indoors, where 100 games present visitors with a challenging dilemma: should they master every one of the racing simulators, or take a break for a game of laser tag? Luckily, they can ponder their choices over a meat lovers pizza at the onsite restaurant.
Spread across 66 acres, Dallas Arboretum's themed gardens showcase the broad biodiversity of Texas' unique climate. The gardens' lush plantings and eye-catching vistas have earned the arboretum numerous accolades, including a spot on Travel Channel's list of "Best Botanical Gardens in the US." The arboretum's collection sprouts annual blooms and old growth, including the century-old Japanese maple accenting the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill. Landscaping work is showcased as well: A Woman's Garden has won national acclaim for its formal terraces, reflecting pools, and flowerbeds.
The aquatic playland at Surf and Swim aims to bring the quintessential beach experience to a controlled water park. Inner tubes and their passengers float atop a wave pool's sprawling waters, splashing as the sun lovingly stares deep into their eyes. Pipes, plastic animals, and fountains pepper the kids area, and the aptly named Chill and Grill Cafe serves up burgers and fries. On select nights, the park transforms into an outdoor movie theater, where groups can swim and bob for their ticket stubs while watching a full-size screen.
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. The circus’s school hosts classes for adults and children throughout the week. Beginners’ classes cover a variety of circus skills, from trapeze and aerial silk work to acrobatics and lyra, also known as aerial hoop. Learning to lift and hold your own body weight is a good way to get stronger and see muscle definition quickly.
At Texas Skatium, roller skaters roam the rink as a disco ball spins from the center of the ceiling, with dozens of flags hanging above them and speakers pumping out Top 40 jams. Originally opened in 1989, the recently remodeled building houses both a roller rink and a play area complete with brand-new bounce houses and arcade games. The upgrades from the renovation also brought in a state-of-the-art A/V system and projection screen. The 33,000-square-foot space is ideal for private or public events, which range from kids' birthday parties to after-hours adult soirees with alcohol, a DJ, and screenings of uncut episodes of Murder, She Wrote.
While strolling the halls of Madrid's famous Prado Museum in the 1950s, Texas oilman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows fell in love with the rich tradition of Spanish art. Gradually building a collection of Iberian masterworks from throughout the centuries, Meadows helped found his eponymous museum to house and display the art. Now among the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, the Meadows Museum surrounds visitors with masterpieces from the 10th century through the 21st. The collection's highlights include Goya's darkly evocative Yard with Madmen, Picasso's patchwork Still Life in a Landscape, and Míró's colorfully surreal Queen Louise of Prussia.
Outside the museum's elegant colonnade, an encircling garden recalls Renaissance palaces with manicured bushes, stately gravel paths, and feral court jesters. Beautiful sculptures by modern greats fleck the garden, with such pieces as the 13-foot, wireframe head Sho, by modern Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa. Below the plaza, Santiago Calatrava's monumental Wave dominates the approach to the museum, with gently undulating iron beams, suspended over a serene reflecting pool that will itself never know the joy of forming a wave.