Wayne Standefer, the head pilot at Balloon Adventures, is well versed in Dallas-area scenery and topography, knowledge that helps him regale passengers with information during flights. The adventure begins as the aircraft is brought to life before your eyes. Once his balloon reaches its full height—more than 10 stories—Standefer invites you inside the tightly woven wicker basket to soar above rooftops and trees and dip low over fields and rivers. Total flight time is usually around an hour, though the whole experience can take three times as long from start to finish.
Balloon Adventures also charters its services for weddings, arranges surprise flights for special occasions, and offers instruction in specific tasks such as rigging the balloon, navigating in-flight, and shooing away flocks of paper airplanes. In addition, the company participates in hot-air-balloon festivals, where clouds of bright purple, orange, and yellow balloons fill the daytime sky or illuminate the festival grounds at night.
Several years ago, Branndon Bargo and his brother set out on a mammoth adventure. Not sure what they were after, they biked 4,000 miles to Baja, Mexico from Alaska and found themselves submerged in the open waters of the Pacific, scuba diving with great white sharks. After a harrowing climb of Mount McKinley in Alaska, Branndon began questioning his motivations for staying at his desk job. So in 2005, he gently kissed his cubicle goodbye and founded Live Adventure as a means of encouraging others to challenge themselves while discovering deeper connections with the world around them. Within Cedar Hill State Park, Brandon organizes team-building programs and encourages groups to kayak, synchronize swim, and fish on Joe Pool Lake. Other expeditions include rock-climbing outings and custom guided jaunts around the planet.
Since its opening in 1988, Ellen's Amusement Center has provided visitors with a full range of family fun, including mini golf, go-karts, and paintball. The 18-hole miniature golf course is littered with such whimsical obstructions as a diminutive oil rig, a mini rollercoaster, and the obligatory windmill. Racers negotiate hairpin curves on the tire-lined go-kart track. A crossfire of chromatic projectiles enlivens four paintball fields, where players dive behind bunkers on the speedball courses or camouflage themselves as commando squirrels on the woods field. The facility also boasts batting cages equipped for hardball and softball as well as a redemption arcade filled with two stories' worth of video games.
In 1956, the owners of Cedar Hill Roller Rink stuck a sky-blue sign on the edge of Main Street. With only the word "Skating" displayed in retro block lettering, the sign called out to travelers, urging them to stop inside for classic four-wheeled entertainment. Today, the rink's hardwood surface provides smooth gliding after five decades upkeep, upbeat music, and upstanding gentlemen who know how to ask a gal to dance despite having untimely sweaty palms.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
Since 1982, Spirals Gym & Ed-Venture Kids Center has been helping kids hone balance, coordination, and muscle control via competitive gymnastics programs. Today it has expanded to include swimming lessons and afterschool activities, during which kids jump on trampolines and participate in outdoor group activities. Their newest program, the Ed-Venture Kids Academy Preschool, emphasizes both childhood academic learning and physical education, with the intention of helping to prepare children for elementary school. Members of a dedicated staff supervise all activities, whether they are taking place on the 40?x40? carpeted and padded spring floor or on the trampoline.