Party Warehouse provides shindig throwers and goers with a fun-inducing stockpile of party supplies and favors. Delight friends and terrify pets with crooning balloons, Mylar helium containment devices that sing songs ($11.49). Party theme packages lend a jovial verisimilitude to Western-themed tea parties or Dungeons and Dragons–themed dance-offs. Celebrate graduations, birthdays, and baby’s first PhD with festivity-appropriate decorations, personalized cups and napkins, or kids’ party supplies such as the Pooh and Friends party favor pack ($8.99).
An autumn harvest fair. A Memorial Day celebration, punctuated by a 21-gun salute. A kids' summer camp complete with archery, swimming, and a meet-and-greet with a friendly raccoon mascot. These are just a few of the events hosted by Grand Prairie Parks & Rec, a department that has garnered a Gold Medal from the National Recreation and Parks Association. Its recreational facilities––including a pool with an aquatic climbing wall––and frequent social events bring the city together year round. Under the bright sun or starry skies, visitors can dance at a concert in the park, rather than just dancing to the rhythmic creak of a swing set. For longer excursions, the 791 lakeside acres of Loyd Park feature 221 campsites replete with cabins, picnic areas, and trails. There, visitors can paddle out on the water in a rented kayak, play a game of volleyball, or sleep overnight under the stars.
Beaumont Ranch is the realization of a dream. Ron Beaumont, the founder and family patriarch, was enamored with the cowboy lifestyle from a very young age, and envisioned himself one day running a ranch like the ones he saw in his favorite western movies. The vision came to fruition in July of 1997, when he and his wife Linda opened their 800 acres of land to the public, allowing visitors to live like cowboys and mingle with their herds of Texas longhorns and horses.
Today, three Beaumont generations live on the ranch, and the guest accommodations have expanded from a 22-room bed-and-breakfast to a 32-room facility boasting an events center, a common area, and a bunkhouse with an additional 48 beds. Well-rested patrons can explore the natural prairies that stretch as far as the eye can see on the transportation of their choice: ATV, horse, or even zipline. After a day spent riding bucking broncos and roping cattle, visitors can kick off their cowboy boots and remove their 10-gallon hats to enjoy pampering serenity at the ranch spa. Here, the aestheticians soothe weary cowpokes' muscles with massages and body scrubs, which were what kept John Wayne so cool under pressure.
When Birgit and Bruce Anderson first purchased their 2-acre property in Burleson, Texas, the new surroundings where they grew vegetables and raised farm animals reminded them of the then-popular television show Little House on the Prairie. The couple—who originally trained as a tax agent and sociology professor—and their daughters farmed the land for several years before a 1995 trip to Napa Valley seduced them into the vineyard lifestyle. After 10 years of studying grape-growing and winemaking, the Andersons opened Sunset Winery, which they've nicknamed and trademarked "The Best Little Wine House in Texas."
Since opening, the late-blooming winemakers have established themselves by winning multiple prizes for their wines and drawing a steady stream of visitors each year. Sunset's lauded bottles include Moon Glow merlot and Twilight Tango malbec, the latter of which won top accolades at the 2009 GrapeFest People's Choice Wine Tasting Classic, edging out other malbecs and a chagrined Susan Lucci.
Boneyard Haunted House has been featured in numerous local media outlets, including in a story on CBS 11 news exploring whether or not the space is actually haunted. Rumors swirl that the large, formerly abandoned building that operator Dan Hall has converted into a haunted house harbors some very real ghosts. To give his guests a proper Halloween fright, Hall has outfitted the building's downstairs area with more than 40,000 square feet of realistic-looking skeleton scenes, elaborate designs, and passageways that reduce one’s line of sight to up the surprise factor. But, as Hall told CBS 11, other unintentional things have been happening inside the haunted house. Rolls of receipts have rolled across the floor and trash cans have accelerated across the room, all seemingly of their own volition. The phenomena have even caused paranormal investigators to come in with recording technology to try to contact the spirits of any lingering souls or prolific Ouija boards that might be stuck on the premises.
For guests who have walked through the haunted house in previous years, every season brings new and scary surprises. A writer from the North Dallas Gazette reported on the effort, noting that "each year, the haunt is completely taken down and the team starts fresh building exclusive rooms and new props." The attraction also boasts an indoor festival area with games, music, concessions, and vendors.
Fiendish ghouls and lost souls stagger across Chaos Crew Presents Mischief Manor and Chaos Academy, the successor to the 13-acre Texas Scaregrounds, which was lauded as one of the top haunted venues in the United States by Haunted Attraction magazine. After the twists, turns, and bloodcurdling screams of the dozens of strobe-light-filled rooms inside Mischief Manor Haunted House, visitors can try their luck at the interactive zombie-themed apocalypse training ground, an abandoned town where the leftover denizens' favorite food is brains. After surviving both attractions, visit Panic's Playground, where you can play games or get your face painted with the likeness of friendly zombie butterflies or carnivorous flowers.