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.