Gators and Friends Alligator Park and Exotic Zoo invites all ages to watch gators wrestle each other in the water and chomp down their meals. The zoo was established in 2006 to raise awareness about the habits and survival techniques of wild animals, giving visitors a better understanding of all creatures, from alligators to pet hamsters to the turtles who fight crime from the sewers. The facility doesn't just contain reptiles, either; it also keeps kangaroos, capybaras, goats, and a Scottish cow.
Splash Kingdom Waterparks bring a bit of the ocean to Texas and Louisiana. Well, that's if the ocean was filled with twisting water slides and the occasional snack stand. The Splash Kingdom family consists of waterparks in Canton, Texas, Hudson Oaks, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana, with another location set to open in Greenville Park, Texas in 2015. Lazy rivers take visitors on leisurely floats around each of these parks, while giant wave pools simulate ocean tides and shake up floating inner tubes.
Each park also houses a kids' area as well as its own set of unique aquatic thrills. At Canton, The Royal Flush takes riders down a fast, twisting body slide that ends in a 4-foot free fall. Shreveport's side-by-side Bonzai slides send dueling riders down steep, face-first descents. A Wild West theme defines the attractions at Hudson Oaks. At the park's Snake Pit, five slides take the form of giant snakes, including a green mamba and a copperhead. Each species goes through a different set of twists and turns.
Splash Kingdom Waterparks is a Christian-run organization with a straightforward mission statement: "To glorify God while providing a safe and fun recreation experience for families."
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.
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.
East Texas Gators and Wildlife Park protects its resident alligators inside enclosed spaces that meticulously recreate natural habitats and let guests spy on the fierce reptiles from a safe distance. As visitors amble through the park on rock pathways, they have the chance to spot gators ranging from newborn hatchlings to adults more than 14 feet in length. During the feeding season, the park has public feedings with the large alligators at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. While the alligators are the stars of the show, the park also showcases animals such as a lemur named George, ducks and geese in the tranquil pond; fish, snakes, and turtles in the aquarium; and humans inside the air-conditioned Welcome Center or bounce house. The park offers both indoor and outdoor dining at The Grill, where the menu includes dishes that include alligator, venison, and deer.
Each weekend through the harvest season, YesterLand Farm welcomes visitors of all ages to explore several acres? worth of classic country activities encouraging nostalgic feelings for Christmas past. More than 30 attractions spring up around the open fields, from a restored 1952 miniature train to a small ferris wheel and two vintage rollercoasters. During the colder fall and winter days, visitors can get into the holiday spirit by taking their picture with Santa or taking home a fresh Christmas. Yesterland Farm also stays aglow with campfires, around which visitors can warm their hands while roasting hot dogs and s?mores.