More than 500 exotic animals prowl, scamper, and crawl through their expansively recreated habitats at Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo. One of the rarest and most beautiful of all the animals is on display in the Ghosts of the Jungle presentation. There, two white lion cubs, some of a very small number in the world tumble and play. They're not albinos, but uniquely pigmented animals first seen in the Timbavati region in 1938, and they have beautifully colored eyes that flit intelligently around their space.
There's plenty else to see there, as well. Guests quake with curiosity as they watch the alligator and crocodile ponds. Patrons can interact with cuddlier critters at the petting zoo, where dozens of fluffy goats, alpacas, and llamas gather to tie-dye their coats. Elsewhere, cackles of hyenas reverberate throughout the grounds, spurring a pack of wolves to emit a more introspective sound by baying at the moon. Wizened tortoises bask in a field of lettuce and racing trophies as a duo of ring-tailed lemurs relax in their environment.
Within the McKenna Children's Museum, the laughter of parents and children bounces through the corridors of hands-on educational exhibits. The ever-changing features and activities foster creativity in youngsters while stimulating their interest in science, health, and nature. In a realistic grocery store, shelves full of goods let kids practice nutritional shopping and arguing over the expiration dates of coupons. Further along, the Destination Space exhibit hosts a simulated space shuttle where children can take the helm of important-looking controls. Outside the museum, a colorful maze snakes up a 30-foot climbing structure, and cushy blue building pieces are scattered across the outdoor playground.
A large gift shop packs shelves with interactive toys from Melissa & Doug and Alex. A fresh salad bar stretches across the dining room of the onsite bistro, complementing a menu of healthy snacks that fuel wee ones for their day of play and night of blackmailing the boogeyman.
Texas Ski Ranch sends wakeboarders, kneeboarders, and water-skiers skimming across the placid surface of a cable lake—all without the use of a boat. Ropes connected to a circulating cable high above the water pull up to six athletes at a time around the lake, with kickers and sliders stationed throughout to provide opportunities for big air, and a Little Bro cable system is available for beginners. Aside from the cable park, the 70-acre action-filled sports wonderland also boasts a 15,000-square-foot city-style skate park, as well as an indoor trampoline park, beach area, portable rock wall, and Wahoo's Fish Taco restaurant. A staff of coaches and a fully stocked board shop help visitors explore other adrenaline sports, such as wake surfing and extreme sunburning.
Texas Sphere Ride brandishes a novel thrill with its massive inflatable spheres that send adrenaline junkies tumbling along a fenced-in track. The hollow, cushioned plastic balls safely cradle strapped-in pairs as they gather speed, rolling and bouncing along a dirt path. For added excitement, Texas Sphere Ride’s partnership with Helicopter Tours of Texas augments spherical jaunts with a short ride in a chopper for a more heart-pounding adventure than a hostage negotiation in a cardiologist’s office.
Both flight training and tours take place in a 2008 Robinson Raven II helicopter, hooked up to its antlers with an HD camera system that can record the flight for an extra cost. Discovery flights (up to a $299 value) are ideal for anyone considering the aerial career path of a helicopter pilot. The lesson begins with 30 minutes of ground training and includes a variety of preflight procedures. Following this earthbound orientation, you'll take to the skies for 20 minutes of hands-on, instructor-guided flying. If you aren't interested in piloting the R-44, you can perch above the skies crying "Nevermore!" with an aerial three-person tour. During the 20-minute experience, you and two friends or a father-son potato-sack-racing team will be guided 500 feet above the earth's crust for a westbound tour over the Guadalupe River and beautiful Texas Hill Country. Whether piloting or passengeering, you'll be treated to a variety of sublime natural views.
At Two Rivers Yoga, owner Sara Dasso and her team of friendly and experienced instructors lead several daily classes designed for toning and strengthening. The studio specializes in Ashtanga and Vinyasa styles of yoga, which utilize a combination of standing and seated postures, balancing moves, and inversions. The Hatha Basics yoga class is ideal for beginners and features a focus on proper breathing and alignment. Students can also show a little midsection during one of the studio's many belly dance classes, which are far more beneficial than old-hat-esophagus-dancing classes.