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.
Offering sunrise and sunset excursions, Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloons floats riders through the clouds on brightly colored, eight-story-tall buoys of heated air. After venturing to the launch site, guests will meet the day's FAA-certified captain, crew, and up to 24 fellow passengers. Air wranglers impart a formal safety briefing as balloons slowly take shape, filling with hot air supplied by area high-school debate teams. A blast of burners lifts leisure seekers into the air, drifting through the blue sky for approximately an hour, bandied about by the day's prevailing winds. Balloons will be followed on the ground by chase crews who rendezvous at the chosen landing site for a congratulatory postflight celebration.
At Paradise Fun Center, the gurgling waterfalls in two 18-hole mini-golf courses and the rustling of trees in the breeze provide the soundtrack for pleasant, family-friendly outings. Each course is riddled with zigzags, sharp turns, and challenges that don't rely on advanced levitation abilities. Batting cages accommodate fast- and slow-pitch practice, and go-kart racing quenches needs for speed, and a variety of arcade games are available. In between the fun and games, the center keeps energy levels elevated with candy, pizza, nachos, and ice cream at its snack bar, and a picnic area and party room are available for group outings.