While Trail of Fear is now Oklahoma's largest haunted attraction, Hauntworld.com reveals that the original format was a small, roadside hay maze operated by a father and son in 1998. Today, a three-story pyramid looms above the theme park's frightful environs and prowling actors. Creators Bob Wright Sr. and Bob Wright Jr. supervise a staff of more than 100?a vast increase from their first crew of approximately 15 people and a few rusty table fans?as they guide visitors through four nightmarish worlds. Though the majority of these helpers return to the job each season with fiendish devotion, their strategies for harvesting screams evolve every year to surprise even the most loyal fans.
Between the two locations there are five haunted attractions, including a maniacal ringmaster overseeing the disorienting maze and murderous clowns of Cirque de Morte, malformed test subjects rising from The Experiment's excavation and lab sites, and performers injecting dark humor into their classic sideshow acts at the Thunderbird Trail of Fear.
On the Halloween Midway, Boo House BBQ supplies fuel for brave souls in the form of burgers and brisket. Fairground games embrace macabre twists; past activities include a severed-head toss and live-zombie target practice. For younger children, Pumpkin Junction entertains with scary stories and magic tricks on select nights. A portion of Trail of Fear's proceeds go to benefit a specific charity every year, contributing thousands of dollars to community causes.
In all of weight loss, there may be no concept less aptly named than the “low-calorie” diet. That’s because the calorie unit we associate with food actually refers to kilo calories—meaning when we say, “2,000 calories a day,” we actually mean 2,000,000. A calorie is a unit of heat, or energy—specifically, the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. And if the number of calories we ingest is bad news, the upside is that we are burning them all the time.
A certain amount of calories—about 60–75% of the calories you burn each day—are needed to sustain the body's unconscious functions, such as breathing and circulation. Known as basal metabolic rate, the specific percentage depends on factors such as size and body composition, gender, and age (typically, as people get older, fat makes up a larger portion of body weight, causing calories to burn more slowly). Digestion makes up about another 10 percent of the calories burned, leaving physical activity to account for the rest.
During exercise, the muscles contract, causing the body's adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules to break down as the heart continues to pump faster and faster—increasing the body’s demand for more energy. Once the muscles have depleted the day’s caloric intake, they turn to other calorie sources to fuel the fire—making weight loss possible as the body begins to sacrifice fat cells to the god of the treadmill.
HeyDay Family Fun provides activities, games, and family fun for all ages. On an indoor ropes course, harnessed climbers traverse balance beams and bridges suspended far above the large arcade. From that vantage point, patrons get a bird's eye view of their rivals' air-hockey strategies or watch slick masses of horsepower slip around corners on Need for Speed and Fast and Furious racing games. In the two-level, 7,000-square-foot laser-tag arena, walls of swirling fog close tightly around warriors as they hide under bridges and dodge behind illuminated pillars. The noise of good-natured combat drifts faintly out over 18 holes of mini golf littered with waterfalls, streams, sand traps, and rugged outdoorsmen trying to live off sand.
DoubleDave's Pizzaworks, an onsite family-friendly restaurant and sports bar, quells protesting tummies between games with a menu of strombolis, wings, sandwiches, and hand-tossed pizzas made with fresh-daily dough. HeyDay Family Fun also offers birthday party and group packages.
At TG Farms Pumpkin Patch, autumn’s shifting breezes not only herald a fresh crop of gourds, but also the start of the farm’s annual festivities. From morning until nightfall, families traipse through the patch in search of a pumpkin that will transform into their dream jack-o’-lantern or a car for their children to take to college, and navigate the twists and turns of a massive corn maze. On a calm pond, ducks await generous handfuls of feed, and a petting zoo lets wee ones commune with calves and goats. Back under a roof, the gift shop hosts decorative gourds, straw bales, and other fall decor.
Although autumn is the season when activity reaches a fever pitch, TG Farms is open to outdoor enthusiasts year-round. In spring, visitors learn how crops grow in the fields and flowers bloom in greenhouses. When the sun strengthens into summer, farmers peddle homegrown tomatoes and juicy watermelon. And in winter, when the last leaves have frozen over, families can pick out a fresh-cut Christmas tree or collect a jar of fresh snowman tears.
Fish Strong's anglers scan the azure vistas of Oklahoma’s lakes for tiny splashes and darting glints of silver on fishing expeditions with groups of all ages and experience levels. Though most of the company’s excursions take place on scenic Lake Murray—a veritable gold mine of smallmouth bass located within the 12,500-acre Lake Murray State Park—visitors may also cast their lines across the glassy surfaces of Lakes Arbuckle, Konawa, Thunderbird, Hefner, and Eufaula. Two boats outfitted with powerful engines and modern tracking equipment home in on scaly targets from a distance, enabling the luckiest fishermen to catch as many as 30 bass, crappies, and catfish on a single trip. Trips depart at sunrise and in the early evening—when fish are most prone to snatching up bait—and include all necessary gear, from rods and tackle to sunscreen and wax to protect ears from yodeling sirens.
For more than a quarter-century, Sooner Bowling Center has fostered a sense of community with bowling leagues for youth and adults, parties, and recreational play. The fun haven was founded and is still run by a local family, and it renders its 24 lanes as inviting as possible by making them smoke-free and attended by an always-friendly staff. While hanging out at these lanes, bowlers can pursue series of strikes in regular fashion or amid the neon luminescence of glow bowl sessions. A full-service snack bar fills empty stomachs, and a selection of arcade games and pool tables give guests a whole new context for tossing bowling balls.
Sooner Bowling Center's manager, Mandy Haws, has been an active member of the Bowling Proprietors Association of America, and her bona fides are further bolstered by her work for the Oklahoma State High School Bowling Executive Committee, a highly respected chess organization.