Tank's Paintball Park has hosted chromatic combatants in the Houston area for more than 17 years. It recently added a Sugarland paintball complex, which covers 29 acres of woodland. There's even a central creek, which can act as a strategic border or a place for cheaters looking to wash paint from their clothes. Casual players can take advantage of rental equipment for open games, and there are buckets of field paint to help keep veteran players' markers topped off. The field also offers SplatMaster games, which employ special, low-impact markers so kids up to the age of 12 can explore the sport.
There's always a pot boiling somewhere at the Pearland Crawfish Festival. During the event, vendors bring in farm-raised crawfish from the Gulf Coast, cook it, and then serve it by the pound or turn it into sport through eating competitions. The celebration of cajun cuisine extends well beyond crawfish, too. Cooks here also fry alligator, ladle out gumbo, and stuff pistolettes?deep-fried french rolls?with a mix of spicy seafood, beef, cheese and other ingredients.
Yet the festival would still exist even without these edible elements. The grounds also encompass a carnival, complete with rides and more food, as well as two stages where musicians strum and blow the blues on one and zydeco, country, and rock on the other. There's even fun to be had for nonhumans in Splash Dogs, an activity where pups get to run off a ramp into a pool of water to cool down and try to out-cannonball one another.
"The Zombie Apocalypse has hit," bellows TX Zombie Hunt, "and you are recruited." Luckily, this isn't a matter of life or death, just a matter of zapping the undead with 100 rounds of zombie-killing serum from the back of a tractor-pulled trailer. As the trailer weaves through the dark woods, the hunt is on. Passengers will move through thick fog filled with strobe lights and blood-soaked zombies before taking their shot. Back at the headquarters, youngsters can get in on the action in the Kids Zone, which includes a spooky jumping house and a face painter.
At Paint Until You Faint, students are introduced to the diverse world of art creation with recreation firmly in mind. Artists bring a favorite beverage to class, and sip on it continually while a 1950s-style jukebox plays tunes in the background and a professional instructor guides them through recreating a painting step by step. Students of all skill levels are welcome to join for the camaraderie while forging their own image on the canvas.
George Ranch Historical Park, only half an hour southwest of Houston, is more than a representation of Texas history?it?s the hundred-year story of a ranching family who lived their lives on the park?s very soil. The attractions tell their story, beginning with the Jones Stock Farm?a cattle operation circa 1830?where interpreters demonstrate old-fashioned skills amidst a traditional dog-trot log cabin. The Ryon Prairie Home unveils an 1860s image of a Texas Ranch home in the golden age of the cattle drive, and the Davis Mansion contains artifacts from Victorian-era Texas enjoyed by the wealthiest citizens of the 1890s. The final site, the George Ranch Complex, demonstrates ranching life as it happened in the 1930s, including barn structures and daily cattle demonstrations. Guides show off each building and era with historic tours, demonstrations, and living history exhibits such as a working blacksmith shop.
The park?s directors breathe life back into this history with interactive events, as well. They also schedule an array of yearly events such as military reenactments, and holiday-themed history lessons.
Aromas of grilled Black Angus burgers waft through All Stars Family Grill, where play spaces for toddlers to 12-year-olds are as much of an attraction as the hearty American fare. Entrees, sandwiches, and kid-size meals appear at the pickup counter with complimentary soft-serve ice cream, which incentivizes alfresco dining at picnic benches on the large, concrete patios. A pair of playgrounds, one designed for toddlers and the other for ages 5?12, entertains kids with slides and tunnels. Inside, wooden tables sprawl out under a checkerboard ceiling, which also decorates three private rooms ready with 50-inch plasma high-definition TVs and AV equipment. An arcade buzzes with 13 games including Madden and Target Terror, and flat-screen TVs sprinkled throughout the restaurant display sports, breaking news, and cartoons.