3 Wide Racing Entertainment brings miniaturized race-day rowdiness to parties and events, sending radio-controlled stock cars zooming around a portable 9'x18' racetrack, complete with drivers' stations and a professionally dressed pit crew. During each two-hour sprint, four hot rods at a time vie for blacktop supremacy on the XP18 racetrack, which boasts a digital lap counter, computerized in-race announcing, and a cybernetic agent to manage the racers' sponsorship opportunities. Races are standardized at about 2–3 minutes per go-around, leaving plenty of time for rematches. Whether wannabe drivers are children, adults, or two children in a trench coat and false mustache, easy-to-operate controls put revelers of all ages in the driver’s seat.
The zookeepers and storytellers at Tiny Tails to You! travel from town to town to organize pop-up petting zoos four days a week, and lease out hands-on learning experiences for festivals, summer camps, and private parties. What beasts turn up at these parties is up to the customer, who might arrange for anything from an avalanche of fluffy bunnies and baby birds to an encampment of chinchillas, hedgehogs, leopard geckos, and tortoises. The staff's love for animals extends beyond informative show-and-tells—head zookeeper Ed Bradfield offers pet-sitting services for dogs, cats, exotic pets, and house-trained rocks, and the zookeepers are nearly always offering baby bunnies for adoption.
Named Best Honey in 2008 by the Dallas Observer, Round Rock Honey's 100% natural local wildflower honey is harvested from more than 90 sites by owners Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard and their crews of trained beekeepers. With precision, they remove the liquid gold from hives by centrifuge, ensuring that pollen, trace minerals, and complex sugars are never compromised during the honey harvest. They then pour the honey through a stainless-steel sieve to remove potential bee legs and wings, wax caps, and miniature tiaras before bottling it and selling it to specialty stores, farmer's market visitors, and online customers.
A similar procedure happens in other parts of the country at Round Rock's beekeeping schools. During classes, Konrad Bouffard and Beekeeping Academy teachers impart their beekeeping knowledge upon suited-up students while they extract honey from a live beehive. Along the way, novices learn about the finer points of raising bees and keeping them healthy, as well as bee handling and lullaby-buzzing.
After 22 years in the air force, Water 2 Wine–founder John McFadden established his first custom winery in San Antonio seven years ago. Already the business has spread as far as Milwaukee to the north and Denver to the west, bringing the country's vinophiles more than 100 wines, each of which are fermented on site and available for tastings every day. Those who want to get more involved in the crafting process may sign up to make their own wine and steep themselves in each step of the operation, from selecting the grape varieties, beginning the fermentation process, withstanding a wait of about 45 days, and finally christening their creation by smashing a tiny boat against the bottle. All custom-made wines are plastered with personalized labels made from one of Water 2 Wine’s templates or images that customers design from the ground up.
[[m:####Pump It Up
Voted No. 4 in the Top 10 Birthday Chains for Kid Birthday Parties in 2010 by Parents magazine, Pump It Up unfurls imaginative indoor playgrounds and party rooms teeming with inflatable fun. A stalwart staff oversees the neighborhood of bounce houses and air-filled playthings that populate the arena, including a regal throne for celebrating birthdays or announcing edicts mandating dessert for breakfast. The ascending wall of the Vertical Rush challenges climbers with a hump-shaped obstacle, whereas attached dueling slides send victors careening into fun. A calendar of events details dates and times for open play and lectures on refinancing mortgages on family treehouses.:m]]