Wayne Standefer, the head pilot at Balloon Adventures, is well versed in Dallas-area scenery and topography, knowledge that helps him regale passengers with information during flights. The adventure begins as the aircraft is brought to life before your eyes. Once his balloon reaches its full height—more than 10 stories—Standefer invites you inside the tightly woven wicker basket to soar above rooftops and trees and dip low over fields and rivers. Total flight time is usually around an hour, though the whole experience can take three times as long from start to finish.
Balloon Adventures also charters its services for weddings, arranges surprise flights for special occasions, and offers instruction in specific tasks such as rigging the balloon, navigating in-flight, and shooing away flocks of paper airplanes. In addition, the company participates in hot-air-balloon festivals, where clouds of bright purple, orange, and yellow balloons fill the daytime sky or illuminate the festival grounds at night.
After visiting BNB Jet Ski Rental, up to three wave wranglers per group can straddle a 2009 Sea-Doo watercraft for two hours of heart-racing fun. The buoyant personal cruisers volunteer their breeze-butchering services to riders of any age, allowing even children to forget about pending marriage proposals and let loose alongside adult drivers. To ensure the safety of each ebb conqueror, BNB adorns operators and passengers in sink-free, Coast Guard–approved safety vests that must be worn at all times and for all yearbook photos. A valid photo ID is required for rental, and BNB will not rent out speedsters to anyone intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or blinding power trips over subservient whitecaps.
Just a 10-minute trip from downtown Dallas, Bahama Beach Waterpark draw visitors to its cooling oasis filled with soaking attractions. Lazing riders lounge in inner tubes as they bob on the serene current of the Calypso Cooler Lazy River, and children race through the nearby Coconut Cove, a rainforest-style playground with rope ladders, slides, and a 1,000-gallon dumping bucket. Two intertwined slides, the Riptide Slide and Bahama Bullet, descend from a 45-foot-high platform, and the nearby Bermuda Triangle's trio of open and closed slides deposits riders into a high-speed splashdown.
Bahama Bob's Island Eatery crafts a full menu of sandwiches, burgers, and snacks for diners, and the Island Traders store dispenses necessities such as sunscreen, locker rentals, and emergency rubber duckies. The park also offers party-sized seating, including group pavilions and private cabanas.
For more than three decades, the Hudson family has fostered a fun, safe environment for exercise at Red Bird Skateland. The glossy roller rink welcomes the public during open skate hours, and hosts birthday parties as well. Bashes can be held during public skate hours, or birthday kids can opt for private celebrations, which lets partygoers skate unimpeded by strangers after feasting on cake.
Several years ago, Branndon Bargo and his brother set out on a mammoth adventure. Not sure what they were after, they biked 4,000 miles to Baja, Mexico from Alaska and found themselves submerged in the open waters of the Pacific, scuba diving with great white sharks. After a harrowing climb of Mount McKinley in Alaska, Branndon began questioning his motivations for staying at his desk job. So in 2005, he gently kissed his cubicle goodbye and founded Live Adventure as a means of encouraging others to challenge themselves while discovering deeper connections with the world around them. Within Cedar Hill State Park, Brandon organizes team-building programs and encourages groups to kayak, synchronize swim, and fish on Joe Pool Lake. Other expeditions include rock-climbing outings and custom guided jaunts around the planet.