There's rarely a dull moment at Rancho La Rosa. Sprawled across 50 acres, the half equine resort, half event center consistently stirs with activity. Many days, instructors are busy leading riders through lessons in three disciplines: beginners, trail, and competitive barrel racing . For especially young visitors, they scale lessons back into fundamental "love, hug, and groom" sessions?a similar mantra used by horses protesting the mistreatment of Mister Ed in the 1960s. Away from the practice areas, scenic picnic layouts and a clubhouse make an ideal backdrop to weddings, birthday parties, and more common gatherings such as family cookouts.
Closed fingers, a squeezed calf, shifted weight—the horse responds to each barely perceptible command, performing choreographed motions and meeting mental demands with grace. This is the art of dressage, and along with cross-country and stadium jumping, it's part of Deer Creek Stables’ specialty: eventing. But although the stables' trainers mainly teach competitive riders to strengthen the human-horse bond for eventing and Western dressage, they also take joy in extending their fascination with steeds to newcomers, teaching very basic skills to those mounting a horse for the first time.
Known for their patience with horses and people alike, head trainer Jennifer Burk and her staff give private and group lessons, covering everything from grooming to jumping. They can also provide school horses, safety equipment, and tack for riders getting started or whose horses have recently gone off to horse college. Their grassy 38-acre facility includes a lighted indoor arena and 30 acres of turnout for boarding horses.
It's a good idea to arrive early at Movie Tavern, and not only if you hate missing the opening credits. Early birds can peruse the extensive menu of chef-crafted American cuisine, from kobe beef sliders to pizza and sandwiches. But even after the show begins, the snacks keep coming. Unobtrusive servers slip in during the show to deliver orders, and can be called on for more drinks or dessert with the push of a button. Guests can even sip margaritas or signature cocktails at the full bar before heading in to the theater. The family-friendly establishment also serves finger food for kiddies.
As for the entertainment, audiences get to enjoy all-digital presentations of first-run films any day of the week, plus Retro Cinema every Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. as well as Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Audiences also benefit from Movie Tavern's membership program. Anyone can sign up for free online to receive one free bag of popcorn, plus a free ticket every year on their birthday, special offers, movie news, and invites to screenings and other special events.
Owners Maarten and Hanna Vanderstoel created Van Grow Studio of the Arts to promote creative thinking and problem solving in children through artistic crafts. Boasting degrees in fine arts and studio arts, respectively, Maarten and Hanna teach most of the classes and prepare the curricula for all of the studio's camps. TCU graduate Alma Worrell manages the open studio and paint-your-own-pottery rooms, which are also accessible to adults. Van Grow's upbeat instructors nurture creativity and confidence across three age groups, offering classes, parties, and workshops to pique a wide range of interests. Courses foster each student's individual vision, rather than a mastery of technique, and help to develop motor skills, self-esteem, and the ability to sculpt gummy-bear replicas of Rodin's The Thinker.
Since opening in 1961, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art has built up a world-class collection of more than 200,000 pieces, including 19th- and 20th-century canvases from Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, and Georgia O'Keeffe. Those masterworks share space with works by artists Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, among others, a collection of American photographs, and one of the country's earliest daguerreotypes. Special exhibitions delve more deeply into such styles as American modernism, abstract art, and landscape photography. The museum also strives to educate visitors through children's programs, book clubs, and lectures by artists and scholars on topics such as why it is unsafe to eat the fruit painted in still lifes.
Shingled peaks and a lofty white balcony greet visitors as they stroll up to the Texas Civil War Museum, where more than 15,000 square feet of exhibits and collections work together to educate present generations on The War Between the States. The museum's themed sections weave a visual trek through time with artifacts preserved from both sides of the conflict, including infantry, cavalry, and artillery remnants. Medical relics and musical instruments supply additional glimpses into the war zone, and a collection of more than 300 Victorian dresses, which rotate on exhibit, showcases the style of women and celebrity cannons from that era. In addition to escorting guests through history, the museum also plays host to frequent events, such as monument ceremonies and live musical acts.