Upon first glance, those training and partying on Kick-em Training Facility's four indoor fields seem to be playing soccer. But they're actually engaging in futsal, a game whose smaller turf and heavier ball make it an ideal training opportunity for soccer players. Atop the green rectangles, athletes practice and casual guests enjoy open play. Birthday partiers can also celebrate sportily before fueling up with cake (prepared, perhaps, in the facility's industrial kitchen). The space also hosts dodge-ball games, and serves as a practice facility for students in mascot academies. Futsal leagues give the sport's local players a place to show off as friends cheer from wooden benches or unleash flocks of doves in their honor.
There are few places left in the world where humans and hippopotamuses can swim peacefully side by side. In fact, Wet Zone may be the last. Haley, the loveable mascot, wanders around the water park in a floral-print dress with pink eye shadow accentuating her smile while she high-fives birthday boys and girls at on-site parties. Like a queen in her castle, sculptures of her speckle the park's various splash pools, look out over the geysers and showering pipes, and welcome aquatic adventurers to Turtle Cove and the colorful Kiddie Playground. And Haley also lends inspiration, fortifying wee ones with the gusto necessary to tackle the park's two giant water slides or age-specific swim lessons.
While kiddies splash on multi-level playhouses, adults can sneak away from the large lap pool to gear up for aquatic battle at the Water Wars game. Then families can reunite on land for a game of volleyball, or head over to Haley's Hunger Hut for some nachos or hot dogs. Private, grass-roofed cabanas give sun-shunners a place to dodge the heat as they chow down, and free Wi-Fi allows furtive check-ins with work or information transmissions with the mother ship. Yet no one has an excuse to stay dry for long?an on-site gift shop is stocked with bathing suits and towels to equip the ill-prepared for a day spent swimming.
Imagine the moment when a shy, introverted young girl steps in front of a room full of people for the first time and speaks with confidence and clarity. This is a regular occurrence at Drama Kids International, where experienced teachers use a unique, copyrighted curriculum to help shape and focus outgoing children or draw shy children out of their shells. Classes for kids as young as 3 refine speech techniques, dramatic movement, and imagination, giving them the confidence to perform in front of an audience or finally ask their parents to change their names to Thespis. For older kids, aged 12–18, Drama Kids International offers the DKI Acting Academy, where serious theater kids can expand their speaking, acting, and auditioning skills through exercises and performances.
At Texas Skatium, roller skaters roam the rink as a disco ball spins from the center of the ceiling, with dozens of flags hanging above them and speakers pumping out Top 40 jams. Originally opened in 1989, the recently remodeled building houses both a roller rink and a play area complete with brand-new bounce houses and arcade games. The upgrades from the renovation also brought in a state-of-the-art A/V system and projection screen. The 33,000-square-foot space is ideal for private or public events, which range from kids' birthday parties to after-hours adult soirees with alcohol, a DJ, and screenings of uncut episodes of Murder, She Wrote.
As part of a premiere PADI five-star National Geographic instructor-development center, International Scuba’s team trains underwater explorers in a variety of courses that range from snorkeling and skin diving to open-water and rescue diving. The heated, indoor salt-water pool accommodates divers from ages 8 and older, and equipment packages ensure all students are outfitted for their dives. Beyond the student level, divers can also earn their master scuba-diver certification, thus becoming teachers themselves. Students who master any of these levels can then elect a related specialty allowing them to dive under the ice, discover underwater wrecks, snap photographs of marine life, and help protect coral reefs from predatory plastic bags. Students who have completed their desired level of training but want to venture forth with a group can also participate in a trip diving in locations abroad and in 30 rivers, quarries, and beaches in and around Texas.
The aquatic playland at Surf and Swim aims to bring the quintessential beach experience to a controlled water park. Inner tubes and their passengers float atop a wave pool's sprawling waters, splashing as the sun lovingly stares deep into their eyes. Pipes, plastic animals, and fountains pepper the kids area, and the aptly named Chill and Grill Cafe serves up burgers and fries. On select nights, the park transforms into an outdoor movie theater, where groups can swim and bob for their ticket stubs while watching a full-size screen.