One inch off the asphalt, roaring by at 65 mph. Because On Track Xperience houses a fleet of NasKarts powered by Honda engines, this kind of wind-in-your-hair action is possible. Helmets, of course, keep wind out of hair, though, while drivers 16 and older zip around Thunderhill Raceway's banked oval track. Each race burns up 10 laps and lasts about five minutes. Those looking to master their lap times can attend speed school and learn the ins and outs from a former pro racer and trainer. And those interested in a little competition can join eight-week racing leagues. Groups can also navigate the oval circuit for birthdays or corporate events that can accommodate up to 400 for team-building racing events where winners are showered in a business-card tickertape parade.
Patrons descend upon the Buda Beer and Polka Fest to set eardrums in motion with lively accordion music and indulge taste buds in delectable German eats. Visitors roam the park imbibing in traditional German revelry as they fill their bellies with authentic cuisine such as schweinshaxe—the Bavarian-favorite roasted ham hock—or apfelküchle—a succulent dessert of fried apple cakes. An expansive pavilion shelters the stage from rainy weather and the sun's piercing gaze as traditional dancers do the hula to polka bands' spirited Bavarian oompah beats churned out in 2/4 time. In addition to German-inspired entertainment, such as arts and crafts, a gut-busting sausage-eating competition challenges visitors' stomach capacity and the sexiest-fräulein-costume contest encourages guests to don tantalizing lederhosen get-ups or ankle-revealing burlap sacks to impress the panel of judges.
As the wakeboards, waterskies, and skateboards of The Texas Ski Ranch zoom about outside, the Spring Loaded Indoor Trampoline Park facility holds airborne activities of its own. Trampolines stretch across the more than 15,000-square-foot facility, pulsating beneath the socks of leaping, tumbling, and flipping adults and youngsters alike. The venue also houses inflatable bounce houses for tinier guests, and come Tuesday nights, colorful balls sail through the air during weekly dodge-ball games. The staff hosts birthdays throughout the year, along with Mommy and Me sessions and fitness classes.
"It's like throwing a party every day," Byron Severance, who co-owns The Jumpy Place along with his wife, Cathy, told the Hays Free Press. "It's the most fun I've ever had in a job." Byron and Cathy's indoor playground—kept immaculate with a strict socks-only policy, daily disinfectant washes, and an unbudging ban on trashcan-dwelling Grouches—relieves the endemic of excess energy common to youths aged 10 and younger. As children bounce in and slide down air-filled fortresses, adults entertain themselves with complimentary coffee, WiFi, and cartoon-free television. Both locations are open every day except Tuesday, and each admission grants all-day access that allows families to come and go as they please.
The culinary authors at Trattoria Lisina publish a menu listing an array of country-style Italian cuisine. An appetizer of fried calamari fritti, speckled with flour, semolina, and spices, ambles across taste buds with accomplices of pepperoni aioli and spicy tomato sauce ($10). The spaghetti carbonara, prepared with pancetta, egg, garlic, and Romano cheese, lends a noodly texture to cuisine quests ($12). An entree of costolette di agnello alla griglia plates locally acquired, grass-fed lamb chops grilled on oak and pecan with a balsamic glaze and mashed potatoes ($28). The capesante al Giovanni unites pan-seared scallops with sautéed spinach, creamy polenta, and a hickory-and-herb-smoked tomato puree ($23).
Wine is an effective cure for ailments such as boredom, conversationitis, and pasta-mouth. At Dry Comal Creek, you’ll imbibe a wide range of home-bred, adult grape beverages that are complex and stimulating in a way that makes grape-juice boxes flush with jealousy. You and a friend will taste an array of 10 wines, from dry whites and reds to demi-sweet wines. The Mongrel Bastardo offers a tongueful of sweetness laced with pineapple and lemon, and Comal Red IX pairs perfectly with barbecue, lending its powerful bouquet of blackberry, cherry, and chocolate. With 10 educational palate-pleasers in your repertoire, you'll get one non-reserve bottle to take home.