The engine's howl steadily builds as the Robinson R44 helicopter's blades churn with increasing velocity. Passengers look out of bubble windows and see grass whipping beneath. In a moment, the turf disappears, fading from view as the chopper lifts higher into the sky. So begins an aerial adventure led by experienced pilots Steve Van Buren and John Holler, who venture into the airways above Austin, San Antonio, the hill country, and central Texas. The air-conditioned copters—equipped with four-way communication that allows guides to maintain contact with passengers—glide through the firmament, as pilots obey all stop-sign-shaped clouds on their way to eye-catching views of sites such as historic Gruene. Crews also bring helicopters to clients for party rentals and assist landowners with predator control and game surveys.
On a regular day in New Braunfels, groups of 16 people can be seen pedaling down the street, perhaps drinking beer as they go. They aren't a crowd of irresponsible cyclists: rather, they're passengers on the PubCrawler of New Braunfels. With seating for a driver, 10 pedaling riders, and 5 other passengers on a rear bench, the pedal-powered bus rumbles along at leisurely speeds of up 5 miles per hour.
Though it's been used for events ranging from bachelorette parties to parades, the PubCrawler—true to its name—most often wheels out for pub crawls. For these outings, the bike embarks along scenic areas such as the historic Town Square, pausing only for drinks at up to three pubs. All rides are BYOB, but passengers are required to bring only glass-free containers, such as cans or an entire fermentation tank. On-board taps with ball or pin-lock connections also allow riders to tap into their own pony kegs.
For three days in November, the Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas Market brings Olde World Christmas spirit to New Braunfels. Vendors set up cheery red and green booths in the German-style holiday market, where they sell homemade wares such as aromatic roasted nuts, unique toys, vintage cameos, and homemade toffee. Nearby, authors sit ready to discuss their novels or sing their favorite Christmas carols at the on-site book fair and a jolly Santa eats breakfast with kids of all ages. To keep guests warm during the event, Sophie's Cafe serves up warm mugs of soup paired with sandwiches or tempting desserts.
Proceeds from the event benefit The Sophienburg Museum and Archives, which serves as the hub for immigration ship logs, photos, and documents of the first German Americans who found their way to Texas.
Named San Antonio's Best Museum in the 2010 Nickelodeon Parents' Choice Awards, San Antonio Children's Museum has ushered more than two million guests through its educational wonderland since opening in 1995. Tykes can explore permanent exhibits such as Science City, with hands-on exhibits covering physics, engineering, and how to extract highlighter ink from lightning bugs. In PowerBall Hall, children man simple machines to send orbs up to a lofty cage until the chamber fills and unleashes a spherical torrent down upon the delighted little ones. Other exhibits impart lessons of financial responsibility and proper nutrition in a make-believe bank and market. Membership is calibrated for any permutation of the family unit, and grants amenities including unlimited visits for a year, a subscription to the museum newsletter “Spark!,” and access to more than 40 classes where kids can submit theses on baking-soda volcanoes for peer review.
When horror movies like the Paranormal Activity franchise need a supernatural adviser and The Atlantic Paranormal Society needs a recruiter, they turn to Robert. A former cast member on SyFy's Ghost Hunters International, he draws on his extensive paranormal know-how to lead 90-minute nighttime treks with Ghost Hunts of San Antonio Texas Tour.
Exploring the dusky streets of downtown San Antonio, the tour stops at more than 10 locations with verified ghost activity, including the Flannery House, the Crockett Hotel, and the Casino Club building, where apparitions can be spotted mulling over the same poker hand they've been holding for more than 100 years. Rob showcases modern ghost-hunting equipment while helping guests detect spirits by seeking out cold spots and snapping photographs. When he's not commanding the hunt, he regales visitors with factual accounts of the deaths of famous San Antonio spirits including Mae West, Davie Crockett, and Roy Rogers.
The Witte Museum was born from many minds seeking a singular goal: to create a public forum that promoted lifelong learning. From a $65,000 gift bequeathed to the city of San Antonio after Alfred Witte's death in 1921, this museum of science, natural history, and South Texas heritage was built along the San Antonio River and named after the late Witte's parents.
Today, the Witte Museum still pursues this wide range of knowledge with hands-on scientific and historical exhibits. The museum's long-term features portray the natural wonders of southern Texas, including ancient rock art from the lower Pecos, examples of local ecology, and dinosaur fossils found locally while trying to uncover lost time capsules.