Texas Sphere Ride brandishes a novel thrill with its massive inflatable spheres that send adrenaline junkies tumbling along a fenced-in track. The hollow, cushioned plastic balls safely cradle strapped-in pairs as they gather speed, rolling and bouncing along a dirt path. For added excitement, Texas Sphere Ride’s partnership with Helicopter Tours of Texas augments spherical jaunts with a short ride in a chopper for a more heart-pounding adventure than a hostage negotiation in a cardiologist’s office.
A finalist for the 2006 Richard Rodgers Award, Greetings from Yorkville poignantly chronicles the travails and joys of a Midwestern songwriting duo as they move to Manhattan to realize their dream of a life in musical theater. Under the direction of two-time Tony Award–winner Thommie Walsh, real-life couple Anya Turner and Robert Grusecki dramatize the autobiographical narrative with minimal scenery and few explosions, relying on the textures of her voice interwoven with his piano in a tale that “rings true because it is their own” (New York Times). The Brauntex Theatre will host a one-night-only reprise of the original Off-Broadway run in its intimate 600-seat auditorium, feeding families and garnishing West San Antonio Street with a sliver of Big Apple.
On Paintball Knights' nine pristine grassy play fields, combatants take cover behind inflatable obstacles and large tin drums while waging good-natured warfare against the opposing team. A referee for every 10 participants keeps things civil and fun by promising to foil cheaters and inaccurate Braveheart reenactments. Between matches, players can hatch master plans in the 50-table gravel staging area or refuel at the snack bar. The staff supplies biodegradable, easy-break paintballs that leave minimal stains and bruises, as well as complimentary lens cleaner and paper towels to scrub away colorful specks from skin, clothing, and monocles.
Just blocks from the 72-degree waters of the Comal River, Comal Tubes provides inflatable passports to the spring-fed waters that converge in downtown New Braunfels with the Guadalupe River's choppier rapids. Toes and fingers trail in the temperate waters throughout a two-hour float, alternately slipping past tree-lined shores and whipping down faster-moving tube chutes, while others seize their aquatic destinies by the oars with kayak rentals. Comal Tubes' free parking and shuttle service grant more time for the water, and the shop outfits river riders with refreshments, ice, sunscreen, and other gear to escape the mundanity of land-based life's preoccupation with shirts and shoes.
Texas Ski Ranch sends wakeboarders, kneeboarders, and water-skiers skimming across the placid surface of a cable lake—all without the use of a boat. Ropes connected to a circulating cable high above the water pull up to six athletes at a time around the lake, with kickers and sliders stationed throughout to provide opportunities for big air, and a Little Bro cable system is available for beginners. Aside from the cable park, the 70-acre action-filled sports wonderland also boasts a 15,000-square-foot city-style skate park, as well as an indoor trampoline park, beach area, portable rock wall, and Wahoo's Fish Taco restaurant. A staff of coaches and a fully stocked board shop help visitors explore other adrenaline sports, such as wake surfing and extreme sunburning.
John Newcombe Country Club's veranda looks out upon eight lit tennis courts with a sweeping backdrop of Texas Hill Country. While tennis students aged 3 and up scamper over the courts under the guidance of certified instructors, AFAA-certified personal trainers oversee the fitness program, while making sure to reapply bronzing oil every half-hour. They guide trainees through free-weight exercises, as well as classes in Zumba, Pilates, TRX training, and AquaFit conducted in an outdoor pool. While their parents sweat, children can make art and watch movies in the kids' club, or seek out their dream rackets in the pro shop.