From 14,000 feet above the earth, cities and farms look like tiny brown circuit boards below. Excited shrieks, bent by speeds of up to 120 mph, drift through the cool air, the only sound. Parachutes blossom colorfully on the backs of patrons strapped to Skydive Spaceland's instructors, all of whom have a minimum of 800 jumps under their carefully tightened belts. The professional skydivers can take thrill-seekers on tandem jumps, help them achieve a U.S. Parachute Association license in as little as one week, or allow them a rare glimpse of Superman’s bald spot.
Skydive Spaceland's owner, Steve Boyd, built the park from the ground up exclusively for skydiving. At any given moment across the 130 acres, you can find divers prepping in an air-conditioned packing area, watching dives from an observation deck, or nibbling sandwiches at an onsite deli.
The manmade, 12-acre lake at Wake Nation Houston was designed for wakeboarding, but there's not a single boat on it. Instead, a system of cables and pulleys whisks wakeboarders along the placid surface in much the same way towropes pull astronauts to the moon. Aided by supportive instructors, beginners learn the fundamentals of the sport with the use of a practice cable on a smaller practice pond before taking to the main lake. More advanced aquatic acrobats, meanwhile, soar off floating jumps and slalom around obstacles.
Despite its name, the park isn't exclusively for wakeboarders. Its cables can just as easily haul visitors on kneeboards, water skis, and wake-skates. Water-shy guests can watch their friends from an observation deck, browse the pro shop, or nosh on snacks from the concession stand.
Amid the kettlebells and pull-up bars of a 4,200-square-foot facility, you can find a diverse range of athletes, parents, and professionals. In CrossFit Enigma's CrossFit classes, trainers lead students through high-intensity combinations of weight training, gymnastics, and plyometrics while scaling each movement to accommodate every student's fitness level. Rather than focusing on weight loss or muscle gain alone, each workout strives to enhance all domains of physical fitness, including strength, endurance, flexibility, and stamina. The CrossFit program stresses nutrition as the foundation of fitness, guiding students toward diets of vegetables and lean meats in lieu of high-glycemic carbohydrates and plastic scones from children's tea sets.
Southern Breeze Equestrian Center is a utopia for horse lovers, where expert instruction turns whinnying tenderfeet into sure-footed saddle-masters. With lessons devised for all ages and experience levels, this full-service facility fills its four riding arenas with enthusiastic forays into horsemanship. Southern Breeze’s 45-minute private lesson ($65), offered Mondays through Saturdays with one of the center's experienced assistant trainers, is tailored to individual levels of equine expertise. First-time riders spend some ground time looking under the hood, using humanpower to harness horsepower before embarking on their first longe-line ride. Experienced straphangers will work on enhancing their skills, mastering the maneuvers of dressage horses or leaping over 20 burning busses.
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Athletic & Performing Arts Center is a one-stop shop for kids' fun and athletics. It was born when two of Houston's long-running kids' gymnastics and dance programs joined forces. Now under one name, the instructors lead a variety gymnastics classes from Teeter Toddler classes intended for tots 16 months-35 months old, to an assortment of tumbling classes for kids over 6 in a range of skill levels. Available dance classes include styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop. They also host open-play sessions, in which kids can blow off steam after a long day at the lemonade stand.
Jerit Pogue, the owner of the newly unified APAC, says that he and his fellow trainers and teachers love seeing the glow of accomplishment on the kids they train, whether they just walked off stage or mastered a new trick in practice. "We have kids who cry everyday because they don't want to leave," he says.
Handicap Accessible: No
Staff Size: 25–50
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Gymnastics and dance classes
Pro Tip: Come prepared for kids to have fun and learn.