With 24 rides and counting, Western Playland Amusement Park entertains kids of almost any age. Here's a sampling of the thrilling attractions.
Rides that reach for the sky Younger kids test their fear of heights as they ascend the Frog Hopper or pilot a plane on the Red Baron ride; their older siblings get a bird's-eye view of the park in the Sky Glider, then test their mettle on the Bandido Roller Coaster.
Satisfy the need for speed The gleaming Hurricane roller coaster takes riders taller than 50" on a twisting jaunt; younger kids get their free-falling feet wet on the slightly tamer Miner Coaster.
Classic rides For a bit of nostalgia, visitors take a turn on the merry-go-round, make their heads spin on the tilt-a-whirl, or battle it out in the bumper car arena, the one place where it's okay to high-five someone after you rear-end them.
Rides for toddlers The tiny set can cruise the park too?on pint-sized boats, cars, and ladybugs.
Set in the comfy country cornstalk confines of the century-old Maldonado Maze, the Del Arroyo Arts Festival welcomes revelers to a sensory buffet of arts and entertainment. Watch real-life fire-dance troupes blaze as they boogie or pay tribute with a strictly metaphorical disco inferno, as you shimmy to the live musicians. Meanwhile, vendors, regular raffles, and a silent auction sit on the periphery of spoken-word open mics, live painting showcases, and a graffiti jam. After the feast, guests are free to walk through the stalk maze to test their mind matter and recount their troubles to the perceptive ears of corn.
A member of the independent Premiere Cinemas circuit, Montwood Movies 7 regales patrons with the cinematic landscapes of the latest block-busters within the cool, dark surroundings of a newly renovated theater. Guests can saunter into the vibrantly colored lobby and eschew old-fashioned deviled eggs and pickled-herring movie snacks in favor of popcorn, Nestlé's candies, and soft drinks. Commodious thrones cushion moviegoers as professional Horizon film projectors emblazon cinema screens with vampire heartthrobs in the upcoming Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 , and stage- and digital-surround speakers project the merry melodies of The Muppets.
Open since 1955 and named one of the Best Things to Do in El Paso in 2009 by UpTake, Ascarate Golf Course combines a challenging course with a recently remodeled clubhouse where patrons can unwind at the end of clubbing adventures. The par 71, 6,579-yard course boasts verdant tifdwarf bermuda greens, 18 bunkers, and caretakers carefully pushing each jostled blade of grass back into place. An included cart helps club-wielders conserve energy for putting balls successfully down the fairway, enjoying picturesque views of Franklin Mountain, or chasing away tag-along sand traps.
The El Paso Zoo recreates the global animal kingdom with more than 220 species housed in more than 35 acres of landscaped terrain. Like a cell dividing to attend different bio-parties, the zoo splits into three geographic sections: Asia, Africa, and the Americas, with each area containing its native mammalian zebras, reptilian Burmese pythons, and avian screech owls, to name just a few. Recently opened lion and meerkat exhibits in the Passport to Africa habitat display two of the savanna's most frequently animated animals. Zookeepers perform animal encounters with Asian elephants at noon and train California sea lions during "Meet the Keeper" presentations at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Whether traveling solo or with a wee one in tow, the El Paso Zoo provides a diverse and entertaining experience for wildlife lovers of all ages.
Balls hurtle down 40 polished pathways at Fiesta Lanes as bowlers lace up rented shoes and set their sights on demolishing 10-pin clusters. Flashing lights illuminate players? faces as they plot out angles on the lanes, and pop music blares through the loudspeakers to heighten the drama of each frame. Seasoned staffers fit patrons for custom balls and tri-tone kicks in the pro shop, and partygoers shot put balls toward pin-shaped pi?atas in one of three large meeting rooms. Chirps and beeps fill the air in a full video arcade, and bowling rivalries reignite on billiard tables. Players can warm up their fingers before games by lifting burgers or hot pizza slices at Frankie?s Sports Grill, located next door.