Two-time Grammy Award–winner Rita Coolidge brandishes her dulcet tones and musical pedigree to celebrate the Wonderland of Lights Festival's 25th anniversary with a collaborative holiday-music performance. Under the direction of Stephen L. Hayes, Assistant Professor and Director of Music at Wiley College, the school's a cappella choir blends its melodious harmonies with Rita Coolidge's lead vocalizations as they collectively croon Christmas standards, holiday classics, and famous ballads penned by prodigious reindeer. Marshall Visual Art Center welcomes up to 350 concert-goers in the venue's large, open room with twinkle lights dotting the ceiling at night and unemployed flashlights during eclipses.
Clint Mace Sr.'s design of the The Challenge at Cypress Hills' golf course has earned its fair share of praise. Texas Outside called the 6,762-yard, par 71 course "clearly one of the best layouts in East Texas." The article highlights the designer's use of the local terrain to add additional difficulty to the holes. That's particularly true on the back nine, where each hole presents a unique challenge, be it up-hill blind shots, big ponds that bisect the fairway, or sharp dog legs that require precise drives.
With more than 13,000 divers certified under their tutelage since 1975, Scuba Ventures' instructors, dive-control specialists, and dive masters guide pupils through the three steps toward scuba certification. Students first learn diving and safety fundamentals during classroom training and practice sessions in Scuba Ventures' heated indoor pool. Then teachers whisk them away on two-day open-water training trips to locales such as the Caribbean or Lake Ouachita where, upon successful completion, they earn an open-water certification card and a free back scratch from a puffer fish.
Instructors also teach an array of training courses ranging from spearfishing sessions to lessons in underwater photography. Scuba Ventures also sponsors dive trips throughout the year, which guests can stock up for by renting or purchasing brand-name gear from the shop.
Kiddie Mia's Family Fun Center entertains children of all ages in two joy-filled facilities. High ceilings loom jealously above the bright blue floors where games twinkle happily. One building houses the center's coin-operated arcade, which rewards youngsters with tickets that, unlike an armored piñata, actually yield prizes. Alongside the redemption games, families can quell appetites with pizzas, burgers, and a spaghetti buffet, all awaiting charged up maws at the onsite snack bar. In the adjacent all-you-can-play game room, dozens of kiddie rides occupy young children, who can scamper between Disney-themed attractions such as Mickey's truck and Barney's tractor as parents shout parallel-parking instructions from nearby red and blue picnic tables. Older kids can blast computerized foes on a number of arcade games or coordinate hands and eyes with turns at basketball hoops or air-hockey tables.
Typically, when someone walks into a restaurant and leaves with a piece of artwork it's a misdemeanor. But at café @ artspace it's not just legal, but encouraged—as long as you pay for it. Since the café is attached to artspace—a hub for art exhibitions, poetry readings, and live concerts—there's always a selection of original artworks by regional artists on hand in the gift shop. These creations occupy diners as they wait for one of the café's golf-themed sandwiches or housemade desserts, which they can order from the menu or a chalkboard scrawled with the day's specials. Meals may be prepared to go or enjoyed in the café, where free WiFi allows diners to tweet photos of their silverware.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their child’s development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.