Mysterious fires. An old bank vault that can’t be destroyed. A deceased opera singer who refuses to draw the curtain on the living world. These are the stories that Houston Ghost Tour’s seasoned phantom chasers impart to mortals as they guide them to local nooks and crannies where spectral squatters may dwell. Guests on the Houston tour tiptoe through the ghostly grounds of Rice University and explore Hermann Park, where the songs from Miller Outdoor Theatre and animalistic shrieks from the Houston Zoo converge to form an eerie soundtrack for sleuthing. Travelers drink in local history during the Old Town Spring adventure, which teems with tales of Civil War battles, high-stakes gambling bets, and brothels filled with the ghosts of bats forever tangled up in lingerie. Along the way, guests can also glimpse the bullet holes of a bank robbed by Bonnie and Clyde. The Tomball tour explores a paranormal train depot and a cemetery that, like an igloo made of dry ice, is said to have vanished into thin air.
As a San Antonio native, Shelly Reynolds has been exploring the city all her life. Luckily, she doesn't miss out on a global perspective: While sharing her lifetime of knowledge through Historic Texas Tours, she and her staff get to meet and befriend travelers from all over the world. The company's tours focus as much on forming new friendships as discovering the local sights as they expose visitors and locals alike to area wineries, restaurants, and landmarks at the direction of friendly guides. Food tours unearth local eateries with a tour itinerary that varies often to reward visitors who go on repeat trips, and journeys into the Texas Hill Country offer complex tastes of locally made wines. Mission Trail tours explore edifices that date back to the 1700s, including the oldest unrestored stone church in the United States and a used-horse dealership.
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Inspired by The Amazing Race, CityScape Adventures—held across the United States—entangle race participants in webs of 12 puzzles and challenges in citywide races to the finish line. Participants compete in teams of two, using their wits, teamwork, and underground network of mutant-turtle spies to complete the tasks given at the start of the race. The 12 challenges take the form of puzzles, riddles, and clues that guide treasure hunters to a specific location within the city, where each team must complete a special task using only their cleverness and muscles. Players can also use the Internet, and the winning team is usually the one that best leverages its resources. The first team to successfully complete all tasks and vault over the finish line will receive a prize and assembly line of high-fives.
Atop Segway i2 personal transports, guides at Cowtown Segway Tours escort explorers through the botanic gardens, the cultural district, and other Dallas landmarks. Voyagers take part in a 15- to 30-minute training session to become acquainted with their Segway's controls and favorite conversation topics before setting out on their sightseeing adventure. The Cultural District and Trinity Trails tour takes groups of about 10 sightseers on a cruise through the Fort Worth art district, where they take in the marvels of nature, science, and modern architecture that permeate the landscape. During the cultural district tour, riders also zip through a scenic portion of the 32-mile Trinity Trail while gliding past picturesque foliage and racing competitive squirrels on the path to Trinity Park.
More than 65 vivid clan tents cover the grounds at each year’s Texas Scottish festival, where Scots strut proudly around, wearing kilts and displaying their clan tartans. The notes of bagpipes float through the air, blasted from the lungs of talented soloists or from the year’s featured pipe-and-drum band. Market stalls show off Scottish and Celtic wares, from kilts and tartans to artisan Celtic jewelry and art. Competition flourishes amid Scot-descended attendees and curious festgoers at professional or amateur athletics as well as in an all-Scottish-breed dog show. While multitudes of Scottish beers wet whistles and fortify bagpiping or kilt-twirling courage, food vendors sell American fair food alongside traditional Scottish sundries that include meat pies, Scotch eggs, and haggis—chopped meat cured in a sheep’s stomach to the sound of Highland lullabies.