For three days in November, the Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas Market brings Olde World Christmas spirit to New Braunfels. Vendors set up cheery red and green booths in the German-style holiday market, where they sell homemade wares such as aromatic roasted nuts, unique toys, vintage cameos, and homemade toffee. Nearby, authors sit ready to discuss their novels or sing their favorite Christmas carols at the on-site book fair and a jolly Santa eats breakfast with kids of all ages. To keep guests warm during the event, Sophie's Cafe serves up warm mugs of soup paired with sandwiches or tempting desserts.
Proceeds from the event benefit The Sophienburg Museum and Archives, which serves as the hub for immigration ship logs, photos, and documents of the first German Americans who found their way to Texas.
Several years ago, Branndon Bargo and his brother set out on a mammoth adventure. Not sure what they were after, they biked 4,000 miles to Baja, Mexico from Alaska and found themselves submerged in the open waters of the Pacific, scuba diving with great white sharks. After a harrowing climb of Mount McKinley in Alaska, Branndon began questioning his motivations for staying at his desk job. So in 2005, he gently kissed his cubicle goodbye and founded Live Adventure as a means of encouraging others to challenge themselves while discovering deeper connections with the world around them. Within Cedar Hill State Park, Brandon organizes team-building programs and encourages groups to kayak, synchronize swim, and fish on Joe Pool Lake. Other expeditions include rock-climbing outings and custom guided jaunts around the planet.
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.
The jungle would be a safer place if the chin-high grass, towering trees, and wild animals were painted on the walls and everything three-dimensional was inflatable. This dream of a danger-free nature preserve comes to life at Jump N Jungle. Voted the Best Kids’ Party Place in the Bay Area Citizen Reader's Choice Awards, the jungle lets kids leap toward the rafters on inflatable jumpers, test the bounds of gravity on giant slides, and navigate an unending labyrinth of mazes and obstacle courses. Both locations play host to weekend birthday gatherings by supplying invitations, plates and plastic cutlery, as well as staff supervision in the party room and play areas. Additionally, its childcare services include an educational curriculum for toddlers and preschoolers, as well as before school and afterschool activities for older children.
Camp Gladiator founder Ally Davidson’s childhood obsession with the outdoors and sports led her to pursue a degree in exercise physiology. After her 2008 win on the TV show American Gladiators, Ally decided to share her love of fitness with the world at large. Camp Gladiator reflects Ally's passion for fitness in its mission, which espouses their desire "to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible." Her boot camps have since expanded to 13 U.S. cities, with each hosting multiple training locales. The upbeat staff of certified trainers lead patrons of all ages and fitness levels through four-week outdoor boot camps, earning Camp Gladiator a Hot Spot title from Women's Health magazine's Fitness Awards in 2013, Best Boot Camp from Rare magazine in 2010, Best of Big D 2010–2013 from D magazine, and Best Outdoor Boot Camp 2012 from Austin Fit magazine.
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