Sculpted onto 55 acres of sprawling plains, including 6 acres dedicated solely to paintball, Oil Ranch entertains visiting families with farm activities, play areas, miniature golf, and paintball areas. The working ranch's friendly staff curates a barnyard full of animals, allowing guests to run their hands through a sheep's soft wool or learn how to milk a chicken. The cheery red-and-blue engine of the OIL Express train chugs around Lake Buenas Noches with passengers in tow, while a green John Deere tractor carts around the hayride wagon. Other activities include a summertime swimming pool, catch-and-release fishing in Lake Buenas Noches, mini golf, and a maze.
Also nestled within the ranch's grounds is a full paintball facility, where varied fields pit groups against each other in friendly clashes of chromaticity. On each field, competitors dive behind mobile cover such as large wooden spools, barrels, and crates, enacting countless tactical situations. All participants must sign waivers don masks, and really, really promise to not stare into the barrels of their own markers before entering the field.
For eight weekends in the fall, a troupe of performing fairies, knights, royal personas, and jugging fools set up camp on the 55-acre grounds of the Texas Renaissance Faire. For 38 years, the Festival has re-created the 16th century’s appealing combination of simplicity and grandeur with more than 200 daily performances of live music, acrobatic comedies, and jousting. Actors portraying different levels of society—such as the English court and the pirates—roam the lolling landscape in character while performing comedic and informative bits including “Sound and Fury,” a Shakespearean vaudeville. At noon the Grande Marche parade catapults performers from the Globe Stage for a stroll throughout the park as they advertise their acts in a high-toned procession.
On a less precise schedule, craftsmen concoct tangible marvels with skills of glassblowing and blacksmithing, while food purveyors wander the beaten paths or call from their booths, selling fare that ranges from sugar-coated nuts to roasted turkey legs. At close of day, fireworks light the sky to celebrate the festival's victory over time.
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.
Lead by 18-year veteran Juan Vendrell, the riding school at Woodlands Equestrian Club focuses on producing quality riders with superior horsemanship skills. During lessons, riders learn the principles of dressage, a method of training that engages both the horse and the rider to build cross-species relations and ready both parties for organized competition. Students will focus on English hunt seat riding, as well as aspects of horse care to ensure they can ride skillfully and responsibly, even if students only long to ride alongside their favorite fast-moving locomotive.
With a staff of experienced instructors and a full suite of practice areas and playing fields, High Performance Baseball has all the tools a baseball or softball player needs to swing for the fences. A total of 10 indoor and outdoor batting cages facilitate practice sessions with turf flooring and L-screens, including Iron Mike pitching machines in the indoor cages. Two lighted fields stand ready for scrimmages at any time, with customizable configurations to host teams of all ages. Other practice areas include dirt and turf pitching mounds, infield practice grounds, and a dugout to hone skills of sunflower-seed spitting. The facility’s team of instructors includes experienced coaches and minor-league players.
An active outpost of the South Texas Hunter/Jumper Association, Edgebrook Equestrian Center hosts safe and comfortable riding lessons with the help of its two arenas, grassy pastures, and extensive network of trails. Instructors Suzy Pike and Sayer Townsend use these lush digs to teach the equestrian arts to beginners as young as 5, seasoned experts, and everyone in between. As part of their comprehensive horsemanship education, new riders learn grooming, proper tacking, and basic horse anatomy, enabling them to correctly point out the horse’s mane, tail, and feathers.