When the sun shines on the inky black coat of 8-Ball, an Asian leopard, you can see the intricate pattern of spots on his fur. What you may not notice are the scars on his neck, remnants of having been chained up in a pool hall by a former owner. When the owner could no longer keep him, 8-Ball was sent to a drive-thru safari park that was later shut down by the USDA. But all of that must seem like a faraway nightmare to 8-Ball, as he now enjoys the security, ample food, and medical care at Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge. He is among the more than 40 big cats that have been rescued and rehabilitated, trading lives of abuse, neglect, and misplacement for environs that executive director Brian Werner calls a "living resort."
The facility is owned and operated by Tiger Missing Link, a nonprofit organization that Werner chartered in 1995. After diligent research, Werner and friend Terri Block began creating a big-cat sanctuary on a 25-acre property that Werner owned. They lived in a small cabin with no running water, heat, or air conditioning, clearing the land themselves and going door to door to garner support for the project. It certainly wasn't easy, but through the hard work of volunteers and some big-time press—including features on Animal Planet's 2007 Tiger Week and Good Morning America—the shelter's reputation and facilities continue to grow.
The refuge aims to raise visitors' awareness of the plight of large cats in the wild, and it plans to expand to add more natural habitats and observatories. Landscapers have even built a waterfall habitat where the tigers can exercise while trying not to puncture their plastic inner tubes. This feature may have been the favorite amenity for two of Michael Jackson's tigers that, according to a KLTV 7 story, have called the space home.
Located in Tyler, Residence Inn By Marriott Tyler is convenient to University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Museum of Art. This hotel is within close proximity of Broadway Square Mall and Discovery Place Museum.
Make yourself at home in one of the air-conditioned rooms featuring kitchens with refrigerators and stovetops. Your pillowtop bed comes with triple sheeting and down comforters, and all rooms are furnished with sofa beds. Premium TV channels and video-game consoles are provided for your entertainment, while complimentary high-speed (wired) Internet access keeps you connected. Conveniences include desks and separate sitting areas, and housekeeping is provided daily.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Be sure to enjoy recreational amenities including an outdoor pool and a spa tub. Additional features include complimentary wireless Internet access, a fireplace in the lobby, and a picnic area.
Grab a bite from a grocery/convenience store serving guests of Residence Inn By Marriott Tyler. Meet other guests and eat at a complimentary reception.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include business services, audiovisual equipment, and express check-out. Planning an event in Tyler? This hotel has facilities measuring 680 square feet (61 square meters), including a meeting/conference room. Free parking is available onsite.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Located in Tyler, Magnuson Hotel & Conference Center Tyler is in the suburbs and convenient to University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Museum of Art. This hotel is within close proximity of Broadway Square Mall and Discovery Place Museum.
Make yourself at home in one of the 100 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and microwaves. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment. Conveniences include sofa beds and irons/ironing boards.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Enjoy the recreation opportunities such as a seasonal outdoor pool or make use of other amenities including complimentary wireless Internet access.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include a business center, a 24-hour front desk, and laundry facilities.
Mazzio's Italian Eatery's staff rolls out a buffet for lunch and dinner populated with tasty Italian cuisine that they also serve à la carte. The restaurant's staff has been perfecting its culinary modus operandi for more than 50 years, long enough to evolve the pizza selection to include three levels of thickness. Chefs bake standard, deep-dish, and thin crusts—available in gluten-free form—and load each with toppings such as caramelized onions and giant pepperoni. The kitchen makes pasta plates to order, some baked in the oven, such as lasagna, and some tossed in sauce, such as the mainstay spaghetti and meatballs. The signature calzone radiates the ambrosial scent of pizza dough stuffed with meat and cheese, and it's meant to be shared, unlike a pogo stick.
Medical weight-loss programs, permanent makeup, and ... yoga? It might seem like an unlikely combination, but these services and more are all offered at Dermedics. Here, skilled medical and aesthetics experts help clients feel better, inside and out. Professional skin care treatments, such as exfoliating microdermabrasion and cleansing facials, leave complexions glowing, while body-contouring technology and customized weight-loss plans help reduce inches. Meanwhile, a private yoga studio welcomes clients seeking to harmonize their minds with their freshly refurbished and sponge-painted exteriors.