Boasting more than 26 years in the aviation industry, Breeze Balloons' pilots expertly harness the wind to soar riders over north and east Texas in multihued hot-air vehicles. Pilots helm various sized balloons, which accommodate twosomes or let groups as large as 30 high-five Texan clouds. Pilots also do double duty as safety-training instructors, helping other hot air balloon pilots maintain Breeze Balloons' zero-safety-issue record.
Originally leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1988, Meadowmere Park welcomes its guests to 250 acres of parklands and lakefront ripe for outdoor activities. As kayaks and paddleboats launch into Lake Grapevine and float across 8,000 acres of water, miles of trails surrounding the lake allow visitors to run, bike, and set world somersault records. As the evening sets in, tents sit beneath twinkling stars at campsites along sandy beaches, and special events unfold at a waterfront pavilion.
Talk Cinema offers an industry-insider peek of upcoming foreign and independent pictures, all curated by longtime film critic Harlan Jacobson. Guests receive the indiscreet honor of previewing the freshest films, followed by a discussion led by a guest speaker who might be a notable critic, a filmmaker, or an artisanal popcorn chef. Attendees have no prior knowledge of the day's screening, giving viewers a roulette of genres to experience, including psychological thrillers, romantic dramas, and heart-warming documentaries on the evolution of ice-cube trays. All shows start on Sundays at 10 a.m., with doors opening at 9:30 a.m.
Fast Action Airsoft sates thrill-based cravings with more than 19 acres of battlefields and urban-assault areas for squads of Airsoft combatants ages 12 and older. Twelve industrial buildings create a unique setting for sharpshooting duels that is roughly the size of a small city for humans or a huge city for stunt doubles from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Lone wolves or cooperating packs can spend the day exploring the warehouses to find strategic advantages or improvised cover when ambushed by rivals. Like bobbing for piranhas, full-seal goggles are required for every contest, and players must provide their own guns and a stock of biodegradable BB ammunition. Find a full description of equipment rules and regulations online.
Instructors David Freeman and Jerry Colliver both served in the military; David piloted medical-evacuation helicopters during Vietnam, and Jerry operated nuclear-missile silos during the Cold War. Despite this experience, they prefer not to approach firearm use from a military perspective. Instead, the NRA-certified instructors teach with a relaxed style that's absent of jargon and acronyms. This approach helps students feel comfortable owning, carrying, and shooting firearms.
During their classes, the duo emphasizes topics such as nonviolent dispute resolution, safe firearm storage, and the fundamentals of handgun shooting, which students further master with practice time on the range. David and Jerry employ similar techniques to teach beginner hunters Texas's hunting regulations, safety, and outdoor skills such as building a shelter out of s'mores.
Cindy Gibson hears a lot of ecstatic exclamations from first-time jumpers—including gratuitous use of the words "awesome" and "amazing"—but one of the most memorable remarks she ever heard came from a woman celebrating her 81st birthday. After landing, Cindy asked her why she waited so long to try skydiving. The woman replied that her husband never let her. Then she cracked a sly smile and said, "But now he's dead."
Cindy certainly understands the lifelong desire to skydive. "I don't remember a time when I didn’t want to jump out of airplanes," she says. But growing up, she figured you had to be paratrooper to do it. Then as a waitress in college, she overheard some customers talking about going skydiving, and she convinced them to take her along. The more she went, the more ways she found to improve the experience. With this newfound love and knowledge of the skydiving business, she sought out a parcel of land and a passionate team and founded Texas Skydiving Center.
Today, she and her team of instructors lead tandem jumps, static-line jumps, and solo free falls thousands of feet above their picturesque facility. Beyond using equipment and instructional methods that are compliant with the United States Parachute Association's standards, the instructors' claim their chief difference lies in the individual attention they give each client. Groups are kept small so that all are on a first-name basis, and the instructors ask each person what they hope to do in the air. A bunch of flips? Maybe a zen-like float? On the way down, they can even record the jumps with several filming options. An eco-friendly dropzone then awaits skydivers, where chattering guinea fowl snatch up insects, colorful songbirds flit through wildflowers, and a llama and alpaca knit their own wool into a commemorative scarf for each successful skydiver.
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