Wayne Standefer, the head pilot at Balloon Adventures, is well versed in Dallas-area scenery and topography, knowledge that helps him regale passengers with information during flights. The adventure begins as the aircraft is brought to life before your eyes. Once his balloon reaches its full height—more than 10 stories—Standefer invites you inside the tightly woven wicker basket to soar above rooftops and trees and dip low over fields and rivers. Total flight time is usually around an hour, though the whole experience can take three times as long from start to finish.
Balloon Adventures also charters its services for weddings, arranges surprise flights for special occasions, and offers instruction in specific tasks such as rigging the balloon, navigating in-flight, and shooing away flocks of paper airplanes. In addition, the company participates in hot-air-balloon festivals, where clouds of bright purple, orange, and yellow balloons fill the daytime sky or illuminate the festival grounds at night.
At Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park, visitors step back in time more than 100 years, immersed in the buildings and lifestyles of those who populated the land from 1840 to 1910. These historic structures have been slowly relocated over the last century to represent north-central Texas's storied past in one location: Dallas Heritage Village, the town’s first city park. Spanning 20 acres, the village is populated by 38 historic structures including a railroad complex, farmstead, church, and pioneer and Victorian homes, where actors donning period clothing await to educate guests on their customs while making them wonder if they accidentally traveled back in time. The site hosts regular student history hunts and seasonal learning programs, such as Plow, Plant, and Shear and Civil War on the Homefront.
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.
Andy Gonzales, AKA Wineaux Guy, set out to create Dallas's finest catering service. With a full-service staff and chef, Great Tastes handles every aspect of food planning, from preparing the meals to cleaning up. They cater all sorts of events, from weddings and birthday parties to cocktail parties, with fixed prices arranged upfront so that clients don't incur hidden fees after a spontaneous food fight erupts. They have developed a wine education course that can be held in clients' living rooms or kitchens, along with wine-tasting tours in the DFW area and around the state of Texas with Texas Wineaux Tours.
Elite Fitness' team of medical technicians refines faces and revitalizes physiques with a wealth of advanced beautifying services. The one-hour Intraceuticals oxygen facial boosts collagen and elastin production to soften lines around the mouth and cheeks. Jets of hyperbaric oxygen deliver vitamins A, C, and E deep into the skin to maintain the skin's youthful glow, much like the treatments that forge the famously baby-soft faces of astronauts. Alternately, infrared-sauna treatments boast a multitude of potential benefits, including fat reduction, pain relief, cell regeneration, and even an enhanced immune system. The sauna sessions send penetrating wavelengths of light and heat deep into body tissues, stimulating blood circulation and sweat production to oust toxins, tension, and faded pinups left by old blood cells.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.