The Summer Adventure Series in Fair Park launches this weekend, and begins with tonight's pyrotechnic celebration and the unveiling of the Top O' Texas Tower, an observation ride that lifts passengers 500 feet in the air.
After the explosions disintegrate, the lagoon-themed playland opens weekends during May, and then daily from June 7 to August 18. The big allure of Summer Adventure is the inclusion of unlimited rides, plus bonuses like complimentary access to the Children's Aquarium, the butterfly sanctuary at Texas Discovery Gardens and one trip on the Swan Boats -- which you usually just make fun of, but would totally hop in if they were free.
You'll get cooled off by a new Logride, a bodyboard wave-pool attraction called FlowRider and a mysterious device called the Wet Boat. Your favorite Fair staples will also run, including the Texas Star, Wave Swinger, Starship 2000 (you might know it as Gravitron), Rock It (the crazy, hammer-like ride that lifts and spins clusters of humans high in the air), the Pirate Ship, Flipper and more.
Beyond the stomach-churning ride zone, the Fair's brought in 50 performers for opening weekend. Big acts include the "Wings of Wonder" bird exhibition, which has the honor of boasting the oddest press release. It says "a highlight of each Wings of Wonder show will be when a Harris Hawk descends to the performance stage from the top of the Top o' Texas Tower. ... The hawk will sport a tiny camera mounted on its back which will transmit a bird's-eye view to a giant television screen on stage." Take that as proof that hawks love adventure. And small cameras.
There's also an Island of Dogs and Cats, which for the cats' sake, will hopefully not be an "island" at all. There, in the Island of Dogs and Cats, you'll see canines "dance and perform water tricks with master trainer Lou McCammon." The cats simply provide "their own unique take on the dramatic arts."
You'll encounter a stilt-walker dressed as a tree, performing "aboreal slapstick," a gravity-defying posse of BMX riders, a marionette team of pirates, an area to build sandcastles, a field full of microphones for group karaoke and a reserved piece of greenspace to practice your golf putting. For special occasions, Airstream rentals are available that come with televisions and a waitstaff. Corn dogs and fried foods are available for purchase. Here's the ticket link.