The Fort Worth Zoo’s newest habitat, Elephant Springs, received a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Themed Entertainment Association. The habitat is one of only 13 international honorees, and, among the Outstanding Achievement award recipients, the Fort Worth Zoo is the only zoo, the only institution in Texas, and one of only six facilities in the United States to be recognized.

The destination is available for private corporate event rentals and is able to accommodate groups of up to 7,500. Events can include close-up animal encounters and demonstrations, team-building activities, and scavenger hunts. Event rental fees support educational and conservation programs and projects such as Elephant Springs.

The three-generation herd in Elephant Springs roams among varied landscapes, pools (including those out of view), and a 400,000-gallon river in which the animals can fully submerge and swim. Additional elements, such as a climate-controlled environment, indoor and outdoor training spaces, and sand floors provide comfort for the herd. Since establishing its elephant breeding program in 1986, the Fort Worth Zoo has become an international leader in elephant conservation. Elephant Springs is phase two of A Wilder Vision, the four-phase, $130 million capital campaign and building project that adds new species, spectacular natural habitats, merchandise locations, restrooms, and most importantly, new ways for visitors to observe, interact with, and learn about animals.

The zoo, home to nearly 7,000 animals, has been voted a top zoo in North America by USA Today, one of the “World’s Greatest” by BloombergTV, and a Top 10 Zoo or Aquarium by FamilyFun magazine.

The Hill Country escape boasts event space and scenic lodging near the Pedernales River.

Just an hour from both Austin and San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country, Walden Retreats offers guests a luxury camping experience at Longbranch Ranch. Booking stays for spring 2023, the 96-acre property is situated in the Hill Country along the cliffs of the Pedernales River.

 

Looking for inspiration for how to celebrate a landmark anniversary? Take some tips from the producers of San Antonio’s Día de los Muertos at Hemisfair (also known as Muertos Fest). Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2022, the two-day festival partnered with ABC affiliate KSAT 12 for a two-hour special that aired to a national broadcast audience on Oct. 30. According to National Geographic magazine, the special introduced one of the best fall festivals in the United States to more than 100 cities across the country.

 

Have a wickedly good time at one of these haunted sites.

Although not officially declared a state until 1845, Texas was populated long before the 19th century. Its storied past has given rise to local legends and ghost sightings—so many, in fact, that Texas is consistently ranked among the most haunted states in the country. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, our oversized state has plenty of room for ghosts to roam and “stretch their legs.” Luckily for event planners, there are also a lot of places around Texas to scare up a good time for groups.