Arlington, Texas: All Access Arlington
31 May, 2012By: Juli Anne Patty
Halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth, there is a sports capital like no other. Arlington, Texas is the home of some of the country’s most iconic sports teams and facilities, but it’s more than just a place for sports spectators. Arlington is a town for sports’ true fans, the ones who dream big, play hard and take in the full sports experience. In Arlington, you don’t just go to a game. You go inside the world of sports. You experience where the crowds go wild!
Sports Lone Star Style
“Go big or go home” has special meaning in Texas, and Arlington takes that motto to heart. Arlington is home to the world capital of bowling, the world’s largest domed arena and the ballpark of a beloved American baseball team. Arlington is more than just a sports Mecca, too. As the home of the flagship Six Flags Over Texas amusement park and some fascinating and unique outdoor recreation opportunities, Arlington adds up to the perfect sports event formula.
“Arlington’s location is prime,” says Jay Burress, president and CEO, Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau. “There isn’t another place you can experience Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers, NFL football’s Cowboys, an Olympic Training Bowling Campus and the thrills of Six Flags Over Texas within a three-mile radius.”
International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame
If you think museums are places where you have to keep your voice down and your hands off, then the International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame won’t seem like a museum at all to you. More than a museum and much more than your basic Hall-of-Fame-photo-wall, this international bowling home is 18,000 square feet of high-tech, interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind artifacts, creating a thrilling view into the 5,000-year history of bowling. The museum also offers event space for groups of 20 to 400, with two break-out meeting rooms and a mini movie theater.
In 2009, the Bowling Proprietors Association of America relocated the International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame to Arlington, in addition to relocating the Bowling International Training and Research Center (ITRC). A facility equipped with 14 dedicated training lanes, biomechanical motion tracking, DigiTraxTM ball motion technology, video analysis from robotic cameras, BowlersMapTM, foot and grip pressure mapping, state-of-the-art robotics and eye tracking of the bowler’s vision, the ITRC is the home of research and development for bowling in the United States, as well as the training headquarters for the USA Olympic team.
In 1994, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington opened. It’s a baseball/office facility that serves as the centerpiece of a 270-acre sports entertainment complex.
An open-air stadium with a classic baseball feel, 49,170-seat Rangers Ballpark was designed and built with tradition and intimacy in mind, featuring a granite and brick facade, exposed structural steel, an asymmetrical playing field and a home run porch in right field. The $191 million complex also includes a youth baseball park, a 12-acre lake, and parks and recreation space on the perimeter, all of which are open to the public.
“The Rangers have always been a very family-and-fan-friendly franchise,” says Decima Cooper, director of public relations and communications, Arlington Convention Visitors Bureau. “At the Rangers Ballpark, you get amazing access. Not only does a tour of the stadium include the usual history of the sport and the team, but it also allows you to visit the team locker room, see the batting cages and experience the dugout.”
In 2009, the Dallas Cowboys joined the all-access Arlington tradition, welcoming fans to take in the world’s largest domed stadium from every angle. Guests and fans have the option of taking a guided tour or a self-guided tour, which includes a thrilling array of access and exciting hands-on opportunities.
“It’s rare that any stadium if going to open up their house and say, ‘Stay as long as you want,’ but that’s exactly what the Cowboys do,” says Cooper. “You can bring your five-year-old, go right out on to the field and play ball or take pictures for the rest of the day.”
Visitors to this 3 million square-foot arena can visit the Cowboys locker room and even try on team helmets and jerseys. They can also visit another one-of-a-kind stadium feature: an on-site art gallery created by Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones and his wife Gene, who wanted to give the stadium a cultural angle as well as a sports focus.
Cowboys Stadium also presents youth players the opportunity to experience football on a grand scale. Last December, Offense-Defense Sports held its Offense-Defense All-American Bowl Week at Cowboys Stadium, bringing 38 teams and well over 1,200 players to face off in Cowboy Stadium. An additional 16 teams with about 320 more youth players competed on fields outside the stadium as part of the tournament.
College Park Event Center
Designed as a home for three of UT Arlington's Division I teams, College Park Center offers a 12,000 square-foot arena with seating for up to 7,000, allowing it to easily accommodate a variety of athletic competitions, from basketball and volleyball to cheerleading and martial arts. The $78 million, 218,000-square-foot facility is the signature facility for high-profile events and entertainment, conferences and community activities in the downtown Arlington business district.
As the home of UT Arlington’s volleyball and basketball teams, College Park Event Center also offers a team of expert event planners with a huge range of experience. The College Park team offers planning assistance from room layout design and audio/video equipment to menu selection clean-up.
Arlington might be home to some of the most iconic and awe-inspiring sports facilities in the world, but it also offers a seriously dedicated parks and recreation department running some of the most advanced and conscientious facilities around.
“Arlington uses conservation strategies to reduce impacts on the environment, like the use of reclaimed water for irrigation, drip irrigation, the use of Texas native plants as well as generation of biodiesel for equipment,” says Gary Packan, assistant director, Parks and Recreation.
Arlington’s many parks and sports facilities not only make ideal hosts for sports events; they also mean that during the city’s mild winters and warm summers, many of the best things to do in Texas are free. Tennis courts, wading and diving pools, playgrounds, hiking and biking trails and wilderness areas offer plenty of ways to entertain the family between games. The city’s six multi-purpose recreation centers, six public swimming pools and more than 70 parks throughout the city mean that no matter what your event, Arlington has the perfect home.
Another unique Arlington facility, Howell Family Farms offers a space for meetings, weddings, athletic and other special events that is both laid-back and technologically advanced. Howell Family Farms offers 5,000 square-feet of two-level rustic charm, but it is more than just a quaint space: it’s also sports-ready with a softball diamond in the back yard.
If golf is your game, Arlington has another outstanding venue to share. The first golf course in Texas and the first municipal course in the world to be certified as an Audubon Signature Sanctuary, Tierra Verde unites golf and nature for a harmonious and extraordinary golf experience. The result of a partnership between the City of Arlington, designers Graham & Panks International and Audubon International, Tierra Verde is a spectacular championship golf facility with a design sensitive to the environment.
The 18-hole course offers five tees at every hole, a state-of-the-art golf learning center, a lighted driving range, three-hole practice course and large chipping and putting green complex. The facility’s outdoor pavilion and full-service restaurant, Ventana Grille, also make the ideal home for events and tournaments.
The Crowd Goes Wild
Creating a successful sports event involves a complex series of strategies and planning, but one step is simple: choose a location your athletes and fans will love. Arlington brings together the best of facilities, stunning outdoor recreation and unforgettable family and fan experiences. And with 5,500 hotel rooms and a central location just 10 minutes from Dallas Fort Worth International, Arlington is the easiest way to ensure your next event is a grand slam.