Imagine gazing up at a 100 year old oak tree with a 500 square foot treehouse built into the middle of it with no way to get to the top. The magic of nature is often something that kids do not get to experience due to limitations beyond their control. A special place in Marble Falls, TX has succeeded in making nature accessible to those who may not otherwise be a part of it.
There’s so much to fall in love with at Candlelight Ranch. Their mission is to provide therapeutic and educational nature-based experiences to at-risk youth, children with disabilities, and their families. From zip lines to horse painting, yes, horse painting, founders Randy and Don Barr along with Don’s late wife Jeri successfully made their dream a reality in 1999. Candlelight Ranch is a 501c3 non-profit organization that partners with more than forty organizations in the greater Austin area to provide tailored experiences for kids that need them most.
Reese’s Treehouse is one of the largest wheelchair accessible tree houses in the country with 500 square feet of play space and the ability to sleep seven in bunk beds. It sits in a 100 year old Oak tree that is surrounded by 155 feet of “gently rising” walkway. The magic of making something so grand so accessible is just the beginning of what Candlelight Ranch offers.
Adventure continues with the challenge course that features three zip lines that span an 80-foot deep grotto. All three are wheel chair accessible. And how would a wheelchair get to the zip line over rough terrain? With an on-site all-terrain wheelchair and ATV transport, of course! The course is designed for all abilities and to empower participants in a way that only nature can accomplish.
It’s not just fun and games at Candlelight. The interactive water experience, Chillville, allows ranchers to cool off while learning about water conservation and physics! A replica of the natural occurring creeks on the property, Chillville is wheelchair accessible and fueled by a rainwater collection tank and smiles.
Resident horses, Rusty and Comet serve as assistants for education and therapeutic wellness. They even patiently allow ranchers to paint them from time to time!
In addition to zip lines and horse painting, Candlelight Ranch offers a long list of additional activities and programs that serve the greater Austin area. When those are not in session, Candlelight opens its doors, treehouse, and zip lines to corporate retreats and team-building events. Rates are listed on their website and when you host an event at the Ranch, you are supporting the organization’s underlying mission in the Central Texas community.
If you are looking to get more involved than a visit or a team building event, Candlelight Ranch welcomes volunteers and hosts multiple events throughout the year. Check out their Facebook page to see upcoming events, pictures and videos of a lot of things that will make you smile.
Featured photo via Candlelight Ranch Facebook page.