Reptile & Amphibian Discovery Zoo's troupe of snake-taming animal lovers tend to dozens of species of reptiles and amphibians, creating a nurturing environment that cares for the creatures and educates the public. From lizards and snakes to crocodilians and tortoises, the zoo's menagerie contains specimen both docile and hostile, and visitors often pose for pictures with animals to commemorate their visit to the zoo. After being successfully raised by sage clans of snapping turtles, each keeper draws on their years of experience and love of animals to conduct presentations and seminars during visits to the zoo.
There’s nothing more exhilarating, albeit unnatural, than hurtling towards earth unimpeded. The instructors at Southern Minnesota Skydiving agree, and by adhering to the United States Parachute Association’s safety standards, they facilitate tandem and solo skydives. For tandems, the pros regulate the entire jump, from 45 seconds of free-fall to about four minutes of floating beneath a large ram-air parachute, which enables soft landings. For the thrill seeker who’d rather fly alone, experienced instructors offer the Static Line course to teach students how to skydive solo or explore options for prosthetic wing surgery.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
With towering pillars and sweeping arches, the lobby at Paragon Chateau 14 resembles an official monument to the pleasures of moviegoing. Sony 4K HD digital projection systems flash current-run films onto each screen. In addition to a fully-stocked concession stand, the theater hosts The Lot, a lounge where moviegoers can order beer, wine, and soda served in hollowed-out Golden Globes and listen to live music.
Owner Darlene Olson holds court over Merle Hay Lanes’ sleek bowling lanes, where the sounds of laughter and pins crashing fills the air. An Olson family heirloom since 1993, Merle Hay caters to amateurs and pin-toppling veterans alike with open bowling and league play for a variety of age and skill levels. Bowlers quench competition-induced thirsts at Bowlwinkles Lounge with a formidable lineup of drink specials. The bowling alley also plays host to a variety of special events including birthday parties and corporate outings, preventing coworkers from having to bowl in the alley behind the office.
Cross Country Soaring owner Don Ingraham brings more than 4,000 airborne hours of experience to his sailplanes' controls, maneuvering the engineless crafts through the air with bird-like agility. Tow planes loft each passenger flight airborne, sending planes thousands of feet up into the sky before leaving pilots and their guests gliding through the atmosphere without the noisy distraction of a typical flight. Each flight is different—sailplanes may gain altitude in thermal updrafts before bottoming out stomachs with daring dives. Picnic tables and couches cluster around the hangar, giving friends and family a comfortable place to watch soaring flights. Students eager to earn their own glider rating and fly solo can take advantage of Cross Country Soaring's experienced instructors, learning the ropes under the hawk-like eyes of seasoned pros.