High above a lush vineyard, the morning sky brims with creatures of flight: an eagle, a large bumblebee, a pigeon that forgot how to land. These were just some of the sights Airbus Balloon Rides' owner Andy Richardson imagined would greet his future down-gazing passengers. He first fell in love with the roar of a hot air balloon's flame just before entering the second grade, and that passion has driven his dreams ever since. Ten years after buying his first balloon at age 14, Andy now commands a fleet of rainbow-colored balloons that come in standard and specialty shapes. These colorful vessels set the elevated stage for individual flights and tethered rides helmed by Andy and his talented team. Flights lift off at sunrise, in the afternoon, and at sunset, when the low sun paints an orange-red glow over water, fields, and reindeer still stuck on rooftops.
Back on land, Airbus Balloon Rides also educates visitors on hot air balloon creation inside their balloon factory, which welcomes tours. At the end of each tour, the guides lead guests in a champagne or mimosa toast with accompanying hors d'oeuvres, celebrating their skyfaring adventures together.
Paradise Rental Boats carefully curates fleets of Yamaha, Bayliner, and Sun Tracker boats, so that sun-kissed riders can jet across the sparkling waters of Indiana’s Lake Monroe and Georgia’s Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona at their leisure. The company's vessels range from party barges and yachts—which hold groups of up to 26—to the smaller, two-person WaveRunner, whose highly responsive steering suits drivers trying to chase down and catch their fish dinner. Onboard radios and CD players let mariners groove to their favorite tunes, and the company also rents optional accessories for water sports, such as wakeboards, water skis, and artificial bait for licensed fishermen.
Named one of the 50 Reasons to Love Bloomington by Bloom magazine and one of the nation's top 25 science centers by Parents magazine, WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology invites visitors of all ages to discover how exhilarating science can be. Between a two-story interior and an outdoor WonderGarden, the museum flaunts more than 50 hands-on science activities. A range of exhibits bring youngsters face-to-face with scientific principles in such attractions as the two-story Grapevine Climber climbing maze, the Bubble-Airium’s cloudball machine, and Water Works' ball launcher. Over in the Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Science, live amphibians and insects crawl around settings that mimic their natural habitats. For children aged 6 and younger, the George & Evelyn Brabson Discovery Garden grants youthful scientific inquiry through live animal displays, the Magnet Wall, and a tree house. The museum also hosts regular special events.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
Tony Jacobs, the head instructor at Spear Tip Tactics, doesn’t sweat under pressure, and he doesn’t want his students to either. Using his advanced and diverse training across disciplines such as fighting, surviving, numerous weapons, tactical driving, rotary insertion and extractions, and active shooter/terrorist, he leads courses that could one day save a student’s life. Courses range from survival skills such as water purification, fire-building, and trapping and snares to hand-to-hand combat, knife use and knife fighting, and tactical tracking.
Unlike a typical 5K or even a marathon, no one person completes an entire Athena Relay Race. Instead, the race is broken up into legs, which can range from 2.5-9 miles or more. Teams determine their own pace, and can start earlier or later in the day according to how fast they can move. It's up to the team to motivate each other throughout the course, which makes the relay race a perfect way to bond with friends and family, or show up childhood enemies.