Capital City Skydiving's air-riding experts take first-time and experienced jumpers to the stratosphere for jumps above the scenic vistas of Southern Michigan. Tethered to clients, they guide tandem rides to facilitate first tastes of terminal velocity before coasting in for a soft landing. To accommodate licensed skydivers with a current reserve parachute, the staff guides planes over the business's own scenic landing zone so jumpers can take to the air on their own. Beginners who wish to become full-fledged divers can opt for the Accelerated Freefall program, in which aficionados teach the skills necessary to make solo jumps such as how to handle equipment or merge into goose traffic without a blinker.
As a child, Michael O’Daniel would sometimes spend his days among giant aircraft in a hangar as his father, a Pan Am pilot out of Miami, was at work. Michael found himself daydreaming about one day being able to fly; by 1980 he was a private pilot. Eventually he became taken with another form of flight—paragliding. He founded Powered Paragliding USA and over the years has spread his wings over Peru, Costa Rica, and he once completed a flight across the entire length of the Panama Canal.
A few years ago, Michael was joined at Powered Paragliding by Brian Goff, another pilot. Goff has hundreds of hours of flying experience; he's been behind the controls of everything from helicopters and airplanes to aerobatic planes and hot air balloons. Today, Michael and Brian man flights for clients of all experience levels. They can fly tandem with beginners, or train budding para-pilots on technique, safety, and how to switch lanes with birds. Expert flyers can take to the skies by purchasing their own paragliders and paramotors from the company.
The adventure-seeking staff members of ThrillZOWN organize outdoors adventures at more than 100 locations nationwide, letting customers experience the waters, air, and land of America’s diverse regions. Seasoned guides lead adventurers on whitewater-rafting trips on inland rivers, and instructors conduct lessons in surfing and filling out life guards' paperwork at coastal beaches. Other guides help guests plunge to earth safely in tandem-skydiving and tandem-paragliding flights, while aeronauts sweep them through scenic country vistas during hot-air-balloon flights. On dry land, equestrians teach customers to think like a centaur on horseback trail rides, and professional stock-car drivers guide them in laps around a racetrack.
Bubbles rush from beneath the diving group’s masks—one of the only nearby signs of moving life—as they float beside the sunken submarine U-352. More than 70 years resting in 110 feet of North Carolinian coastal waters have transformed it into a reef of sorts—rife with small tropical marine life—but the unmistakable shapes of torpedo hatches, a conning tower, and the massive propeller give away its identity. Above and around the hollow hull float Blu Water Scuba’s instructors, guiding a detailed tour to the wreck, which is considered among the most unique wrecks to inhabit American waters.
The dive shop’s owners-cum-teachers regularly plan excursions from their base in D.C. to explore seldom-seen, deeply submerged portions of the Atlantic. To ensure that as many people as possible can share such amazing experiences, they offer basic certification courses in open-water diving as well as in a slew of advanced underwater skills, such as rescue diving. They start training sessions in enclosed spaces such as classrooms, local pools, and senators' private hot tubs, ultimately diving in outdoor locations such as the local Lake Millbrook flooded stone quarry, where they administer certification tests. Apart from full PADI certification, they also teach introductory diving skills in the safety of local pools.
The summer sun is shining, the chickadees are chirping, and the Northern Virginia sky is a dazzling azure blue—SplashDown Waterpark was made for days like today. The 13-acre water park, lauded as one of the best places to cool off in the area by Northern Virginia Magazine, abounds with aquatic attractions, including two four-story water slides.
Inflatable tubes meander down the park's 770-foot lazy river, and youngsters frolic through watery obstacle courses. Over in the 25-meter lap pool, American Red Cross–certified instructors conduct private swim lessons, teaching students how to tread water and convince dolphins to carry them when that gets tiring. The park also features an array of eateries and concessions stands full of hamburgers, pizzas, and sugary funnel cakes.
Every Halloween, the thick woods and playing fields at Pev's Paintball Park suffer an unholy infestation. Zombies, ghosts, and demonic clowns pop out from behind every tree, and these new inhabitants know the area by one name: Terrorville. Trespassers brush the hay from their jeans as they disembark from wagons, unaware of the dangers that await them on Walk of Terror. Insane criminals and cursed spirits cry out from the shadows, warning of the torments that lie ahead. The dead pop free from their caskets, ghouls rattle chain link fences, and gross cobwebs get in everyone's mouths.
Others may choose to fight back, readying paintball markers to dispense with the undead hordes at the Zombie Paintball Shoot. The kid-friendly Monster Encounter tasks players to zap as many hiding monsters as they can with laser-tag guns, and the Zombie Rumble tests visitors to protect their flag belts from cold, grasping hands.