The Beach Beast Challenge invites runners of all fitness levels to dress in wacky costumes and journey across sun-soaked sands in search of personal glory and awards. Standing between them and the finish line are tall hurdles, scaling walls, and the constant fear of being swallowed by a kraken. Those who complete the course will be awarded finishers' medals and entry to the Beast Lounge for an after-race party to celebrate their accomplishment with music. Top racers also receive additional awards, as do those judged to have the best costumes.
Crab Shack VIP tickets grant holders access to the exclusive Crab Shack area, which doles out complimentary appetizers, beer, and soft drinks. The family-friendly festival is being held at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, March 25, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. This year's fest is also a stop on the Road to London tour, which hosts opportunities to meet athletes en route to the 2012 games.
Snorkel with Manatees' expert divers lead tours on underwater sojourns to discover peaceful manatees and environs beneath the waves. Offering both group and mini manatee tours year-round, the guides monitor each diver to ensure safe practice with the animals. Their Crystal River scallops tour scours the ocean floor for tasty scallops while avoiding crabs auditioning for The Little Mermaid revival, and the Snorkel with Manatees excursions explore the Crystal, Homosassa, and Chassahowitzka Rivers on airboat. They also teach the fundamentals of their craft during discover scuba-diving lessons.
More than 6,000 square feet of climbing space at Vertical Ventures beckons climbers skyward with rigorous scrambles to the top of peaks, over boulders, and along treacherous ceiling routes. The staff routinely overhauls old configurations to reveal fresh paths, forcing climbers to exhibit physical and mental agility while bouldering, sport climbing, or top roping––a sport in which climbers ascend to a mountain's summit to lasso its goats. The gym caters to both the beginning and expert climber with challenges spanning the difficulty spectrum, as well as an array of classes on the basics of climbing, movement and technique, or rappelling.
At Calta's 24/7 Fitness Clubs, members can work out at any time of day, seven days a week. Instructors at the 24/7 gym also lead group cardio-fitness classes, and personal trainers help clients observe correct form while lifting weights or using machines.
Someone's little brother shrieks, mournful at being too small to play laser tag with his cousins. Another youngster wants to bowl, but can’t pick up the ball. To Terrace Sports's manager, John McMillan, these are simple problems. A crew member scurries through the laser-tag arena, holding the toy gun for the little boy who would otherwise be too small to play. Another sets up a ramp at the top of a bowling lane, helping the toddler to push the ball into the pins with a satisfying clatter.
Smiling on as his staff solves such crises, McMillan strolls through Terrace Sports, which he remodeled after taking the reins from his father. Leading the way to the laser-tag arena, skating-rink, indoor-climbing wall, bowling alley, and arcade, murals stretch down the entryway, saluting the nearby Hillsborough River with more than 85 depictions of the waterway’s inhabitants, dynamic ecosystem, and naturally occurring steamboats. The entryway leads to the snack bar, where a full menu of gator tail, buffalo burgers, and sweet-potato fries glide down countertops handcrafted from teak and embellished by solid-brass elephant heads.
Entering the laser-tag arena gives one the sensation of delving into the interior of a complex machine, with mechanical parts strung with LED lights lining the walls and generating an eerie glow. Imaginations run wild as players choose to take on roles as monarchy loyalists or rebel forces, with both sides fighting for command of the heart of the machine and firing at one another's bases. The guns, powered by unlimited ammo, unleash streams of crimson and emerald light, and fiber-optic aiming ensures pinpoint accuracy. Vests beep when another player is taking aim, giving warriors a moment to find obstacles to hide behind or nearby portraits of themselves to hide in front of. On an observation deck, cheers rise from friends and chaperones as a 32-inch monitor displays scoring and live footage from six in-arena cameras.