In business for nearly 25 years, the National Institute for Fitness and Sport’s 65,000-square-foot fitness center boasts an array of classes and training sessions, as well as a host of strength-training and cardio equipment. But these represent just one branch of the nonprofit organization. NIFS also manages fitness centers for companies and retirement communities all over the country, creates an online curriculum for Health YOUniversity, and collaborates with the Indiana University School of Medicine on research projects.
Science-fiction fans are eternally disappointed that society hasn't yet developed the technology that would allow them to strap on a jetpack and rocket to their destination. Though Indy Flight Academy & Watersports can't supply you with a futuristic vehicle for the daily commute, it does give extreme-sports enthusiasts the chance to blast off with its Flyboard water-powered jet packs.
The Flyboard—a water board with a pair of boots attached to it—is attached to long hose, which is in turn hooked up to the water jet exhaust of a jet ski. When the jet ski's driver hits the gas, the Flyboard and rider shoot up into the air atop high-powered streams of water. Riders can then fly around above the water or mimic a dolphin diving in and out.
Located in downtown Indianapolis's White River State Park in a building crafted from Indiana materials, the Indiana State Museum houses more than 540,000 cultural and natural-history items—collected since the museum’s founding in the early 1800s—as well as hands-on exhibitions to highlight the Hoosier State’s most fascinating stories. The Odd Indiana exhibit showcases an assortment of oddities tied to local history, from a homemade booby-trap gun to a hair ball from the stomach of a cow. In the Indiana Realities: Regionalist Painting 1930–1945 gallery, guests view 37 original paintings composed by local artists. The museum’s crowd-pleasing permanent exhibitions include the oft-explored Native Americans display, featuring a wigwam and ancient tools, and the American Originals exhibit, which pays tribute to famous Hoosiers, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Tony Stewart, David Letterman, and virtually every king of France.
Skydive Indianapolis schools students in the ways of human aviation, shuttling pupils 2 miles into the atmosphere in a classroom the shape of a twin-propelled DeHavilland Otter aircraft before dispatching them into the wide, blue Midwestern skies. The half-day of tandem skydiving begins at the 5,000-square-foot hangar facility, where air-bound apprentices watch an Sintroductory video before meeting their instructor and conducting a prejump briefing that includes tips for mimicking birdcalls while in flight. After suiting up in a jump suit, harness, and other safety equipment, skydivers take flight in the 22-seat Otter, which can also accommodate spectators who prefer to ride with the pilot rather than watch jumps from the ground ($49 fee). Once student and instructor are safely secured, they jump, slicing through the air and free-falling for 60 seconds at speeds that approach 120 mph. As the pair breaches 5,000 feet, the instructor releases the parachute and his or her dorsal bat wings and the team floats for a five-minute canopy ride toward lush Indiana pastures.
A bitter cold wind whips across fairways, and a thick layer of snow blankets once-fertile greens. These aren't ideal golfing conditions. Rather than letting avid golfers languish indoors or risk neighborhood resentment by hitting drives through open windows, the Golf Dome furnishes an indoor golf setting sealed off from the vagaries of Mother Nature. Golfers empty driving range buckets and take lessons from pro instructors under the shelter of a massive bubble, preventing rust from accumulating over months of inactivity. Though a golf-specific facility in name, the facility also hosts other sports inside its cozy environs, such as soccer, baseball, and softball.
Discovered in 1883, Marengo Cave, a U.S. National Natural Landmark, is located roughly an hour from Louisville and is open 363 days a year. Showcasing eye-catching speleothems (cave deposits), visitors can browse a wide variety of soda straws, stalactites, flowstones, and draperies. The combo tour melds together a 70-minute Dripstone Trail Tour that’s one mile in length, as well as a 40-minute Crystal Palace Tour that guides groups past eye-catching flowstone deposits. Embark on an exciting mini-journey into the earth’s depths without ending up at its core.
Beneath the flowing fabrics that run across the studio ceiling at Evolutions @ Yoga, experienced instructors lead a wide range of classes from gentle beginning courses to advanced core-strengthening sessions, which earned them a place as a finalist for 2011 Best Yoga Studio on Indystar.com’s The Indy A List. They also brought home a feature as the “best place to get started” in yoga in a 2011 Indianapolis Monthly article, in part for offering welcoming sessions geared toward beginners. A diverse range of classes includes several forms of the discipline, including Beginner Yoga, Intermediate, Prana Flow, Prenatal Yoga, and iCan yoga classes. Whether taking restorative sessions or advanced heated classes, all students take in the nurturing environment with its hardwood floors, spongy yoga mats, and flickering candles that flicker words of wisdom in Morse code.