Helmed by an by ex-military parachute-regiment veteran who holds three World Skydiving Championship medals, the United States Parachute Association-certified instructors at Skydive Alabama fly customers up to heights of 14,000 feet for solo and tandem dives. The skydiving center supplies oxygen for these jumps, and conducts both ground schools and eagle-impersonation classes to get first-timers and experienced divers ready for their aerial plunges. Instructors take up to 18 participants to the height of the drop zone in a Grand Caravan turboprop plane, from which they free fall for more than one minute, either by themselves or securely fastened to an instructor. A professional videographer can also join visitors on each jump to capture the aerial experience.
In accelerated free-fall programs, instructors lead students through a ground school, up to seven flights with instructors, and several solo jumps, allowing them to earn their USPA diving license without having to compete a multiple-choice test inside a wind tunnel. While every dive takes place in the designated drop zone, ground-school classes are held inside the airport's dedicated hangar. They have a brand new 80,000 sq/ft., state-of-the-art air conditioned facility which boasts indoor bathrooms and showers, as well as a common area with couches and TV's available to all guests.
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.
The life's work of Brother Joseph Zoettl began as little more than a hobby. Originally born in Bavaria in 1878 as Michael Zoettl, Brother Joseph chose to join the Benedictine order at a young age and ended up at St. Bernard Abbey, where he was tasked with working the power plant. His long days of hard work were only interrupted by the weekly opportunities to attend Sunday Mass, so he decided to make the most of his free time by embracing a hobby: creating miniatures.
Beginning with cement, Brother Joseph patiently constructed a scale replica of a church. Visitors flocked to see his early creations, so Brother Joseph continued his hobby while gradually increasing the ambitious scope of his projects. Over the course of the next 40 years, he would go on to create the 125 miniature reproductions of iconic churches, shrines, and buildings that currently fill Ave Maria Grotto's four acres of park land.
Often made of the marbles, cold-cream jars, broken bathroom tiles, costume jewelry, and pieces of colored glass that were mailed to him by admirers, Brother Joseph's meticulously intricate miniatures include everything from the basilica in Lourdes to a prophetically accurate model of the International Space Station.