Powered by what is essentially a super lightweight fan with a motor attached, adventurers take to the skies at Phoenix Powered Paragliding with instructors in powered tandem paragliders. During training, teachers illuminate students on how to take off, safely steer, and squawk directions to lost flocks of geese before taking to the skies for one-of-a-kind flights.
Florida Tennis Center's one-hour clinics acquaint beginner and novice racqueteers with tennis fundamentals in an instructive, competitive environment. Players are grouped by age and ability, so baseline apprentices can begin to master tennis's trying techniques among those equally versed in the art of yellow-orb smashing. Glide across one of the complex's 24 green-clay courts as the ball machine serves up shots to batter cross-court with a textbook low-to-high forehand, a firm-wristed volley, or a highly illegal—but still impressive—scissor-kick. The club provides free loaner racquets to those yet to wrangle their own set of strings and the final class consists of a one-hour supervised practice match where players can test their meddle against fellow classmates and berate imaginary line judges.
Physically, celadon porcelain from the Ming and Qing Dynasties and a 13-foot skeleton of the giant ground sloth don’t have too much in common. But both explore how our world has evolved and how we perceive it—making both perfectly suited for display in the eclectic exhibits of the Museum of Arts & Sciences. The 100,000-square-foot museum—which perches on a 90-acre nature preserve—houses a planetarium alongside myriad exhibits that delve into art, history, and science.
The museum’s particularly impressive assembly of Cuban art draws visitors through 300 years of history with more than 200 rare maps, paintings, and ceramics. Nearby, the exhibit of Chinese art glimmers with gemstones, bronzes, and cloisonné. Visitors also peruse crafts made closer to home in the 4,000-square-foot gallery of American art, where portraits by Gilbert Stuart and landscapes by George Bonfield hang on walls, rather than on the traditional horse’s withers. In addition to its traditional art galleries, the Museum of Arts & Sciences also hosts more fragile objects inside the Helene B. Roberson Visible Storage Building, a 4,400-square-foot glass-fronted space designed to maintain exhibits in a climate-controlled state.
Younger museum-goers can gaze longingly at the 800 teddy bears on display in the Americana-focused Root Family Museum before heading to the Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum to explore ever-changing, hands-on science exhibits. In addition to assembling and testing model racecars, whippersnappers strum the 16 laser beams of a laser harp and try the "Pull Yourself Up" exhibit. Daily shows in the planetarium continue scientific education by unlocking the night sky’s mysteries, such as why stars don’t go out when you blow on them.
Runners embarking on the Honky Tonk Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K won't need headphones to hear twangy country tunes. That’s because the hilly Wisconsin Dells course features live bands and DJs along the route to keep participants energized as they race toward the finish line. The party-like atmosphere doesn’t end with the race, as a full-blown celebration complete with food, beer, and line dancing awaits runners and their family and friends. Aside from age-group awards for the top three males and females in each race, finish-line gifts include a Honky Tonk cowboy hat and goodie bag for all participants, a finisher-medal buckle for marathoners and half marathoners, and an ice bath for those who decided to pogo stick the entire 26.2 miles. The Honky Tonk marathon and half-marathon course is USA Track & Field certified and is also a Boston Marathon qualifier.
Crunching metal and the sweet smell of burning rubber prevail as the Monster X Tour invades the Ocean Center, thrilling all ages in an action-packed motorsports showcase. Bigfoot, the forefather of all station-wagon smashers, leads a fleet of competitive 10,000-pound monster trucks, including Bear Foot and Black Knight, through jaw-dropping races, wheelie contests, and freestyle car composting. Transaurus, a two-story transforming robot that never learned to love, buries his woes by chomping entire cars in his massive jaws while watching reruns of Felicity. Before the show, VIP tickets also grant access to the Pit Party, where fans can have autographs signed by the drivers. During intermission, fans get the opportunity to eschew sea level with a ride inside a monster truck or visit General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and learn its true feelings about excessive hood sliding.
Burn Boardsports launches thrill-seekers skyward with experienced space-surfers and a curriculum designed by the International Kiteboarding Organization. A one-hour introductory lesson bestows the first steps toward mastering off-land travel for high-flyers 12 and older (those under 18 require parental permission). Certain safety techniques are highlighted during the session, which fosters skills with a two-line kite while keeping lungs and budding gills safely intact. Novices can establish a proper base to build upon in future lessons, eventually experiencing the thrill of plane-free air travel combined with the style of surfing. Burn Boardsports recommends participants bring sunglasses, sun-block, water, a towel, and cans of potent mermaid repellant. Call Burn Boardsports for available times and to set up a lesson location. Trainers will travel within 20 miles of the Daytona Beach area for lessons.