Ray Baldorossi, Jr. helped to create Softgolf by accident. As a child, he sent a miniature basketball soaring in his backyard with the help of a golf club. His father, an aerospace design engineer, took note of its trajectory and set about inventing a soft ball with holes that, as described by Tom Jackson of The Tampa Tribune, "plays remarkably like its more familiar cousin." After running the first Softgolf in southern New Jersey until the late 1980s, the family retired the business?until Baldorossi, Jr. re-established it in Tampa, this time with a twist. Instead of illuminating the course with a blend of traditional lights and the winks of fireflies, he lights the Softgolf balls from within thanks to phosphorescent materials. He also dots flags, holes, and tee boxes with solar-powered batteries and LED lights. The result: a whimsical, family-friendly game that whisks the orbs up to a distance of 70 yards along a sprawling fairway?the same number of yards owned by most 18th century robber barons.
At first, Boing! Jump Center measured only six feet square. It sat on the tabletop of Boing! founder Michael C., who wanted to work out the best possible arrangement of bounceable surfaces before opening. Today, the center’s two trampoline arenas total 12,000 square feet of jumpable surface, where everyone has access to multidimensional springiness.
When the space isn’t being used for open-jump sessions, Boing! can be converted into an arena for trampboarding, a wakeboarding-style sport for trampolines. Or dual courts for an aerial version of dodgeball that adds jumping to the sport’s usual ducking, throwing, and curling up into a ball once you’re out. During breaks between aerial activities, guests can stop by the Boing! arcade, which rewards players with goodies from its prize center. The newly renovated game center also hosts combo deals, including a college night.
The Fanboy Expo, like stepping through the screen of a blockbuster superhero movie, brings comic and movie fans face-to-face with their favorite characters, actors, and artists. For two days, costumed attendees hob-nob with the Highlander, talk shop with Jerry "The King" Lawler , or chat with Lorenzo Lamas about his much publicized transition from starring in Renegade to opening his petting zoo, Lorenzo Lamas' Llamas. In addition to meeting celebrities from silver and small screen sci-fi and fantasy hits, comic book fans can also pick their favorite artist and creator's brain, snagging an autograph in the process. Should they find themselves in need of a new action figure or collectable t-shirt, fans can make their way to a number of merchandise and memorabilia dealer booths throughout the event space.
Designed by racing expert Franky Zapata, the FlyBoard combines the waterborne summer fun of a jetski with the long-held human dream of flying by shooting riders up to thirty feet in the air using bursts of water from a personal jet-propusled platform. An on-deck electronic management kit, killswitch, and throttle allow users to control the flow of water from the pilot's feet and arms, giving riders the ability to perform in flips, spins, and aerial tricks as they loup-de-loup above the water's surface, or dive like rocket-propelled dolphins under the waves. After spending 5–20 minutes mastering the balance and control of the FlyBoard, customers will be zooming through the air like a famous man of steel, or zooming to glory like the hero in the totally underrated 1991 action/drama The Rocketeer.
H.Y.P.E.D. stands for Healthier You Persisting Every Day, a nod to the founder's own struggles with her weight before she earned her personal-training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Driven by her battles with maintaining a healthful diet and exercise regimen, she strives to help others achieve their fitness goals, from building muscle tone and lowering cholesterol levels to fitting into their high-school fedora. In her boot-camp classes, she inspires patrons of all fitness levels to get whipped into shape in a positive, supportive atmosphere, free of drill-sergeant-like shouting. She offers further motivation with nutrition counseling and personal-training sessions and urges clients to call her for additional support outside of class.
If there’s one team to emulate in professional sports, it’s the New York Yankees and their 27 championships. Since becoming the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the big league Yankees in 1994, the Tampa Yankees have grown into a minor league clone of their MLB brethren—they’ve won five Florida State League titles, including back-to-back years in 2009-10.
Further strengthening the Yankee bond, the T-Yanks play all their home games at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the Spring Training facility of the Bronx Bombers. A scaled-down replica of Yankee Stadium, Steinbrenner Field is an 11,000-seat facility brimming with Yankee lore. The 31-acre complex even has a Monument Park, which honors the organization’s greatest players and beer vendors.