The licensed skydive veterans of Skydive Tampa Bay have accompanied customers soaring from the bellies of airplanes since 1978. These plummetologists have earned national and international championship titles and multiple world records, and now start beginners on a path to their own air-bound accolades with introductory tandem jumps. Lessons begin with on-ground instruction before instructors securely attach students to their torsos like thrill-seeking mother kangaroos and freefall for two miles. After students learn the basics through tandem dives, instructors put them through the Accelerated Freefall Program, which includes classroom time, ground training, solo jumps, and post-dive critiques of freefall techniques and maneuvers.
The Polk County Cattlemen's Ranch Rodeo brings together horse wranglers and ranchers alike for an all-day expo at the Polk County Agri Civic Center. Inside the spacious trade hall, guests peruse dozens of vendor booths for everything from specialty saddles to nutritious feed options for their favorite breeds. The action continues outside, where rodeo riders showcase their skills through traditional acts including trick riding and unicorn viewing.
At Florida Air Museum, the official aviation and aerospace education center of the State of Florida, any vessel with skyward aims is worth preserving. Culled from all eras of aviation, the museum's collection encompasses vintage, factory-made, and homebuilt aircrafts alike, with plenty of military planes and air racers in between. Amid the aircrafts on display, visitors from around the world can see the Florida Aviation Hall of Fame that focuses on top Florida and female aviators, as well as famous pilots such as the Tuskeegee Airmen and Charles Lindbergh.
The museum also celebrates Howard Hughes by rotating artifacts from the world's largest collection of his memorabilia. The exhibit includes Hughes' leather flying suits, as well as models of his most famous vessels, such as his HK-1 nicknamed the ?Spruce Goose." The Discovery Zone features flight simulators that whisk budding pilots away on their own journeys into the pretend-skies, interactive learning stations help guests explore the history of aviation, the Florida Aviation Timeline focuses on the state's military and commercial contribution, and the museum's year-round programs delve deeper into Florida aviation history through camps, workshops, and guest lecturers.
Surrounded by a pastureland of cows, horses, donkeys, and a buffalo, families can bask in the autumn air and the fun afforded by several attractions at The Smith Family Ranch. During the fall season, farmhands turn their acres of corn into a maze, in which guests can challenge their sense of direction and the age-old claim that cornstalks always lean to the west. As ranch guests travel through the maze, others can be entertained with hayrides, pony rides, a pumpkin patch, and a bouncy jumping pillow stationed in the middle of the field. Youngsters can also enjoy trips through a mini maze forged from bales of straw or gaze in awe as ears are launched from the corn cannon, an ancient relic from the days when all warfare ammunition was nutritious.
Safari Wilderness Ranch's exotic wetland animals freely roam 260 acres of grassy plains, girded by an 850-square-mile watershed. Accredited by the Zoological Association of America and licensed by the USDA, the ranch is an agritourism project dedicated to teaching about endangered species through hands-on safaris. Wandering zebra and watusi-cattle herds coexist harmoniously with waterbuck and lost cable guys as explorers ride by on trucks, horse-drawn carts, and camels. An outdoor aviary flutters with nearly 100 colorful, playful budgie parakeets who will munch millet seeds from the palm of a hand, and a lemur habitat allows guests to feed the ring-tailed primates grapes.
When paintballers feel ready for action but aren't sure where they'd like to do battle, they point their browsers to www.paintballpromos.com. There they'll find packages for nearby paintball fields, so they don't have to litter their own backyards with empty oil barrels and fill tiny water balloons with tempera paint. Packages usually include the rental of a marker and mask; paintballs and air fills are an extra charge at the field.