The Pirate Cove Resort & Marina grants families, groups, and thrill seekers a year-round fix for the adventure itch. A lineup of four heart-jolting attractions populate the resort's grounds, including the giant Bosun Swing, which oscillates riders gently above the Colorado River, granting picturesque views of mountains in the distance. Standing eight stories high, the Plank Walk plunks adventurers 80 feet to a soft, sandy landing, and the Rum Runner, a motorized zipline, whisks riders through the air at 50 mph, or the same speed as Superman's groggy shamble to the bathroom in the morning. The resort's latest addition, the Pirates Quest zipline tour, consists of five ziplines that run as long as 1,300 feet, supplying explorers an adrenaline-infused vista of the land.
Keepers of the Wild founder Jonathan Kraft has always loved animals. As a child in Holland, he rehabilitated and released injured birds every winter. When he became a magician performing grand spectacles in Vegas, his affinity for animals led him to raise two baby tigers to integrate into his act, then eventually acquire and train more big cats. At first Kraft didn’t see the connection between his chosen career and the prevalence of animal mistreatment, but gradually he began to realize how cramped, stressed, and unhealthy his peers’ animals tended to be. His first steps toward rescue weren’t ideal—he didn’t have the space to give each animal the sprawling habitat it craved. So the next step was Keepers of the Wild a place designed to rescue exotic creatures from inhumane conditions and let them roam both safely and freely.
The center, located on historic route 66, now hosts more than 175 animals that include lions, tigers, leopards, and monkeys. Walking and hiking trails lead to enclosures where cougars lie in the sun or wolves trot between bushes. Plenty of lookouts offer photo ops or a chance to spy on capuchin monkeys’ poker games. Visitors can explore the grounds on their own or hop on a guided tour, where they’re shuttled to various habitats and can watch the predators feed.
UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes by location to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks. UltraStar Play it Again Cinemas also offers a selection of Hollywood hits for patrons to enjoy in high-back reclining chairs alongside snacks from the concession stand.
Flyboard riders fly yards above the waves, held aloft by the downward-facing, more-than 200-horsepower jets of water issuing from their boards' bases. It sounds like a complicated process, but really, flyboarding and walking take roughly the same amount of coordination—newbies typically learn the basics in 5 minutes and more complex tricks in 15. The learning process is especially user-friendly at Aquaflyboarding USA, where a team of certified flyboard instructors start each flight with a safety overview. Then, they coach flights in real-time.