In more than 100 locations around the country, ThrillZown's staff facilitates adrenaline-filled excursions full of extreme water, air, and land adventures. Under the supervision of experts, brave souls defy gravity as they skydive, hang-glide, bungee jump, or play films of apples falling off trees in reverse. On land, crews harness the power of horses, stock cars, and snowmobiles; in the water, groups navigate whitewater rapids or explore aquatic depths as they scuba dive or surf.
Bok Tower Gardens, a National Historic Landmark, has enthralled visitors since 1929. When founder Edward W. Bok visited the area near Lake Wales, Florida, during winter retreats, he became enchanted with the beauty and vistas from Iron Mountain. From the hilltop, 298 feet above sea level, Bok marveled at serene sunsets and was inspired to preserve the area for future generations. Famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. was brought in to create a 50-acre garden, which has ferns, palms, oaks, and pines fashioning a lush backdrop with flowering foliage. At the center of the garden, the Singing Tower, designed by Milton B. Medary, features 60 carillon bells ranging in weight from 16 pounds to 12 tons, which play daily. Also at the heart of the garden is Pinewood Estate?a Mediterranean-style mansion built in the early 1930s by Charles Austin Buck, a Bethlehem Steel vice president. The estate is open to self-guided tours and decorated during the holiday season. Visitors can look forward to special events hosted at Bok Tower Gardens throughout the year, with refreshments available at the Blue Palmetto Caf? and souvenirs at the gift shop.
Blues, Brews & BBQ supports the Jules Burt Foundation with a three-day weekend festival filled with ear enticing music, delicious grub, and a plethora of crafted beers. The VIP admission pass (a $48.46 value, including fees) gets all hops hopefuls early VIP entrance to the Session I in the Brewtopia beer tent scattered with more than 60 craft brewskis, each infused with a diverse flavor, unique aroma, and parent-instilled sense of self, many of which are available for small tastings. Like a liquid goody-bag that won't evaporate when you try to take it home, VIPers will also receive a refillable Blues, Brews & BBQ mug ($10 value) with one complimentary beer.
Nicole Almeida has been dancing since she was two years old and competing since she was nine. As owner of the newly inaugurated Studio 6 Academy of Dance, Almeida seamlessly blends her competitive dance background with her fitness training experience and education in exercise science and nutrition to offer students a place to fuel their passions for dance and fitness. Almeida strives to instill self-confidence and discipline in students of all ages as she, along with her team of instructors, leads a variety of dance classes including hip-hop, jazz, and ballet. Fitness courses include Zumba, yoga, Pilates, and P.U.S.H. boot camp, which combines group-exercise classes with personal training.
At Skydive Lake Wales, the team will do visitors an unusual favor?they'll jump out of a plane with them at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Strapped to their certified instructor, newbies reach speeds of up to 120 mph during a 60-second free fall; next, the instructor opens a parachute, and the pair floats lazily to the ground. More experienced jumpers can enjoy the skydiving center, too, enrolling in a class sequence that culminates in certification.
For first-time tandem jumpers, the experience of free falling from 11,000 feet is an unforgettable experience. But just in case, Skydive Orlanpa, in partnership with Jump Florida Skydiving, can document tandem jumps with professionally produced videos set to music. A preflight interview on the ground gives way to footage shots inside the plane as jumpers and their tandem instructors make their ascension. From there, videographers capture the entire free fall as participants take in the scenery and attempt to block out the chortles of condescending geese. The parachute then deploys, and jumpers and their instructors return to terra firma. Meanwhile, friends can watch dives from the ground in a large spectator area or tag along on the plane ride and watch the leap firsthand.