Terrapin Adventures never fails to live up to its name—even their swing set gets the stomach fluttering with excitement. To be fair, though, the swing in question is anything but the traditional apparatus you'd find at a city park. It seats three people and starts its trajectory 40 feet above the ground, generating 2Gs of force as it swishes riders back and forth over the landscape. The park's other attractions are equally exhilarating. On the high ropes course, visitors attached to sturdy safety harnesses cross 18 traverses situated between lofty platforms; some must be tackled via a rickety bridge, while others require leaps of faith. The 43-foot high climbing tower offers 10 routes up and down, including a head-first downward climb over the Rainbow Serpent. Otherwise, the 330-foot-long zipline sends visitors gliding through the treetops at speeds of up to 20 mph, fast enough to beat the USA track team's star squirrel.
This sort of deft dodging is required at the 5,000-square-foot arena in Owings Mills. Teams compete in one of ten missions during each game of Frontal Assault tactical laser tag, which are inspired by popular video games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.
The snack bar at XP Laser Sport reenergizes players with Polar Shock slushies and personal pizzas. Meanwhile, windmills, loops, and carousels obstruct the path of LED mini-golf balls tumbling down the nine-hole indoor course. The facility's projection screens broadcast the latest angry faces of professional sports coaches, and two 25-foot screens let up to eight guests compete in Xbox 360 games such as Mortal Kombat.
"I am magnificent. I am powerful," is the mantra fitness instructor Carl J. Powell III strives to instill into his students, hoping to empower them with the knowledge that they can take charge of their health. To help students make these changes, Carl—a wellness guru who has been featured in Ebony magazine—has made more than 20 fitness videos, and has traveled the world training dancers. His team of instructors leads private and group fitness classes at The Magnificent Body. They lead Pilates, yoga, and three styles of barre, which blends ballet, yoga, and Pilates exercises to sculpt long, lean figures. Before students come to their first class, Carl assesses their athletic abilities and fitness goals in a 30-minute personal consultation.
Further encouraging folks to live healthier lifestyles, Carl hosts Magnificent Living, a one-hour talk show that airs on Laurel Cable. Six days a week, he doles out exercise and diet advice, such as eating fruits and veggies instead of butter sculptures.
During Race & Seek, an extra phone battery in your pocket could easily be worth thousands of dollars. The urban scavenger hunt sends teams of 2?10 out into city streets in search of 14 clues, which they must capture via photo or video with their smart phones. The first-prize winners haul in some serious bounty: $500 and free entry into the Grand Championship, where $5,000 waits at the finish line.
But a slew of physical and mental challenges stand in the way of that money. Harder and harder clues come in via text and email, and as participants decipher them, they must navigate the city largely on foot?no cars, bikes, taxis, or griffins are allowed?with the aid of GPS and a city map.
Golf requires power, precision, and soft touch, and Laurel Golf Center helps players hone all three at one location. Covered hitting stalls facilitate year-round practice at the driving range, where golfers can take aim at six target greens or try to nestle their golf ball inside a passing cloud. Short game practice areas let golfers hone chips, pitches, and shots with awkward lies from a practice bunker. To perfect their feel around the greens, guests can roll through the 18-hole miniature golf course.