Dusk has settled its gold and purple cloak upon the Flint River, gilding the tranquil waters in a fiery blaze of colors. The sounds of laughter breaks through the still evening as one of North Alabama Canoe and Kayak signature Twilight Tours makes its way leisurely down the fluvial highway under the steadfast helm of a seasoned guide. Founded with the intent of granting guests the chance to experience memorable moments such as this, North Alabama Canoe and Kayak equips explorers with their fleet of canoes and kayaks for relaxing sojourns along the Flint River. Nature enthusiasts can also opt to paddle themselves around during 1.5- to 4.5-hour unguided day trips, charting their own aquatic path past scenic sites that include wooded flat lands, high bluffs, and remote pasturelands populated by cows that have never seen a television or been to the big city.
A captain licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard, Jim Steele’s more than 25 years of boating⎯including time spent at the helm of Opryland’s water taxis⎯comes in handy as he coaxes The Blue Heron, a specially built 40-foot pontoon, about the Cheatham Wildlife Management Area on daily tours. Out on the water amid soothing birdsongs and the burbles of river critters, Captain Jim can be found behind the wheel of the craft, exercising his chops as an entertainer as he regales his passengers with chuckle-inducing anecdotes and factoids about local flora and fauna. With the comfort and safety of his guests always in mind, Captain Jim equipped the Heron with a restroom and keeps the vessel stocked with a comprehensive library of life jackets to fit adults, children, and pet iguanas of all ages and sizes. Hitting an average cruising speed of 5 to 10 miles per hour, the Heron affords its passengers leisurely looks at area wildlife as it embarks upon all manner of tours, from gold-tinged sunset cruises to kids' adventures punctuated by the gleeful laughter of curious youngsters.
Music City Water Sports’ fleet comprises a wide range of exhilarating water-based rides. Adventurers can opt for self-powered transport, such as a canoe or a kayak, or let an engine kick up the waves atop a Honda AquaTrax or Yamaha VX Cruiser jet ski. Each jet ski seats up to three people, which creates a great opportunity for a high-speed massage chain. The company's rental home base is on the waterfront of 14,000-acre Percy Priest Lake inside Nashville Shores Waterpark. Boasting abundant greenery and majestic rock cliffs, the lake is a destination for pleasure boaters and thrill-seekers alike. Music City Water Sports also makes equipment available to customers spending the day on other area lakes and rivers, sticking to its goal of helping people to take advantage of local waterways.
At Adventures Unlimited, infants to 12-year-olds develop their love of learning through hands-on exploration in a safe environment, overseen by a team of first-aid- and CPR-certified caretakers. The center combines a park-like outdoor play area, ideal for aspiring tag-players and botanists alike, with an onsite trove of dress-up clothes to aid children as they become pirates or tiara-wearing pirates. Adventures Unlimited also fuels fun with snacks throughout the day, though children are responsible for bringing their own sack lunches.
Age-targeted activities abound throughout the year, with story time for infants and toddlers, after-school activities and transportation to local elementary schools for school-age children, and a pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds with semi-structured art, science, math, and language classes. A registered private kindergarten pampers 5-year-olds with attention before transitioning them seamlessly into local public schools. During the summer months, the center’s camp hinges on weekly themes that can transform participants into chefs or educate them on Oregon’s history of hiding gold in its rivers and children's ears.
Ocoee Zipz lines up seven exciting ziplines over a mile-long course that runs next to the mighty Ocoee River, with each line featuring a Wizard of Oz-themed name and opportunities to observe native fauna, such as raccoons, deer, and tropical penguins. Mount the 30-foot Cowardly Lion and soar on the wings of a zipper to Dorothy, whose cables will usher you onward to several other stations, finally ending with a 65-foot soar across the Wizard. As you whip along at speeds of up to 45 mph, flying monkey guides ensure that the trip progresses smoothly and safely.