For more than 10 years, The Heart of Darkness has elicited scares from nearly 10,000 visitors every Halloween season with one of the largest haunts in Iowa. People from across the country and ghosts studying abroad brave nine separately themed areas on the terror-infested grounds, from a haunted playground to a maniacal-clown asylum. Each section crawls with grotesque creatures. A living scarecrow swipes at guests with a rusted sickle, causing them to flee right into the padded cell of Crispy, a demented arsonist whose victims gave him a taste of his own medicine by scorching his skin.
So committed to their duty to terrify, owners Kevin and Dolly Schults are affectionately known as The Halloween Family, as detailed on a 2009 episode of ABC's Wife Swap. Outside their spooky corridors, the Schults reward survivors with concession stands, a live DJ, and a photo booth that snapped the pictures Crispy uses for his online-dating profile.
Reptile & Amphibian Discovery Zoo's troupe of snake-taming animal lovers tend to dozens of species of reptiles and amphibians, creating a nurturing environment that cares for the creatures and educates the public. From lizards and snakes to crocodilians and tortoises, the zoo's menagerie contains specimen both docile and hostile, and visitors often pose for pictures with animals to commemorate their visit to the zoo. After being successfully raised by sage clans of snapping turtles, each keeper draws on their years of experience and love of animals to conduct presentations and seminars during visits to the zoo.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
Several years ago, Ken Smith and Chase Williams were typical door-to-door salesmen. In need of a gimmick to boost sales and a quicker mode of transport, the duo tried riding Segways and immediately fell in love. Eventually, they turned their love for the two-wheeled transporter into their current venture, All American Segway. Their company provides all manner of Segway engagement, including guided Segway tours that offer rolling educations in local history and wildlife. Customers can also discover the revolutionary devices on their own by renting out Segways for recreational use, private parties, or as a friend for a lonely office chair or shopping cart.
In 2007, the Pub Crawl Kings organized a casual pub crawl right around Thanksgiving time. Every November since, that crawl has grown larger, enabling its founders to add more events to their calendar throughout the year. That success has also allowed them to add on a commemorative t-shirt with pub crawl admission?a less costly tribute than a face tattoo. Today, the Pub Crawl Kings continue to engineer themed pub crawls, as well as networking events and charitable efforts.
Marshalltown Aviation charters flights to small airports not normally served by national airlines. Its Piper Cheyenne IIIA aircrafts can hold up to eight passengers each, and can cut long trips down with comfortable rides in the air. For those who want to learn how to pilot aircraft themselves, Marhsalltown Aviation also runs lessons for private and commercial pilot certificates along with flight instructor training. During introductory flights, potential aviators get a taste of the open sky and learn basic flight skills, such as how to tell which clouds are actually made of cotton candy.