At CRAFT, both rookie and veteran pilots take to the skies without ever leaving the ground inside the realistic, full-motion Redbird FMX flight simulator. Approved by the FAA as an Advanced Aviation Training Device, the simulator tricks future pilots with wrap-around visuals, an enclosed cockpit, and quick-change configurations. Its electric motion platform pitches, rolls, and yaws like a real airplane, and scenario-based programs let pilots choose different challenges, such as navigating through inclement weather or dodging runaway reindeer. Throughout visits, certified flight instructors offer advice, ensuring experienced pilots can advance their training, and new pilots are properly prepared when they transition to the real thing.
The Dirty Girl Mud Run—a women-only 5K for all ages and athletic abilities—traverses an obstacle course plotted across mud-soaked terrain. Eschewing the pressure of a traditional 5K, the noncompetitive, un-timed event focuses on camaraderie—women are encouraged to form teams and help each other to the finish line. The course pushes participants to endeavor beyond their comfort zone by tackling hills, puddles, and runaway speed bumps. Music and adult beverages liven the party, and Dirty Girl supports women fighting breast cancer by donating a portion of each entry fee to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
It was February 17, 1864. The USS Housatonic floated in Charleston Harbor atop calm, cold waters. Below the surface, a group of Confederate soldiers sweated bullets as they cranked the propellers of the H. L. Hunley, speeding toward the Union's Housatonic on a historic mission: they would become the first submarine crew ever to sink an enemy ship. A 135-pound torpedo struck the Housatonic's stern, detonating a fiery explosion that sank the vessel within minutes. The Hunley then surfaced just long enough for the crew to flash a blue magnesium light, signaling to fellow forces on the shore that the mission succeeded and the submarine would return. And it did—but not until almost 140 years later, when it was raised from the harbor's sandy bottom on August 8, 2000, after author Clive Cussler discovered the wreck intact.
Today, the leaders of the nonprofit H. L. Hunley Submarine seek to conserve, restore, and ultimately exhibit this historic vessel, as well as solve the mystery of how it completed its mission only to vanish moments later. They welcome visitors to see the submarine in its current condition—within a 90,000-gallon conservation tank—and educate guests on the vessel's many details. Guides walk guests through features such as the manual-propulsion system and automatic moon roof, and illuminate exhibits such as a lifesize model from the TNT movie The Hunley.
The go-karts at Charleston Rush can reach speeds of up to 50 mph. That comes in handy when you need to come out of a turn and zip down a straightaway to outrun an escaped cheetah. Racers don't have to worry about slowing down for weather, either. The 60,000 square-foot facility's two racetracks are both located indoors.
To prolong the fun, riders can stay for a game of glow-in-the-dark laser tag. Or, they can they can combine both activities into birthday parties, get-togethers, and fundraisers, complete with pizzas and party hosts.
Designed to look like an island retreat, Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark is more than just a place to beat the heat. It’s a fun-filled playground complete with slides, squirt guns, and a wave pool. The Big Splash Tree House is outfitted with 66 interactive features, including a giant bucket that drenches visitors with more than 1,000 gallons of water. The Tubular Twister sends riders shooting down a trio of 300-foot slides, while the Big Kahuna recreates the ocean’s waves in a 27,000-square foot pool. Little ones can play in gentler areas such as Lily Pad Lagoon and Otter Bay, which has a six-lane racer slide. In between aquatic activities, you can relax in the lazy river or stop by the concession stands for a quick bite.
With their fleet of Robinson R22 utility helicopters, the aviators at Charleston Helicopters take joy in breaking the laws of gravity. They whisk passengers high above Charleston for flight lessons and photo tours, and while passing over the harbor, guests can snap shots of the Battery, Shem Creek, and various forts. Viewers may also zoom over the Charleston skyline to admire buildings soaked in red-and-orange sunsets and the flickering lights of surrounding towns. Many of Charleston Helicopters's tours invite guests to toast airborne triumphs upon landing with champagne, instilling an extra sense of victory without having to drag race passing geese.