Though skydiving is often billed as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for the staff at Jump Florida Skydiving, it's a job. As they climb above the scenic landscape of Lake Country in a Cessna 205 aircraft, they stay calm as excitement radiates off customers—as young as 18 and as old as 79—about to make their first leap. At the ideal altitude, the plane levels off, and jumpers get into position. The sky is amazingly clear around the plane, which takes off from a private airport, so there are no commercial jets or flocks of migrating geese obstructing the airspace. Tandem or solo divers step to the edge, take a deep breath, and experience the thrill of accelerating at 9.81 meters per second per second.
While participants revel in their adrenaline-fueled thrills, the staff keeps them safe by adhering to the strict standards of the United States Parachute Association. These protocols enforce rigorous regulations, safety guidelines, and eminently cool member handshakes. On the ground, the team prioritizes hospitality, offering guest rooms, a restaurant, spectator fields, and a nerve-diffusing bar.
Dinosaur World lets modern-day adventurers see what the world was like when dinosaurs ruled the earth. More than 150 life-size dinosaurs peer imposingly from the hillsides, crane their necks up through native trees, and stomp through prairie fields at the theme parks that stretch out over 20-plus acres of land in Texas, Florida, and Kentucky. The fiberglass, steel, and concrete dinosaurs reach up to 80 feet in length, and are built according to the latest scientific discoveries about what dinosaurs looked like.
Visitors who want to experience what it's like to be a paleontologist can dig for fossils at the Fossil Dig and uncover a life-size stegosaurus skeleton from under the sand in the Boneyard. Before leaving, visitors can play on the dinosaur-themed playground and check out the Prehistoric Museum to see a variety of cast and real fossils. The Tampa location showcases an animatronic dinosaur exhibit where guests get to see dinosaurs come to life.
There's no telling who you'll run into on the simply named Beer Crawl?past events have been attended by stormtroopers, cowboys, and even a brace of rarely spotted Waldos. Thanks to themed costume contests that run the gamut from neon '80s wear to masked superheroes, attendees of all stripes race or meander between trendy area venues. At each one, they enjoy free beer and drink specials as DJs spin popular tunes and supervise games such as Flip Cup or Figure Out What Channel the Game Is On. Participating bars include World of Beer, The Lodge, and MacDinton's, among many others.
Curves trades in competitive rows of workout equipment for a circle of hydraulic resistance machines designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. During 30-minute circuit classes, trainees form a convivial circle as they rotate from machine to machine, timed by a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music. Health-minded toe-tappers can attend eight classes of the new Curves Circuit with Zumba Fitness, which mixes Zumba dance moves with resistance exercises to create a muscle-toning combo that's almost as fun as your Jane Fonda salsercise tapes.
Pretty Muddy's founders designed their 5K obstacle course with a simple goal: to provide a stress-free opportunity for women to cut loose and have a blast in the mud with their friends. Women run or walk at their own pace, encountering low-pressure architectural obstacles along the way that are devoid of hay, splintering plywood, and axe-wielding trolls. The finishers sport post-race looks ranging from mud-drenched to only lightly splattered, depending on their course strategies.
Though the course architects designed obstacles to be fun, Pretty Muddy team members are stationed at each one to provide assistance, and obliging signs point out alternative routes for those who’d rather keep walking. The team often reminds participants that it isn’t about how many obstacles they surmount, but about sucking every drop of fun out of the experience.
At least two aid stations are present on every Pretty Muddy course to keep everyone well hydrated. After they finish, muddy ladies can compete for costume prizes, grab a drink and listen to the music, or free themselves of icky attire at onsite rinsing and changing stations.
A runner goes down, splashing in the wet mud. Bodies race by as he pushes himself off the ground and sprints to keep up. There are only a few more obstacles to go. He dashes through a series of tires. One two, one two. There is the finish line. He puts every last ounce of strength into his sprint and he crosses, a chip recording his time and friends ready to clap him on the back.
MudSlayers challenges runners to complete this feat on a regular basis. It organizes 5K races with more than 30 obstacles including sliding, climbing, and mud. The course is designed to test participants' strength, agility, and balance, but it should also be fun. Participants can go at their own pace, running to get the fastest time or walking up to each new obstacle with nothing driving them but their own endurance. After the race, participants can rinse off sweat and mud splatters in a shower and pose for photos at the finish line. A portion of the proceeds from the event goes to The Youth Alliance.