The sounds of air hockey pucks whishing toward their targets intermingle with myriad beeps, bells, and general revelry inside Game Time's colorful space, where participants stand captivated by the dizzying selection of games at their disposal. After high-stakes rounds of skee-ball or Cyclone, ravenous players can sidle up to the restaurant at the Tampa location only, where classic American staples such as chicken wings and club sandwiches sate victory-fueled hunger.
Since the age of 13, BJ McLeod has manipulated hundreds of rumbling horsepower, whipping racecars around tracks at roaring speeds. However, he knows that racecar driving is not easily accessible for everyone, so he started Pure Adrenaline Racing Experience to share the feeling of powering through bends and straightaways on professional-level tracks. It's his race packages that make the sport accessible. They put drivers behind the wheel of 600 horsepower super-late models for up to 20 laps after 40 minutes of orientation from the pros, or let them slip into the passenger seat for a ride-along to see exactly how the experts attack the course. It's the kind of experience that can create lifelong memories and build bonds with others, so BJ also customizes racing experiences for groups and corporate events that include professional instruction, catering, and jousting matches with checkered flags.
Trey Flemer, the owner of Peace River Paddle Sports and Kuleana Adventures, has been paddling across Florida's waters for nearly half a century. He and his team share the beauty and excitement of these waterborne adventures by leading groups on paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing trips. During the trips, the guides also introduce adventurers to prime areas for fossil hunting and fishing. Schedule your trip during daylight hours, or register for a special event such as the nighttime paddling trip, which takes place beneath a full moon.
On many mornings in 1930, surrounded by the chirping of birds, Pulitzer Prize-winning Dutch author Edward Bok could be found in his studio at the base of a 205-foot art-deco, neo-Gothic tower. Today, visitors to Bok Tower Gardens, a National Historic Landmark, can take in the sights and wander the more than 50 acres of meandering gardens sculpted by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.
Visitors roam through shaded clearings and child-friendly gardens filled with vine-covered arbors and butterfly- and bird-watching areas, such as the Window By The Pond observatory. Paths wind past cold-resistant and semi-tropical ferns, palms, and pines, and vibrant explosions of azaleas, camellias, and magnolias that caretakers lovingly re-paint each morning. Among the trees stands Pinewood Estate, a Mediterranean-style mansion that welcomes seasonal tour groups into its rooms. In the gift shop, visitors peruse mementos such as historical books and decorative, nature-themed jewelry. The gardens sprawl through the Pine Ridge Nature Preserve, where a 3/4-mile path lets visitors glimpse rare plants and endangered animals such as the indigo snake and gopher tortoise. Gardens staff protect these grounds from fire damage, preserve plantings by collecting seeds, and reintroduce native species by organizing singles’ mixers.
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.
In more than 100 locations around the country, ThrillZown's staff facilitates adrenaline-filled excursions full of extreme water, air, and land adventures. Under the supervision of experts, brave souls defy gravity as they skydive, hang-glide, bungee jump, or play films of apples falling off trees in reverse. On land, crews harness the power of horses, stock cars, and snowmobiles; in the water, groups navigate whitewater rapids or explore aquatic depths as they scuba dive or surf.