Across the nation, the skies are filled with giant, kaleidoscopically colored balloons languidly soaring over snowcapped peaks and green valleys. This is partly due to Balloon Rides Online, whose network of nationwide hot-air balloons paints the sky each day. Employing a FAA-approved basket and a professional pilot who has completed at least 500 flight hours, the company floats passengers over mountains, forests, and streams of caramel for one hour. While gliding with the ease of a cloud, pilots encourage guests to snap photos of sprawling landscapes and capture the moment. After landing, crew members and passengers celebrate with a champagne, mimosa or orange-juice toast?an important tradition in hot-air ballooning and preparing for inevitable hovercraft uprisings. With passengers' safety in mind, Balloon Rides Online also keeps a minimum insurance liability of $100,000 per guest.
The ROC Race is a 5K fun run with a catch?a dozen of them, to be exact. Twelve giant obstacles stand in the way of victory, including a wrecking ball that threatens to knock runners off their path. The various challenges draw their inspiration from the world's most extreme game shows, where contestants have to run through tires, swing on ropes, and swoosh down giant slides. To make things even more exciting, ROC's organizers encourage participants to dress up in wacky costumes like tutus or outfits inspired by superheroes such as the Fantastic 5K Finisher.
This epic event descends on cities across the U.S., welcoming runners ages 13 and up to fend off water and foam before greeting crowds of spectators at the finish line. A post-race experience keeps things going with even more foam and festivities.
From ballet school in her native Peru to folk-dance studies in college, Marcela Alva had dance in her heart and on her hips. Her long-held belief that dance, combined with good nutrition, results in a rich, healthy life led her to become a certified Zumba instructor in 2008 to help others feel good about their bodies and lead healthier lifestyles. At Dance2Fitness, she leads students of all fitness levels and dance abilities—including those with two left feet and those with two left feet for hands—through high-energy classes such as Zumba, salsa, bachata, and merengue. Getting hearts pumping, she harnesses the dynamic rhythms of Latin music to help patrons burn calories and sculpt limbs while having fun with the fancy footwork.
At age 11, Todd Wonkka caught the tennis bug from mother. His athleticism was in full swing by college, but a knee injury shifted him from the role of competitor to teacher. Todd has since gained a teaching certification from the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and accumulated 13 years of coaching and whistle-twirling experience. His group and private lessons cater to players of all ages and abilities, tailoring each session to meet students' needs. During a session, Todd might walk players through footwork, topspin and slice serves, or how to wallop short-angle shots at opponents or the button that silences a car alarm.
Having studied the “gentle art” under the guidance of Carlson Gracie, Brazilian jujitsu champion Joel Tudor takes a wider view of jujitsu. He sees the martial art as more than the physical means to choke, joint-lock, or toss an opponent. Although the discipline can arm its practitioners with these abilities, the art’s more central tenant promotes an overall healthy lifestyle by increasing self-confidence and encouraging clients to break bad habits. In support of this approach, Master Tudor’s instructors imbue children and adults with other health-promoting practices, such as yoga and kettlebell conditioning.
Pumpkin Stations turn pumpkin shopping and family-park excursions into a one-stop trip. Each of the five Pumpkin Station locations houses a variety of family-fun activities, from giant slides and mini-trains to sky fighter rides and carousels. Mission Valley, for instance, enables visitors to get their sea legs with an on-site boat ride, while the El Cajon game zones gives them a place to rest in between activities. No matter the location, families, friends, and groups can stroll through an asphalt pumpkin patch to seek out a large, plump gourd to take home and carve into a jack-o-lantern.