For the organizers of Baddest Mudrun, playing in the mud hasn't lost its fun. Laid out inside a former rock quarry, the mud-drenched 5K course challenges droves of competitors with more than 20 obstacles ranging from climbing walls and monkey bars to water-filled pits. To ensure runners stay hydrated, water flows freely from stations planted throughout the course. Marshals are also on-hand at each obstacle to assist runners and shoo away any pigs prowling for new real estate. Though prizes are awarded to the top finishers in each category, the 5K-run is suitable for runners of all ages and skill levels.
At the end of the course, a tent brimming with upbeat music, food, and beer reward runners for their efforts. Meanwhile, post-race games of volleyball and tug-of-war get sweat glands going again. In addition to dirtying up contestants, the Baddest Mudrun has another aim: to support local charities with the proceeds.
At Wildlife Survival Sanctuary, the volunteers treat the resident rescued animals like family. Every day, they provide toys for several exotic species including tigers, iguanas, and potbelly pigs, along with special nutrients for a 26-year-old geriatric leopard. These enrichment activities ensure the animals remain mentally stimulated at all times, preventing boredom. And because the animals never come in direct contact with the public, they can make this sanctuary their home without fear of being poked or prodded. Different species each have their own oversized habitats across the 10-acre campus, where they receive plenty of affection as they live out their lives.
Nature Coast SUP Stand-up Paddleboarding arms wave navigators with the paddles, vessels, and skills necessary to have safe and inspiring paddling experiences. Riders learn the basics of paddling in introductory classes before taking their boards out for peaceful traverses about the waters of Crystal River and Pine Island. Seasoned surf-goers can rent paddleboards for solo jaunts along the water's surface. While darting about, paddlers will be able to look down through the clear waters and see the local wildlife, including the possible chance to spot some of the Florida manatees that flock to the area's temperate weather and all-inclusive reef resorts during the winter.
As the sun begins to rise, an experienced pilot from Central Florida Balloon Rides meets passengers to take them on a floating tour of the sky. Excitement mounts as passengers watch a giant hot air balloon inflate and slowly take shape. Then, after a series of safety checks, pilots will usher passengers aboard the balloon for a ride that lasts about one hour. Along the way, the balloon will surf on the wind, reaching heights of up to 2,000 feet to give passengers a bird's-eye-view of the picturesque landscape unfolding below them.