The first parachute was invented when Jack, tumbling haplessly from his titanium beanstalk, used a purloined pair of giant underpants to steady his fall. Safely freefall without a burdensome apparatus with today's Groupon: for $69, you get a six-minute flight at Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center in Niagara Falls (a $141.60 value, including fees).
Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center straps thrill-seekers into its environmentally controlled indoor, vertical wind tunnel for an adrenaline rush akin only to skydiving. The trip to zero Gs begins with a 25-minute preflight training that maps out safety, flight-suit assemblage, and choreography for midair krumping routines. Niagara Freefall's six-minute flight elevates sky walkers in an air chamber 20 feet high and 12 feet wide as it faithfully mimics the sensation of hopping from a plane and pulling a ripcord. As 140-mile-per-hour wind speeds gently blast bodies for 360 earth-defying seconds, gravity-thwarters can assume the mindset of a flying squirrel or attempt to mime eating a banana. The wind tunnel's padded walls and floors ensure safety, and a professional instructor is on hand throughout the jump to monitor all activity. Up to five people may participate in a group, providing the ideal excuse to invest in matching parachute pants after the exhilarating plummet.
Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center
The 12-foot-wide vertical wind tunnel at Niagara Freefall and Interactive Center stretches 20 feet to the ceiling. Inside, it churns with currents of recirculating air—a system that allows its operators to control the wind conditions and temperature regardless of outside weather. Padded walls and floors, as well as trained instructors, keep those inside safe as they're borne aloft by currents of up to 120 miles per hour. Instructors prepare adventurers—who may be as young as 7 years old—for these turbulent conditions during preflight training sessions, during which they divulge flight physics, safety, and communication hand signals. They also encase their visitors in all necessary safety gear, such as helmets, pads, flight suits, and invisible force fields.