At Florida Air Museum, the official aviation and aerospace education center of the State of Florida, any vessel with skyward aims is worth preserving. Culled from all eras of aviation, the museum's collection encompasses vintage, factory-made, and homebuilt aircrafts alike, with plenty of military planes and air racers in between. Amid the aircrafts on display, visitors from around the world can see the Florida Aviation Hall of Fame that focuses on top Florida and female aviators, as well as famous pilots such as the Tuskeegee Airmen and Charles Lindbergh.
The museum also celebrates Howard Hughes by rotating artifacts from the world's largest collection of his memorabilia. The exhibit includes Hughes' leather flying suits, as well as models of his most famous vessels, such as his HK-1 nicknamed the “Spruce Goose." The Discovery Zone features flight simulators that whisk budding pilots away on their own journeys into the pretend-skies, interactive learning stations help guests explore the history of aviation, the Florida Aviation Timeline focuses on the state's military and commercial contribution, and the museum's year-round programs delve deeper into Florida aviation history through camps, workshops, and guest lecturers.
Surrounded by a pastureland of cows, horses, donkeys, and a buffalo, families can bask in the autumn air and the fun afforded by several attractions at The Smith Family Ranch. During the fall season, farmhands turn their acres of corn into a maze, in which guests can challenge their sense of direction and the age-old claim that cornstalks always lean to the west. As ranch guests travel through the maze, others can be entertained with hayrides, pony rides, a pumpkin patch, and a bouncy jumping pillow stationed in the middle of the field. Youngsters can also enjoy trips through a mini maze forged from bales of straw or gaze in awe as ears are launched from the corn cannon, an ancient relic from the days when all warfare ammunition was nutritious.
The Gorilla Gauntlet is the type of obstacle course that relishes in defeating the most fit of competitors. Thirty two obstacles adorn the course, forcing racers to climb 8-foot-tall walls, swing on monkey bars, and flip heavy tires to reach the finish line. Guests have two tries for each obstacle, and earn a 10 burpee penalty for each incomplete feature. And the course is completely dry, meaning no mud, water, or personal rain clouds to cool down guests or long distances between obstacles to rest up.
The Florida FFA Foundation engages the community with recreational activities, employment training, and awards for student achievement. One of the organization's biggest goals is to get people outdoors, and they draw on all of their resources—and all of their creativity—to do so. Aside from providing a swimming pool and volleyball courts, they host paintball games, rent out kayaks and canoes, and rent out a full-service conference facility with 60 sleeping rooms to provide for weddings, reunions, retreats, and parties.
Most 5Ks follow a familiar script: runners wind their way through simple, temporary courses designed out of necessity rather than creativity. Fortunately, The Mud Titan isn't most races, and its course isn't something to simply be endured. More than 30 obstacles await intrepid runners, incorporating climbs, slides, and crawls through mud that pit racers against the very ground they tread on. After challenging their endurance, strength, and threshold for dirty socks, winners of the Elite Waves are awarded with a custom engraved trophy, while those who participated in costumes are judged and awarded accordingly by audience members. Though the run rewards racers with exercise and bragging rights, those aren't the only things at stake; a portion of the proceeds help support The Youth Alliance, a non-profit organization that works with local communities to empower young people.
Despite what folklore says, most pirates didn't bury their treasure. The act of digging a deep hole, tossing a heavy chest into it, and then making a map to find it at a later time would have been difficult, to say the least. Though it's not much easier at the Pirate Booty Hunt, the fun run infused with a scavenger hunt leaves treasure at ground level. To find the prizes hidden along the 4-mile course, you have to best obstacles, mud, water, the other racers, and the space-time continuum—all while clad in your best pirate costume. Capping off the festive day, participants receive a medal, a T-shirt, and the reassurance of knowing the event benefits local charities.