As the late Pulitzer Prize recipient Art Buchwald said, “The best things in life aren’t things.” If you know someone who could use a little injection of adrenaline to jump start their lives this holiday season, here are a few ideas that should do the trick. This year, shiny is out and priceless memories are in. New and exciting experiences are the gifts that keep on giving.
Trapeze School New York L.A.
370 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401
You remember it. The Sex and the City episode with Carrie on the flying trapeze; she made it look so cool. That very scene was shot at TSNY’s Manhattan location, but luckily, they’ve got a location set up for flying atop the Santa Monica Pier.
TSNY encourages you to “forget about fear, worry about the addiction,” offering flying trapeze (along with a variety of other aerial-based classes) seven days a week. They are open to first-timers ages 6 and up with an impeccable focus on safety and expert instruction.
Gift certificates, individual/package classes and private parties are available. Make that special someone speechless as they take the leap, surrounded by one of the most beautiful settings in Los Angeles.
19821 Nordhoff Place. #115
Los Angeles, CA 91311
Ever wonder what it would be like to move through the urban jungle in a way that defied common physics and made you look incredibly cool in the process? Say hello to freerunning; it involves movement through an environment that involves acrobatics and other tricks as part of the journey. This practice has its roots in parkour, where practitioners focus on the most efficient way to get from one point to the next.
Located in the world’s only indoor parkour playground (designed by X-Games course designer, Nate Wessel), Tempest Acadamy is the originator and sole facility dedicated to the growth of freerunning and parkour. Specialized equipment within a real-world city environment can be found here, such as a 14-foot warped wall and aussie bed trampoline. This is a place where people can renegotiate what they think is possible in movement, filled with those who believe that if you can overcome environmental obstacles, then you can learn how to overcome them in other aspects of life as well. Professional instruction is provided by coaches with experience in film, live performance and worldwide competitions.
Individual sessions and monthly memberships are available, providing access to a variety of classes to suit all levels for those 6 years old and up. Or, plan a birthday party here and traverse the indoor city with a group of daring friends.
1060 North Lake Street
Burbank, CA 91502
They can’t show you how to curve the bullet like Angelina Jolie in the movie “Wanted,” but what they can offer is a safe public place to let your wildest of gun-wielding dreams come true — well, almost. Firing Line is a state-of-the-art indoor shooting range equipped with fully-automated target shooting positions, steel-lined safety booths and 50-foot ranges. Don’t own a gun? Not to worry. They’ve got a selection of handgun calibers ranging from .44 Magnums to rifles for rent and plenty of ammunition for sale. It may take a moment to get used to the constant sound of guns firing, but with adrenaline rushes fueled, it’s the perfect opportunity to pull the trigger.
Single daily sessions and annual memberships are available. They also offer basic firearm training on Saturday mornings.
Six Taste Bizarre Food Challenge
Select locations in Greater Los Angeles
For those who seek thrills through their palates, Six Taste, the largest and most highly rated food tour organization in Los Angeles is now offering private food challenge parties as a unique alternative to eating out as usual. On this gastronomic adventure, brave participants will get to try several ‘bizarre’ dishes made by some of the best Chinese cooks in Greater Los Angeles County. This is a fun way to expand seasoned taste buds with dishes such as jellyfish and frog ovaries, to name a few.
This culinary adventure is available for private parties of 10 or more, with a variety of custom options to make the experience uniquely yours. Gift certificates are also available.
500 Speedway Drive Bldg #F
Irwindale, CA 91706
Make the need for unabashed speed a reality at the Toyota Speedway. Here, race junkies can go behind the wheel of a stock car where they can “shake and bake” like Ricky Bobby in “Talladega Nights.” Staffed by a national champion crew chief and racing coordinator, this race training school is equipped with the staff and racing machines that are sure to provide an exciting day at the track.
A variety of adventure programs are available, offering 10, 20 and 40 lap races and competition courses for the more advanced racer. Race parties of 10 or more are offered for those looking to share the rush with others.
Van Nuys Airport
16700 Roscoe Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Unlike the false promises of Red Bull, this flight school gives you the wings you need to fly. With training led by experienced FAA flight instructors, the most advanced simulator available and a comprehensive fleet, it specializes in crossing “fly a plane” off bucket lists.
Two packages are available that are most suitable for aviation newbies. The “Adventure Flight” allows those with no prior experience the chance to get some basic flight simulation and instruction in before going pilot side. From start to finish, students experience the entire flight process while enjoying the view of Malibu Beach and other notable L.A. landmarks. For a more comprehensive experience, the “Discovery Flight” includes official classroom instruction from a FAA flight instructor. Next, students apply what is learned in an FAA-approved flight simulator session that presents scenarios such as bird strikes and engine failures. The day culminates in a hands-on flight with a pilot, a memory that will remain imprinted in one’s mind for years to come. There is also a selection of advanced course packages geared towards elevating pilot skills to the next level.
Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Her fitness articles can be found on examiner.com. Follow her on Twitter.