By Sarah Sekula, published in Where Orlando magazine
Perhaps you’d like to master back flips on the trampoline or dabble in the world of aerial arts. Whatever it is you’d like to do, why not tackle one or two while you’re on vacation? Orlando has so much to choose from. We’ve rounded up a few experiences that are bound to revamp your image and feed your soul.
Adventurous types flock to Orlando Aerial Arts for an utterly uplifting workout. Cirque du Soliel-style classes (think climbing silk cloths that hang from the ceiling) are the perfect way to gain flexibility and core strength. Better yet, you’ll be so busy mastering your aerial acrobatic skills that you won’t even realize you’re burning calories at the same time. There are also aerial hoop classes and even an aerial boot camp. Don’t be intimidated; the instructors will gear the workout to your current fitness level, and you start literally from the ground up. So, go ahead, defy gravity. Cost: $20 for one class or $64 for a class pass, which includes four consecutive classes. 6700 Kingspointe Parkway, Orlando/863-414-8061. www.orlandoaerialarts.com
The best way to scope out Central Florida’s beautiful lakes is to skim across them. More specifically, take a standup paddleboarding lesson with Paddleboard Orlando. You’ll be in good hands; the instruction team is made up of fitness trainers, a kayak racer and a wellness coach. Participants hop aboard sturdy, extra-long boards and paddle several miles on the chain of lakes around Orlando. Expect an up-close encounter with manatees, pelicans and fish of all sorts as you glide by waterfront mansions. It’s equally peaceful and thrilling at the same time. 1415 N. Orange Ave., Orlando/407-782-5080. www.paddleboardorlando.com
Unicycle riding, trampoline bouncing, trapeze swinging: If joining the circus sounds appealing to you, sign up for a class or two at Orlando Circus School. It offers up huge thrills for both tykes and the adult set. Choose from instruction in wire-walking, juggling, gymnastics and more. At the end of the day, one thing is certain: This place will definitely knock your coolness factor up a notch. Cost: Prices range from $15 for a class to $60 for private instruction. 1420 Gemini Blvd., Orlando/407-965-1552. www.orlandocircusschool.com
If you’ve considered diving out of an airplane, but you’re not quite ready to make the big leap, try indoor skydiving at iFLY Orlando. You’ll get a similar sensation and a certificate of completion to boot. Oh, and you get to sport a super cool wind suit, helmet and goggles, too. The best part is, nearly anyone can do it, regardless of fitness level. Many ages—from 8-year-olds to grandmothers—have found this thrill ride enjoyable. After a brief orientation, guests don the gear and step into the vertical wind tunnel, which reaches speeds of up to 130 mph. The airflow is completely controllable, so the instructors can provide a customized experience. When you book, your reservation is your flight time. Cost: $54.95-$249.95. Special package pricing available. 6805 Visitors Circle, Orlando/407-903-1150. www.iflyorlando.com