Are you an adrenaline junkie? Is driving in rush hour traffic not enough of a death-defying act? Well, you’re in luck. In keeping with its love of all things bigger and better in Texas, here are my picks for a few unique, daring experiences for all you daredevils out there.
You may have flown out of Austin Bergstrom Airport countless times, but that’s nothing like the rush you’ll have going on a thrill ride in an old-fashioned, bi-wing, open-cockpit plane with Austin Bi-Plane. The sleek red 2012 replica biplane gives passengers the opportunity to channel Amelia Earhart or Charles Lindbergh as they don bomber jackets and leather helmets before climbing aboard the Red Baron-style plane.
The excitement begins as you taxi down the runway, when suddenly the song “Danger Zone” from Top Gun breaks into your headphones. As the plane lifts off, you can feel every breeze and wind bump. Three GoPro cameras capture everything. Sharp turns and rolls make for an exciting ride and for the extra-adventurous an aerobatic flight includes barrel rolls and full loops.
If you ever dreamed of running away to join the circus, Skyline Trapeze in Dallas is the place for you. You can learn basic aerial and trapeze skills that will have you performing a flying catch in your very first class. The two-hour lesson is limited to 10 people, to make sure everyone gets individual attention and plenty of time on the trapeze.
After a ground introduction, safety briefing and practice at grabbing the bar and dropping into the net, you’ll start learning the tricks that you once watched in awe as acrobats performed them above your head. Skyline Trapeze also offers classes in aerial silks, juggling, and partner balancing; and plans to add trampoline, slackline and other classes.
At Austin’s Stunt Ranch, anyone can have the experience of being a Hollywood stunt double. The private, four-hour classes with award-winning director and Hollywood special effects coordinator Steve Wolf lets participants discover what it’s like to free fall three stories and jump from a burning car.
The hands-on introduction to pyrotechnics, rappelling and taking bullets (blanks, of course) gives the ultimate insight into how mechanics, kinetics, optics, heat, computers, and safety techniques are used to create special effects in the movies.
For speed junkies, there may be nothing like the thrill of a high-powered race car. Richard Petty, a retired NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time championship winner, opened his own driving experience to give the average person the same taste of speed on the racetrack. Your hands are on the wheel, your foot is on the gas and 600 horsepower is under the hood to take you around the Texas Motor Speedway, at speeds up to 160 miles per hour.
Rather let someone else do the driving? No problem! You can also ride shotgun. Friends and family can come along to cheer you on from the pit road, along the 1.5 mile quad-oval track.