The thrill-seeker’s guide: 6 artificial adventures that everyone should try
From planes that pretend they’re in outer space to sunken boats that pose as reefs, here are six artificial adventures that every thrill-seeker should try (with relative assurance that no dinosaurs will try to eat them).
If Jurassic Park taught us anything, it’s that nature finds a way.
Yes, we get it, Jeff Goldblum. You shouldn’t tamper with it for kicks or for commercial gain.
Or so we thought.
It turns out, if you don’t involve a lot of dinosaurs, you can create perfectly controlled, synthetic replicas of natural wonders. All the chills and thrills without the associated risks.
Located in Tenerife, capital of the Canary Islands, this theme park looks a lot like Thailand. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was founded by the Princess of Thailand, whose royal duties include entertaining tourists who refuse to go to an actual beach on an island famous for its beaches.
But here’s why you’d shirk the shore: you can be guaranteed the perfect wave.
The Siam Park City Wave Pool churns out the biggest man-made breakers open to the public anywhere, with crests that can reach as high as 1.5 metres.
Can’t surf? Don’t worry. They offer classes here too, which are a great way to learn in sublime conditions – and for blunting the embarrassment of wiping out by being in close proximity to other wobbly legged beginners who are also wiping out.
So you’ve got a 40-year-old aircraft carrier and you’re wondering what to do with it. (Hey, we’ve all been there.) Well, why not fill it to the brim with 500 pounds of heavy-duty explosives, blow it up, and let it slowly sink towards the sea floor?
If you’re thinking this sounds like a crazy idea that would only be entertained somewhere equally wacky – like in Florida, let’s say – then you’re right. In 2006, that’s exactly what happened.
The USS Oriskany is now one of the largest artificial ecosystems ever made under water. If you’ve got $200 and know how to scuba dive, we highly recommend visiting this elaborate fish hotel (where 38 fish species have been documented) that saw two wars but sailed on basically unscathed before someone sunk it on purpose.
Some scientists have found evidence that a very primitive part of our brain, one that we share with monkeys – the ventral striatum – is activated when we try new things. It may be why we seek dangerous-but-fun things to do. Because, when we try something new instead of better known, safer options, it rewards us with a neural bang of excitement.
In other words, it may be why you’d enjoy this: dangling off the edge of a 356m (1,167.97 ft) tall skyscraper.
Toronto’s CN building holds the Guinness World Record for the highest edge walk on a building (a real category, we swear) and is home to a trendy bar. Handy for Dutch courage.
If you’ve got nerves of steel and enjoy a panoramic view, then you can dangle – hands free – over the five-foot wide ledge that wraps around the top of the building. You’re attached to a very robust harness, which would in no way make a sane person less nervous. (It’s really high!)
But you don’t mind being suspended higher in the sky than humans were ever meant to be, the view is astonishing. Plus you also get to wear a cool red jumpsuit so you look good in all the pictures when you do it for the ‘gram.
You want to go ice climbing. You can’t afford the Himalayas. Where do you go?
We may not know how to pronounce this town in Northern Scotland, but we do know it’s home to Glencoe’s Ice Factor, the largest indoor ice climbing facility in the world.
So how close is it to the real thing?
The staff here go so far as to simulate the unpredictably of changes in the weather by periodically warming the temperature inside. That way, the walls thaw and so the climbing routes constantly change (because climbing an enormous frozen slab of concrete just wasn’t hard enough.)
So you want to go to outer space and experience zero gravity. (Can you think of a better way to eat Skittles?) Unfortunately, Elon Musk won’t return your calls. (We’re sure he’s just very busy.)
Forget him. You can now experience a zero-gravity flight without leaving the stratosphere. It’s on the more expensive spectrum of artificial adventures, but can you really put a price on basically being an astronaut (or at least the cool parts)?
Okay, you can put a price on it – it’s $5000. But you get to be weightless.
Here’s how it works: pilots whip you up to 34,000 feet in the air in a plane, then carry out a series of quick diving manoeuvres that make the aircraft’s contents (you) float, effectively recreating what astronauts experience in space.
Don’t forget the Skittles.
Is there too much money in Dubai?
It’s true. The 22,500 square metre facility is covered in ‘real’ snow, includes five ski runs complete with chairlifts, hosts world’s first indoor black diamond run and is even home to a colony of what we assume are very confused penguins.
If you fancy plummeting down slopes packed with enviable white powder year-round, we recommend it. (Let’s just hope the penguins don’t go all Jurassic Park on us.)
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