So, you’re an adrenaline junkie? Merely driving in rush hour traffic isn’t enough of a death-defying act for you? Well, you’re in luck. In keeping with its love of all things bigger and better in Texas, here are our picks for a few unique, daring experiences on hand 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 this old-fashioned, bi-wing, open-cockpit plane. Pilot and co-owner Rob Whiteside purchased the sleek, red 2012 replica biplane in May of 2015, giving 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, every wind bump; hold your hand out past the windshield and the force whips it back. Three GoPro cameras capture everything. Sharp turns and rolls make for an exciting ride. Whiteside even offers an aerobatic flight that includes barrel rolls and full loops.
4321 EMMA BROWNING AVE | AUSTIN
If you ever dreamed of running away to join the circus, Skyline Trapeze is the place for you. In fact, their motto is “Unleash your inner circus.” Here is the place where you can learn basic aerial and trapeze skills that will have you performing a flying catch in your very first class. The two-hour class 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.
15505 WRIGHT BROTHERS DR | ADDISON
You’ve watched movies enough to have seen plenty of action scenes involving car chases, gunfights and actors jumping or falling out of buildings. 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. You can also have a party or event on the ranch’s 22 acres, and Wolf offers a stunt camp for youth ages 8-15.
13317 FITZHUGH ROAD | AUSTIN
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 from eight to 50 laps 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-along shotgun from the passenger seat for three laps around the track. Friends and family can come along to cheer you on from the pit road, along the 1.5 mile quad-oval track.
3545 LONE STAR CIR | FORT WORTH