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Date with Danger: 10 exciting outings for adrenaline junkies

J.R. McMillan

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First dates are the worst dates. Expectations are impossibly high, and almost always fall short. The delicate balance between intriguing and arrogant tends to favor a lot of forgettable chitchat and awkward silence. And the longer couples are together, the more boring it becomes.

Sometimes, you need to be bold and hold nothing back. Skip the white linen tablecloth and track down that new food truck. Forget the latest rom-com and go for an obscure indie film. But if you really want to impress, make it the best first excursion or overdue evening out you and that certain someone have ever had by booking a date with danger.

Here are some local adventures to get your hearts pumping and hormones humming — because adrenaline is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Kinetic Climbing and Fitness

Rock climbing, or “bouldering”, is a year-round sport for beginning to advanced climbers at this enormous west side facility. Come conquer the walls, or work your way up and under one of the angular ledges if you dare. Owner Tony Reynaldo is not only an accomplished climber himself, but a world-renowned climbing equipment designer whose unique finger and toe holds pepper the colorful vertical playground.

The Bullet Ranch

If Bonnie and Clyde were a contemporary courting couple, they’d probably be road-trip regulars at The Bullet Ranch in Pataskala. In addition to the standard amenities of an indoor rifle and pistol range, rental firearms include an authentic 1928 Thompson machine gun with two drums of ammunition. There’s also a 5-stand shotgun course out back during warmer weather with a little more boom for your buck.

Royal Arts Fencing Academy

Satisfy your inner swashbuckler with a pointed lesson in classical fencing from a seasoned professional. Founder Julia Richey, a former member of the Russian National Team, began fencing when she was just 14. Though Royal Arts east side studio started as a club for sport fencing, it has grown to include classes for long sword, samurai, and yes, lightsabers. There’s even bartitsu (think British gentlemen’s jiu-jitsu) for the debonair duo.

Columbus Axe Throwing

What’s more deadly than a dart and less blunt than a bowling ball? Axe throwing, of course. If you’re looking for something sharp and spontaneous, you really can walk in, grab a slab of metal on a wooden stick, and hurl at a target on the wall. Tucked away off Busch Boulevard, it’s safe, simple, and supervised — and there’s beer. What could possibly go wrong?

Movement Activities

Join the circus for the weekend without quitting your day job. Among the many unexpected startups at 400 West Rich, Movement Activities offers aerial dance classes. Their monthly beginners workshop will show you the ropes before moving on to more advanced maneuvers. Between the trapeze and the climbing silks, you and your partner could be fifty shades of fit and flexible in no time flat.

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LVL UP Sports

If body paint is too weird, why not try paintball? LVL UP Sports offers multiple distinct parks in one. From the dense darkness of “The Woods” and Minecraft-inspired “Cubez” to the castle and kingdom of “Valken Village”, this Grove City shooting gallery is close to home, yet worlds away. And when both of you get back and throw your clothes in the wash, who know where the night might lead?

ZipZone Outdoor Adventures

Explore 20 acres of elevated trails on the grounds of Camp Mary Orton, just north of 270 and 23, as you zip from platform to platform over the forest below. Courageous couples might consider a “Zip Rush” tour with two new sky bridges and a free fall “rappel”. Two-hour canopy tours reveal plants and wildlife in silent serenity, while monthly moonlight tours make the most of Earth’s round romantic satellite. 

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Every couple eventually argues over who is the better driver. Here’s your chance to finally find out. In addition to operating two professional racecar circuits about an hour north of Columbus, Mid-Ohio also offers performance driving schools. Learning the physics and dynamics of high-speed racing might seem dry. But climbing into an Acura ILX for several pulse-pounding trips around the track should get your engines going.

Skydive Greene County

There are plenty of fly-by-night outfits willing to let you jump out of a perfectly good aircraft. But Skydive Greene County, founded in 1961, is the oldest skydiving school in Ohio. Why take chances at 10,000 feet? The private airport in Xenia is a short drive for a fast free fall. Tandem jumps are available all year, weather permitting. (Please note, you’ll each be strapped to a stranger, not each other.)

Balloon Masters

If slow and serene is more your style than a speeding car or plummeting from the sky, try a tranquil sunset view from a hot air balloon instead. From a “champagne flight for two” to a bona fide “balloon wedding”, Balloon Masters even has a honeymoon package paired with a local bed & breakfast on Lake Logan in Hocking Hills for a weekend away — and a polite, piloted escape from your guests and in-laws.

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Things To Do

Travel to NYC for under $30? Flixbus bringing service to Columbus

614now Staff

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A new service launching in Columbus wants to get you to destinations such as Pittsburgh and New York City at a fraction of the cost of traveling by air.

FlixBus will begin offering a route connecting Columbus and New York City, with stops in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, on March 5. The cost to travel from Columbus to NYC will be around $29.99, and just $9.99 will get you to Pittsburgh.

Aside from its low prices, FlixBus sets itself apart with amenities such as free on-board wifi, power outlets at every seat, free on-board entertainment through an app, and free carry-on and checked luggage.

For information on FlixBus' rates, routes and more, check out their website.

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2 new cheetah cubs are “huge accomplishment” for Columbus Zoo

614now Staff

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In a groundbreaking scientific breakthrough, two cheetah cubs have been born through in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer into a surrogate mother at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

While the cubs’ biological mother is Kibibi, the cubs—one male, one female—were delivered on Wednesday, February 19 by Isabelle (Izzy).

Izzy, a first-time mom, has been providing great care to her cubs at this time, reported the Columbus Zoo in a release.

“These two cubs may be tiny but they represent a huge accomplishment, with expert biologists and zoologists working together to create this scientific marvel,” said Dr. Randy Junge, the Columbus Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Health. “This achievement expands scientific knowledge of cheetah reproduction, and may become an important part of the species’ population management in the future.”

According to the release, attempts to artificially inseminate cheetahs often have not been successful, with the last one occurring in 2003. The achievement at the Columbus Zoo brings the potential to help ensure the survival of cheetahs in their native range.

“I am very proud of the team for this accomplishment,” said Jason Ahistus, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center Carnivore Curator. “It gives the cheetah conservation community another tool to use in cheetah management, both in situ and ex situ. It really opens the door to many new opportunities that can help the global cheetah population. This is a big win for the cheetah.”

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Things To Do

New comedy club bringing laughs downtown this summer

614now Staff

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Started as a small improv group around the fall of 2012, Hashtag Comedy Co. has since grown into a full-fledged improv comedy company offering shows, classes, and training to comedy fans in Central Ohio. 

Now, Hashtag has announced a new downtown headquarters to help keep the laughs coming. Opening Summer 2020 at 346 E Long St. at the corner of Long and Grant in downtown Columbus, the venue will focus on improv comedy but also provide audiences with standup, sketch, and variety shows.

“Opening a space for people to be creative and showcase their comedy has been a dream of ours for nearly our entire time together,” Sarah J Storer, founding member, co-owner and Artistic Director at The Hashtag Comedy Company says on their website. “When this opportunity came to us to open a venue in the heart of the city we love, we knew it was the right time and place to make it happen.”

The venue will hold 45-55 patrons on most nights, but can open to accommodate up to 90 for specialty shows and engagements. Stocked with a bar in the theater space and right next door to gourmet to-go kitchen Cluster Truck, patrons will be able to enjoy a great meal and a drink while taking in a show. Classes and corporate workshops will occupy the space during weekends and non-show nights as well as working hours during the day. 

To learn more about how you can get involved with The Hashtag Comedy Company, visit hashtagcomedy.com

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