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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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Zoo Babies! We’ve got the photo cuteness

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Start the ooo-ing and ahhh-ing, Columbus, because we’ve got Zoo baby pics!

A Masai giraffe calf, a sea lion pup, two red panda cubs, and a siamang (gibbon) baby—all recent births at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for these endangered species. It’s a show of commitment from the organization how they were able to nurture these species populations at-risk for extinction and bring new generations of them into the world. 

“We are extremely proud to welcome these babies as they all represent hope for the future of species that are increasingly facing challenges in their native ranges,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO, Tom Stalf. In the press release, Stalf detailed how special these births are as the threatened species received around-the-clock, top-quality care by the Animal Care staff over the three-month-closure of the Zoo, due to COVID-19. 

OK, no more waiting—get your fill of cuteness below with these Zoo baby pics!

Masai Giraffe Calf

“A Masai giraffe calf was born on June 28, 2020, at 2:29 p.m. to mother, Zuri, in a behind-the-scenes barn of the Zoo’s Heart of Africa region.”

Sea lion Pup

“During the early morning hours of June 25, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed the first sea lion pup ever to be born at the facility!”

Two Red Panda Cubs

“Two healthy red panda cubs were born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, a welcomed addition to this endangered species.”

Siamang (Gibbon) baby

“On the morning of May 29, 2020, the Australia and Islands region welcomed a baby siamang. Mom, Olga, is being very attentive to her little one, whose sex and name have not yet been determined.”

Get information about conservation at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium here.

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Kids

City council aims to give youth opportunities this summer

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Walking down Weber Rd. toward I-71 this week, something was happening that most probably thought wouldn’t for at least another year: a group of kids playing basketball and being mentored by adults.

With the 2019-20 school year canceled, children have been confined to home, with most basketball hoops being boarded up. Summer camps were postponed and parents were starting to wonder, “What am I going to do with all of this bottled-up, youthful energy that’s been bouncing against my walls for the past few months?”

That answer was partially given on June 15, when Council President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown and Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced legislation to provide funds to programs for Columbus youth. The $2 million in grants was supported by Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. 

“Providing a safe place for our kids to learn and grow during the summer is vital for them and for working parents everywhere, and Columbus children deserve every opportunity to access enriching services that connect them to nature, wellness, and creativity,” Brown said in a press release.

In mid-June, the Columbus Recreation and Parks opened a select number of programming and camps with adjusted group sizes and increased safety protocols. With funds from the CARES Act, Columbus can expect to see more opportunities arise over the next couple of months.

To find a full updated list of programs that the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department will be offering this summer, click here.

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Things To Do

Where to get your Red, White & BOOM on this July 4th

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It was a bummer to hear that Red, White & BOOM would be canceled and changed to a virtual format for 2020. However, that shouldn’t stop you from celebrating in a somewhat traditional sense. Even with one of the biggest fireworks celebrations put on hold, there’s still plenty to do around Columbus, fireworks or no fireworks.

We here at (614) know that given the modern-day circumstances, people have the choice to celebrate in whatever way they feel most comfortable. Below you can find three ways to celebrate–Local 4th of July events; Red, White & BOOM alternatives; and places where you can legally celebrate yourself.

THINGS TO DO ON JULY 4TH

Fourth of July Fireworks

West Jefferson July 4th Streetfest

When: July 4 at 10 p.m.

Where: Watch from home

Obetz Fireworks

When: July 4

Where: Watch from home

Fourth of July Activities

Neighborhood Bike Brigade

When: Various start times

Where: Dublin neighborhoods

Sherm Sheldon Fishing Derby

When: June 26 through July 4

Where: Any Dublin pond

Fourth of July Parades

Front Yard Parade in the Round

When: July 4 at 6 until 9 p.m.

Where: Your front yard

2020 Cruisin’ On The 4th of July

When: July 4 at noon

Where: Northbridge Ln., Columbus, OH 43235

New Albany 4th of July Parade & Festival

When: July 4 at 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Where: Church of the Resurrection, 6300 E Dublin Granville Rd., New Albany, OH 43054

Other Fourth of July Events

Zoombezi Bay Family Movie Night featuring The Goonies

When: July 3 from 6 until 11 p.m.

Where: Zoombezi Bay, 10101 Riverside Dr., Powell, OH 43065

HOW TO CELEBRATE WITH RED, WHITE & BOOM

Red, White & BOOM was gearing up for its 40th anniversary before COVID-19 shut the mass gathering down. However, the beloved Columbus fireworks show will be hosting a virtual event over the first four days of July. The virtual campaign will air on NBC4.

Here are some of the events that will take place:

  • Highlighting the best Red, White & BOOM stories
  • Stories from local veterans inducted into the Ford Oval of Honor
  • Broadcasting the best Red, White & BOOM fireworks over the show’s 39-year history
  • Looking back on the tradition of parades honoring veterans

HOW TO TAKE CELEBRATING INTO YOUR OWN HANDS

We here at (614) also know that setting off fireworks yourself is illegal. We also know that buying them within the state is legal (OK?).

So here is a list of places around Columbus you can buy fireworks from. What you do from there is up to you, but we advise you to stay within the law:

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