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?
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.
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.)
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.