Thursday, April 2, 2009

Staycation idea: Vertical wind tunnels

Want to get the feeling of jumping out of a plane, but without the fear or the expensive cost?

Try a vertical wind tunnel. It's a fun way to make a day of your staycation stand out from your everyday routine.

A vertical wind tunnel is a wind tunnel that moves air up in a vertical column and is sometimes referred to as “indoor skydiving.” You fly a few feet off the ground in a stream of air with a net below you. Some of the wind tunnels are indoor, some outdoor. Skydivers often use the tunnels for training, but the tunnels are also open for the average Joe or Joan. And although most skydiving companies won’t allow kids under age 16 to jump, kids as young as age 3 can jump into the wind-tunnel experience.

There are more than a dozen of these wind tunnels in the U.S. and more are in the works as they gain popularity. You can find links and more information for them at It’s less expensive than you might expect. A two- or three-minute ride, giving you the chance to float like you drank the bubble soda in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, is generally less than fifty bucks.

The tunnels don’t take up much room, and it’s probably only a matter of time before they begin appearing at amusement parks. For now, the drive might be too far for some.

*** "The Great American Staycation: How to Make a Vacation at Home Fun for the Whole Family (and Your Wallet!)" is now available. You can find it in stores or online.

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