Skydiving. Unlike many outdoor activities, skydiving is something that everyone has an opinion on, whether they have experienced it, considered it, or ruled it out as something that will never occur in this lifetime. Also, unlike many outdoor activities, skydiving is an “extreme” sport, and something that has a higher barrier to entry than many outdoor activities. One of the main costs that impacts the sport is that unless one happens to be USPA Certified, one must take their first jump with an instructor in a tandem rig. It is also worth noting that in 2016, with the advent of base jumping, wingsuits, bungee jumping and other newer extreme sports, skydiving is not perceived as “extreme” as it was twenty years ago. But, for the casual adventure-seeker, or for someone who has never participated in an “extreme” activity, it is something that still provides a huge rush of adrenaline. Even though I had participated in many “extreme” or “adventure” activities over the years, skydiving for me was something that was always off on the horizon – meaning that while it was something that I wanted to do, it wasn’t something I was going to do right away. However, a couple of weeks ago, I decided that it was time to make my future plans presentplans, and took my first jump.
Even though it may seem hard to believe, California for much of the twentieth century and periods before was a large agricultural zone. Areas like “Orange County” and “Lemon Grove” were named because of the large commercial agricultural operations that occurred in those areas. As a matter of fact, Disneyland was constructed on one hundred and sixty acres of land that was occupied by orange groves and walnut trees. While most of this land has been swallowed up by urban development, large agricultural zones remain today in the Central Valley, and through the Coachella Valley regions. While a number of state parks in California cover the historical heritage of these agricultural ventures, San Diego is also home to a yearly agricultural spectacle of flowers at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.
Over the last ten years, in conjunction with the re-brand from Wild Animal Park to San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the park has developed a number of more interactive activities for visitors. One of these activities, the Safari Balloon ride fills the gap of allowing visitors to view the entire facility, while providing a unique hot air balloon ride experience. The Safari Balloon is a tethered hot air balloon that rises four hundred feet above the San Pasqual Valley. Modeled after the hot air balloon tours of the Serengeti, the balloon features a large, circular basket that visitors can walk around in during the duration of the tour.