Let Your Inner Adrenaline Junkie Fly

Longhorn Life Staff Writer Sarah Strohl skydiving for the first time with Texas Skydiving Center.

Photo Credit: Sarah Strohl

Attention college students: there are only a few treasurable summers left before we join the real world. Why not make this one a little more memorable? Spice up your Texas summer by taking a flying leap out of your comfort zone and trying one of these thrillseeking activities.

Skydiving

If I was scared on the ground, it was nothing to how I felt when the door of the plane opened at 11,000 feet, and the 120 mph wind hit my cheek with icy force.

Being someone who is afraid of even the baby roller coasters, I never even considered skydiving an option before my dad surprised me for my birthday. (“Oh, I get to die today. Gee, thanks, Dad.”) 

My heart was beating in my ears, and all of the sudden I had forgotten everything I had just learned in the 30-minute training session. Then, we jumped. 

The first 10 seconds were a half-blacked-out blur of terror, but suddenly, the air caught us and it was just like floating — not scary at all. I stretched my arms out, let out a few whoops and even calmly adjusted my goggles during the minute of free fall before the parachute caught us. 

Some of you might be shaking your heads right now, or thinking, “Only crazy people willingly jump out of planes,” but I encourage you to throw it on your summer “to-do” list anyway. Skydiving is the experience of a lifetime. Being scared isn’t enough of an excuse not to try it, and the experts at Texas Skydiving in Lexington will take care of you.

Texas Skydiving Center
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. until sundown
Location: 1055 PR 7022, Route 696, Lexington, TX 78947

Paintball

Though slightly more intense than the Nerf gun wars we all remember, paintballing is not as painful as many may think. It’s actually a safe and extremely fun activity, as long as you wear the right gear, according to Wade Abraham, president of Xtreme Paintball of Austin. He recommends that everyone try paintballing at least once in his or her lifetime.

      

Players crouch behind barriers at Xtreme Paintball of Austin, peeking out to try to catch the other team unaware. [PHOTO CAPTION: Elizabeth de Regt]

“There’s a kind of rush that you get when you’re paintballing that you haven’t felt since you were a kid,” he said. ”I see people young and old every day just lose themselves and have a blast. They look like they’re on a playground again.”

Abraham also sees paintball as somewhat of a team-building experience.

“You tend to learn a lot about your friends when you’re working together under fire,” he said. “There’s nothing quite like it.”

Low on cash? Doesn’t matter — paintballing is just as affordable as a trip to the movie theater. On Saturdays and Sundays, Xtreme Paintball charges only $15 per person for entry, safety gear, the gun and ammo.

Whether you’re a freshman or just about to graduate, guy or gal, paintballing is worth a try.

Xtreme Paintball of Austin
Hours: 9 a.m. or 1:30 a.m. sessions on Saturday and Sunday, anytime during weekdays with reservation of 10 or more
Location: 7415 Burleson Manor Rd., Manor, TX 78653

Great Big Roller Coasters

In case you were unaware, Texas is a mecca for theme parks and roller coasters. With Six Flags theme parks in every direction, and plenty of lesser-known options to boot, there’s no reason not to get a few screams in this summer. 

The Superman could be the most famous coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, involving a (literally) breathtaking large drop, several loops and a corkscrew; this is not a ride to be taken lightly. 

“It was the first roller coaster I ever tried,” said Hannah Jaeckle, a government junior. “It was so hot and the line was so long, but I just had to do it. It was definitely worth it!” 

If you’re planning on being in the Dallas area at all over the summer, you might try Hurricane Harbor, as well. Erin Ippen, a nutrition junior, has gotten a chance to explore the waterslides there. 

“There’s a slide that’s essentially a free fall. It actually goes straight down,” she said. “Also, the Black Joke Slide goes in and out of pitch darkness. It’s the most extreme water slide I’ve ever seen.”

Six Flags Over Texas
Hours: varies
Location: 2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington, TX 76010

With these suggestions, I have barely scraped the surface of thrillseeking. There are limitless activities out there (no matter where you are) to enrich your summer experience, so leave fear behind and go grab life by the horns!