September 25, 2010

Be the Adventurous Woman on the Flying Trapeze!

I was one of those kids who often dreamed of flying through the neighborhood with arms outstretched and hair blowing in the wind.  I never thought I could make that dream a reality until I discovered Trapeze School New York.  This past weekend, some members of my Adventure Club and I took to the air at TSNY's Washington, DC location and had the time of our lives!

TSNY offers a choice of indoor or outdoor classes. Our group was split between the two options and found both to be enjoyable.  Our 2-hour beginning trapeze class started with the instructors cinching very snug harnesses around our middles, a 10-minute talk about the basics, and a brief demonstration. Then, it was time to climb.

I clapped and yelled when my friends took their turns on the platform but I'll admit that after chalking my hands and scaling the trembling 29-foot ladder, my enthusiasm started to wane. I had to take a breath and remind myself that I was doing this for FUN.

I stood in the middle of the platform, two ropes clipped to my harness, toes dangling off the edge, leaning out into space (Hips forward! Shoulders back!) and grasped the surprisingly heavy bar with my right hand. My left hand had a firm hold on the platform's support structure. The bar pulled me out, away from the platform so letting go of the support and grabbing the bar with two hands was a real mental effort (thanks for holding onto my harness, Scout). Bending my knees and hopping into the void was downright unnerving.

I was worried that my grip was too weak, and surprised by how physically hard it was to pull my knees up over the bar (it was a piece of cake in 4th grade) and how emotionally difficult it was to release my hands and hang upside down. It helped to have an instructor yelling commands: "KNEES UP! HANDS OFF! ARCH! LOOK AT YOUR HANDS!, HANDS ON THE BAR! KNEES DOWN! LET GO!. ( The delay between ears hearing and body doing did NOT help). What surprised me most was how rattled I felt when I finally dropped to that net and flipped to the ground. My heart was pounding and my head was spinning, BUT, it was!

Flight number two was a little easier, the third was easier still.  Each turn took each of us closer to our ultimate goal for the day -- being caught. Watching all the other fliers, I could see that timing was everything. Waiting for that split second of weightlessness at the top of the swing means you aren't fighting gravity when you try to change positions.  I never managed to get the timing right but at least I learned what I was supposed to do.

At the end of the 2-hour class, we had taken five turns each on the trapeze and all agreed that it was well worth the money and the time it took to get to the school. In fact, most of us signed up to fly again before we walked out the door.

If you want to be the adventurous woman on the flying trapeze, TSNY has schools in DC, New York, Boston and Los Angeles.  The cost is $55 for two hours (plus a $20 one-time registration fee).

If you want to see this flier in action (briefly), click here.

Photo credit: S. Anderson, video credit: G & D Stewart

September 13, 2010

6th Annual Museum Day--Free Admission!

Here's some free fun that's good for you too! September 25 is Smithsonian Magazine's 6th annual Museum Day. Museums all over the country are offering free tickets online. Visit the site to download a ticket good for two admissions (limit one per household).  For a state by state list of museums and a downloadable ticket, click here.