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Two of the fastest thrills in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is all about thrills, but gambling can come at a price, and while the shows are dazzling they’re always a passive experience. If you want to take control of your own kicks and ramp up the adrenaline, there are several Sin City experiences that will simultaneously put in you in the driver’s seat – literally – and take you out of your comfort zone.
The need for speed
Experience serious speed with Exotics Racing. The enviable fleet of supercars includes Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis, some of which can reach 200mph. For many, driving a fast, expensive sports car on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is about fulfilling a long held dream, while for others it’s merely a fun day out. Either way, you’ll soon feel the buzz of sheer velocity when the mean machines are brought up to the track for your driving pleasure.
After a briefing explaining all the background details and the layout of the track – which is 1.2 miles long with seven turns – it’s time to get helmeted-up. You’ll first take a ‘discovery lap’ with your instructor before taking the wheel, so you can see where you’ll be accelerating, braking and turning.
Then it’s over to you. Turn on the engine, grip the wheel, look for your braking cues and listen carefully to your instructor’s simple pointers. After a couple of laps, you’ll start to get into the rhythm and speed up, pushing the gas pedal a little bit harder every time you head down that long straight.
Before you know it, your laps will be up and it’ll be time to head back towards the tent where you started. If you don’t want to drive but still want to feel the thrill of the track, you can buddy up with a professional driver for the two-lap Ride-Along package. Exotics Racing driving experiences start from $199 for five laps in a Porsche Cayman GTS – check out the complete list of available cars and prices.
Welcome to the danger zone
If you thought the track had you pumped full of more adrenaline than you’d ever known, nothing can prepare you for an adventure with the Sky Combat Ace team.
SCA deal in extreme thrills of the Top Gun variety. Their Afterburner package will have you strapped in for a spin-filled, loop-loaded aerobatic trip, but most other packages will allow you hands-on-the-joystick kicks. For a half-hour experience you’ll never forget, opt for the Adrenaline Rush – aerobatics and aerial dog fighting, as well as a chance to pilot the plane.
Once you’re in your jumpsuit, parachute on and strapped in, it’s time to take off. You’ll be in the hands of an experienced fighter pilot, and while it’s all a breeze for them, they’re aware that plunging and plummeting inside the tight space of a stunt plane isn’t a daily occurrence for most. Regardless, they won’t hold back. Feel your stomach churn as the plane turns 180 degrees and you suddenly realise you’re looking up at the ground.
As you’d imagine, Sky Combat Ace fighter pilot experiences don’t come cheap, but these are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to fly real high performance planes with real fighter pilots over the Nevada desert. Prices start at $349 for the Operation Recon package which includes a full briefing and an aerobatic thrill ride with a trained instructor pilot.
Zip it and jump
If that all seems a bit too extreme, there’s plenty of slightly less terrifying ways to get a Vegas-style thrill. The SlotZilla Zip Line in downtown Las Vegas is a good place to start. This 12-storey ride at the Fremont Street Experience is inspired by the design of a typical Vegas slot machine.
Nearby, all ages can attempt to defy gravity at Vegas Indoor Skydiving, where a simulated freefall provides the sensation of skydiving without the small matter of having to jump out of a plane.
Alternatively, dial it up a notch and head for the SkyJump at the 108th floor of the Stratosphere Tower. Here, you can jump off the top in a 40mph controlled open-air leap 829 feet above the Strip, and experience similar sensations to a bungee jump. It’s the only attraction of its kind in North America, and the highest such jump in the world.