Friday, February 4, 2011

Daytripping: Crazy rides, concerts, winter rafting and the Super Bowl

Riders throw caution to the wind

Images of what the ride will look like courtesy of Cedar Point.
Despite the snow, cold temperatures and windy conditions, the underground foundation for Cedar Point's newest ride is in the works.

The Wind Seeker as the swing ride has been dubbed -- extends 301-feet into the air - so naturally it's going to need a heavy-duty anchor.

Officials said more than 1,600 tons of concrete, measuring 60 feet by 60-feet wide and 6-feet deep were poured to build the foundation, along with more than 36 tons of steel rebar and 176 steel anchor bolts. A second pour of concrete totaling 14.2 cubic yards will top it off. Once completed, the total weight of the foundation will be more than 3.3 million pounds or 1,650-plus tons of concrete and steel.

Feel a little better about strapping your fanny to a swing about 30 stories up? Seated in two-passenger swings with their feet dangling in the air, riders will be treated to breathtaking views of the park, Lake Erie and the shoreline, as they fly around the sky-high maypole with a $5 million price tag.

Hang on to your hat and mark the calendar. Only 100 more days until Cedar Point opens for the summer. That should make some of you feel better about the winter we've been having.

In the meantime, here are a few other events and destination ideas, besides the nearest Super Bowl party, to consider:

Learn how to raise orchids
One of several in-store gardening workshops being offered by English Gardens will feature everything you need to know about orchids. Believe it or not orchids are actually a long-lasting and relatively easy plant to grow. Orchid experts will provide participants with a basic overview of the best varieties to grow (the hardiest) and tips for year-round care.
Other workshops going on in February include: an orchid basket make it and take it workshop; orchid re-potting; starting seeds indoors; spring bouquets and arranging fresh flowers. For further details visit English Gardens

Take a ride down the river
Who says you cannot go rafting in the winter? It must have been someone from a warm-weather state, because in this part of the country residents have learned to get along with winter.

A fine example is Big Bear Adventures, which has offered family-friendly rafting down the lazy-river-trips, for a decade.

No, I did not say luging down an icy river. The Sturgeon River, unlike many others in the state never freezes. It's an ideal location and because not many people know about it, a lot more peaceful than your usual summer outings. 

If you want to see wildlife such as deer, mink, beavers, eagles and wild turkey, this is the way to do it. Winter's palette makes it easy to spot such creatures too.

The rafts are big enough for a family of six. Depending on the size of the group, cost is usually $34 per person. The 1 1/2 hour trip features an experienced rafter, who shares river lore and does most of the hard paddling. For further information visit Big Bear Adventures

Show for all ages
Pontiac’s The Crofoot presents “Dancing with the Stars” celebrity Mark Ballas, along with special guest Alyssa Simmons. While audiences have seen his moves on the dance floor, as the energetic partner for Kristi Yamaguchi, not many know of his musical talents. 

“It’s obvious he’s an insane dancer but he’s also an incredible singer/songwriter/performer,” said Simmons, who met Ballas while in Los Angeles, for a recording session.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 at the door. For more information visit The Crofoot Event Schedule

Celebrate Black History Month at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
There are numerous events going on throughout the month including a film series, art workshop, music, poetry, African drumming and dancing and a film festival event featuring shorts written and produced by area teens. 

See a special screening of Chris Rock's film, "Good Hair."
Founded in 1965 and located in Detroit's Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. 

Hours: open (every day during Black History Month) Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m. Admission: $8 adults (age 13-up); $5 seniors and children (age 3-12); free for members and children under the age of 3. For a full schedule of events, visit The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Looking for a Super Bowl Party?

Check out Mitch Hotts' column in ET, “Where to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday.”

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