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6 ways to take sports outside the box, from indoor surfing to bowling at Ferg's

Inspired by Stadiumlinks converting Raymond James Stadium into a golf course for a weekend, we've rounded up even more ways to mix things up.

Here are six other sporty things to do in the Tampa Bay area, happening outside their usual environments.

Bowl inside a huge sports bar

The new bowling lanes at Ferg's in St. Petersburg are $5 per game.

Looking for some light physical activity that will keep you within eye range of TV sets and arms reach from a beer or a burger? Ferg's Sports Bar in St. Petersburg recently debuted its "small ball bowling lanes" inside the sprawling bar and restaurant a stone's throw from Tropicana Field. They're narrower lanes, with a ball you can hold in the palm of your hand, which means it's fun if you enjoy bowling or pretending you're a giant. If you're across the bay and want to try something similar, Ducky's in Tampa, co-owned by Rays player Evan Longoria, has offered duckpin bowling for a few years now.

$5 per person, per game. There are three lanes, each of which can accommodate 10 players. 1320 Central Ave. (727) 822-4562.


Surf inside of a retail store

The FlowRider machine at Surf Style in Clearwater Beach.

You can definitely kill some time wandering around the 50,000-square-foot Surf Style megastore in Clearwater Beach perusing the beach apparel, skate gear and other stuff (candy), but the most unique part of the beachwear chain's flagship location is the FlowRider artificial surf machine. You might remember it from the now-defunct Adrenalina store at International Plaza in Tampa, where it once lived. The water flows uphill at 30 miles per hour as visitors ride a specialized "flowboard" or body board and try to keep their balance, lest they get a firehose blast of water to the face. Tip: it's not really as hard as it looks — people are generally up and riding the board within 10 minutes.

$30 for a 30-minute session, or $45 for an hour. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. 311 S Gulfview Blvd. (888) 787-3789.


Go cycling at a bar, on a boat

Kracken Cycleboats are pedal-powered boats where you can bring your own drinks.

"It's a boat, it's a bike, it's a BYOB bar," is how Kraken Cycleboats describes its pedal-powered vessels. The boats feature 10 pedal stations at the center bar under a shaded canopy. Kraken provides the ice, coolers and souvenir cups. Passengers bring the beverages, adult or otherwise, to enjoy during a two-hour tour, with a midway break for bathrooms, food and more beverages. The "paddle pubs" explore local waterways launching from Tampa and Gulfport. Reserve by the seat, or book the entire boat for a special event.

Cruises start at $35 per person, with weekly specials and discounts for military, first responders, students and teachers. The tours are 21-and-up. Boats leave from the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin Street in Tampa, and Gulfport Municipal Marina at 4630 29th Ave S, in Gulfport. (813) 603-3117.

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Skydive without going outside

The wind tunnel at iFLY Tampa lets visitors float on a cushion of air.

"Skydiving" indoors at iFLY Tampa is more about experiencing the flying feeling of skydiving as opposed to the actual falling part. Their Tampa facility on the edge of Brandon opened next door to Topgolf in 2016 and features a 60-foot-tall vertical wind tunnel that generates enough force to lift people off the ground and keep them there on a cushion of air. Experienced skydivers, who use these type of tunnels to practice, say the feeling of the wind rushing past your body is nearly indistinguishable from the feeling during an actual free fall. Times reporter Chris O'Donnell called it "a great adrenaline rush" with a "giddy sense of weightlessness" — once his cheeks stopped flapping.

Packages start at $59.95 for two, one-minute flights, and include classroom instruction plus a jumpsuit, helmet and goggles. 10654 Palm River Rd, Tampa. (813) 773-4359.


Rock climb in flat Florida

Vertical Ventures provides instruction for beginners at its gyms in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Florida is not known for its excellent rock climbing, but Vertical Ventures rock climbing gym has been compensating for Tampa Bay's lack of natural rock walls in Tampa's Town 'N Country area since 1996. They opened a second location in St. Petersburg in 2015. Both offer thousands of square feet of man-made rock walls up to 40 feet tall, with color-coded climbing routes for skill levels from first-timer to expert. There are four varieties of climbing, from "bouldering," in which you're solo and don't wear a harness, to top rope climbing, where two people work together, and harnesses and ropes are involved.

The $25 introductory class includes 30 minutes of instruction, all gear and two weeks of membership. $10 Quick Climb option is for people who want to sample climbing for an hour. And there's no minimum age to climb, so kids can go too. 5402 Pioneer Park Blvd., Tampa. (813) 884-7625. And 116 18th St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 304-6290.


Play dodgeball on a trampoline

Vertical Ventures has gyms in St. Petersburg and Tampa.

If dodgeball day was always your favorite day in gym class, you can relive the glory days of seventh grade, or introduce your kids to the aggression-relieving sport with a visit to an Airheads Trampoline Arena. They offer dodgeball, with a referee who knows the rules in case you've forgotten, whenever there's enough people to get teams together. Adults and kids are welcome to bounce on thousands of square feet of springy surfaces — even the walls. $14.99 for an hour, or $21.99 for an unlimited session, though they regularly offer daily deals. 5072 W Linebaugh Ave, Tampa, (813) 769-9134, 12401 Belcher Rd, Largo. (727) 240-2933.

6 ways to take sports outside the box, from indoor surfing to bowling at Ferg's 05/30/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:41am]
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