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Smash Rooms, ax throwing and dodgeball: Ways to blow off steam in Tampa Bay

[Courtesy of Axe Throwing Tampa]
Published Aug. 8, 2018

Looking for ways to blow off some steam in the Tampa Bay area? Here are five options for releasing some aggression.

If you've ever felt like breaking something, there's now there's a place to do it without the mess, regret or scared pets. Smash Room Lakeland opened over the weekend, and according to its Tampa-based owners, will be followed this fall by the opening of Smash Room Tampa near the University of South Florida. It's part of a trend in "rage rooms" or "anger rooms" where people show up to smash computers, wreck furniture or take the head off a mannequin with a sledgehammer. Both Smash Rooms will provide crowbars, bats and other tools to demolish dishes, electronics and "many, many, more breakable items." They'll even let you bring along your own items to smash in case you're ready to get rid of your old TV or dinnerware. Reservations are required.

Smash Room Lakeland, 2120 E Edgewood Drive, Lakeland, opening in the fall at 14311 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa, sessions start at $30, (813) 368-0808, smashroomoftampa.com.

>MORE INFO: Smash Rooms opening in Lakeland and Tampa for when you want to smash something>

The Tampa Bay area is now home to at least three places where you can overhand hurl an ax end-over-end into a wooden target. It's billed as a great date night, corporate team-building or bachelor/bachelorette party activity. Tampa Axe Throwing in Town 'N' Country opened first, followed by Raider Axe Lodge near Tampa International Airport. In St. Petersburg, there's now an ax throwing range called Axe & Ale at Ferg's Sports Bar near Tropicana Field. All three have someone on hand to instruct you how to throw safely and accurately, (though you'll still have to sign a waver). Raider Axe Lodge recently added spear-throwing as an option as well. Prices vary, and advance reservations are recommended.

Raider Axe Lodge, 5012 N Coolidge Road, Suite D, Tampa, (813) 606-8343, raideraxelodge.com; Axe Throwing Tampa, 5811 Memorial Highway, Tampa, 1-813-333-2935, axethrowingtampa.com; Axe & Ale at Ferg's,1320 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, (727) 742-8487, stpeteaxeandale.com.

If you're more interested in throwing things at a moving target, you can channel your inner seventh grader — and bring along your actual seventh grader — to play dodgeball at a local trampoline arena. Sky Zone has dedicated dodgeball courts and provides a court monitor to referee games. They rotate groups of dodgeball players based on age and size, but if you show up with enough friends to form your own teams, they'll put your whole group together. If you don't want to wait in line, you can rent out a court for a block of time. They also host tournaments geared toward adults about once a month. Watch their Facebook pages at facebook.com/SkyZoneTampa/ and facebook.com/skyzoneclearwater for tournament announcements. Altitude Tampa offers a very similar setup, and runs an occasional dodgeball league. Their summer league is winding down, but they plan to start the next one in September (they'll announce details at altitudetampa.com). Prices vary widely depending on season, day of the week and specials, but you'll usually pay by the hour.

Sky Zone Tampa, 10137 E Adamo Drive, Suite 800b, Tampa, (813) 833-1740; Sky Zone Clearwater, 13000 66th St. N, Largo, (727) 900-5867, skyzone.com; Altitude Tampa, 4340 W Hillsborough Ave., Suite 350, Tampa, (813) 399-1529, altitudetampa.com.

There are many, many gyms across Tampa Bay that use boxing, kickboxing or another form of martial arts to get you in shape, and they pretty much all incorporate punching or kicking a heavy bag and throwing shots at those pads the trainers wear on their hands. Punch Boxing for Fitness has locations in Wesley Chapel and Tampa and offers several classes daily. In addition to letting out some frustration, they boast that you can burn 1,000 calories per class. 9Round, which has seven gyms in Tampa Bay, offers a nine-part, guided circuit training workout, and five of those rounds incorporate kickboxing with a speedbag, heavy bag and a trainer. The nice thing is there are no scheduled classes, you just show up and jump in when a new circuit starts every three minutes.

Punch Boxing for Fitness (memberships start at $59), 4913 W Waters Ave.,, Tampa, (813) 304-2299, punchboxingforfitness.com; 411 W Grand Central Ave., Tampa, (813) 769-9308, punchboxingsouthtampa.com; 1704 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Wesley Chapel, (813) 501-4932, punchboxingwesleychapel.com. 9Round, memberships start at $59, multiple locations in Tampa Bay, 9round.com.

Solara-Tec is Tampa Bay's only business completely dedicated to virtual reality gaming. Remember Terminator 2, when Arnold Schwarzenegger used that crazy gun with the spinning barrels to shoot out the side of a skyscraper? That was a minigun, and Solara-Tec has a real-life, full-size minigun controller, complete with a battery-powered spinning barrel, that you can strap on and virtually live out your cyborg action movie dreams. They have an Omni Virtuix, Tampa's only "fully immersive" virtual reality setup (meaning that when you walk on the special treadmill at Solara-Tec, you walk in the game) and two of the acclaimed HTV Vive VR stations, on which you can play shooting games like Space Pirate (shoot space scalawags), Doom VFR (shoot demon invaders) and Arizona Sunshine (shoot zombies in the desert). They also have some multiplayer games so you can play against friends, and other weapon choices.

Solara-Tec, $35 for two hours solo, or $30 each for two people. 4838 N Armenia Ave., Tampa. (813) 515-6177. solara-tec.com.

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