PHOTOS: 12 amazing man-made adventures
9:28 AM, Aug 27, 2013
Best rooftop 'hangout'CN Tower, Toronto: Got a head for heights? If so, Canada's CN Towerthe tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphereis a heart-pounding must-see. Opened in August 2011, its 'EdgeWalk' experience allows thrill-seekers to dangle over the edge of a five-foot ledge encircling the tower's roof, 1,168 feet above Toronto's bustling streets.
Best actual freefallBungee Jumping Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado: Hanging 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest bungee jump in the world by more than 300 feet. That allows jumpers plenty of freefall time, not to mention a few long moments to consider your mortality.
Best via ferrataMountain Torq, Borneo, Malaysia: This via ferrata (Italian for 'road with iron') definitely demands some iron from its adventurers, too. Built on the side of Borneo's 13,435-foot Mt. Kinabalu, it's the second highest via ferrata in the world (starting at 12,388 feet).
Best artificial freefallSkyVenture, Nashua, N.H.: No ripcord. No parachute. No airplane? That's right, in the vertical wind tunnel at this New Hampshire 'indoor skydiving' facility, massive turbines blast an updraft of air at more than 150 miles per hour, which is enough to counteract terminal velocity (the max speed of a human body falling belly-downwards) and make you float.
divers, the plankton-munching whale sharkthe world's largest fish (longer than a school bus!)doesn't bite. At the world's largest aquarium, encounters are guaranteed to anyone interested through the Journey with Gentle Giants Immersion program. While the experience isn't exactly wild, this is the only aquarium outside of Asia to have them.
Best climbing wallIce Factor, Glencoe, Scotland: This Scottish compound is the largest indoor ice-climbing facility in the world, providing ice climbers of all levels a controlled environment in which to brush up on their ice-picking technique (it's a precise balance: too much force and you'll crack the ice; too little, and you won't have enough of a hold to climb).
Best indoor bikingRay's MTB Indoor Park, Cleveland: This is the perfect playground for honing bike skills in the off-season. Whether simply improving your balance for tight turns on the road, or opening up the chest, knees and elbows to stick bumpy dirt courses, this cavernous, two-story industrial complex is sure to satisfy.
Best artificial reefU.S.S. Oriskany, Florida: In 2006, the U.S.S. Oriskany came out of retirement 22.5 miles off the coast of Florida. Its new mission: provide barnacles and sea creatures with a murky new home and, in the process, divers of all skill levels with fresh adventure. The aircraft carrier is 911 feet long, and weighs 32,000 tons, making it the largest ship intentionally sunk as an artificial reef.
Best safariOostvaardersplassen, Netherlands: This 22-square-mile nature preserve is an artificial marshland reclaimed from the sea by clever Dutch engineers. A series of dikes protects the area, and grazing species such as red deer, ponies and graylag geese stem overgrowth, keeping the space open for endangered bird species.
Best indoor skiingSki Dubai, Dubai, UAE: With five snow-packed slopes (the longest of which is 400 meters) and the world's first indoor black-diamond run, Ski Dubai defies its sub-tropical environment. The massive facility is 25 stories high, and can accommodate 1,500 guests. It boasts ski, snowboard and toboggan rentals and a 3,000-square-meter snow park that's just for play.
Best wave poolWave Garden, Basque, Spain: Wave Garden uses a revolutionary wing-like sled, which, when towed beneath the water, creates glassy curls, tubes and rolls that build in height and muscle as they accumulate. Unlike other artificial waves, it generates real moving waves instead of standing waves, making it the closest and most versatile imitation of the ocean out there.
Best manmade whitewaterChatahoochee River, Columbus, GA: Imagine throttling down the frothy waters of the Amazon, Congo or Colorado River, only to step off the shore to a sprawling city, plush with all the comforts of home. Okay... maybe this water's not that big, but the longest urban whitewater rafting adventure in the world is no easy undertaking.
We've rounded up 12 of the greatest man-made adventures on the planet, including awe-inspiring (and safe) wildlife encounters, outdoor thrills brought indoors and amazing "natural" features that were deftly built with human hands.