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March 26th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
For those who have dreamed of flying in a fishbowl or bowling with a ball in one hand a barbecued rib in the other, I think I’ve found what you are looking for. It is Universal CityWalk Hollywood, a 3-block-long pedestrian promenade full of restaurants, theatres, shops, street performers, virtual reality rides, arcade games, neon signs, dancing water fountains, a bowling alley, an indoor skydiving adventure and much more.
A friend and I recently spent the day at CityWalk, where we experienced the thrill of indoor skydiving at iFly Hollywood, bowled a few frames with dinner at Jillian’s, and strolled in and out of numerous fun stores.
Our getaway began Thursday afternoon when we arrived at iFly 40 minutes before our scheduled flight time to prepare for the adventure. The place was easy to find because it was surrounded by scores of curious spectators watching in amazement as average people of all ages were flying atop powerful jets of air inside a large wind tunnel.
The fishbowl-like tunnel is made of clear plexiglass so everybody can get a good look at the action and take pictures.
To get ready for the flight, we watched a short film and learned from our instructor about the different body positions and hand signals used inside the tunnel. We learned that the key to a good, level flight is watching your instructor, following his hand signals, and keeping your chin up, your arms out in front of you and your legs slightly bent.
After the orientation, we put on a jumpsuit, helmet, earplugs and goggles, and then made our way to the vertical wind tunnel. Our group was made up of first-timers, ranging from little kids to older adults.
At the tunnel we took a seat and then one by one entered through an open door, where our instructor guided us in. When it was my turn, I folded my arms and fell forward at which point the multiple fan-powered wind instantly lifted me. With the instructor’s guiding hand steadying me, I got into flying position and experienced the unforgettable magic of body flight.
I “flew” twice, with each experience lasting about one minute, which is about how long the freefall lasts during actual skydiving. If you want the fun of skydiving without the terror of jumping from a plane, I recommend iFly.
After our flights, we browsed around Citywalk for about an hour and then headed to Jillian’s, a two-story restaurant with a bar, arcade games, pool tables and bowling alley. We began our visit downstairs at the open-air bar, where we enjoyed cold beer while watching crowds of Citywalk visitors pass by. We then headed upstairs for bowling and dinner at Jullian’s hip, retro bowling alley. With beer, barbecued ribs, shrimp and steak by our side, we bowled on bright neon lanes topped by giant screen TV’s.
By Greg Aragon