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Save the relaxing for another day: 5 summer adventure destinations in WNY

There’s something to be said for those long, lazy days of summer — luxuriating in the feel of long-craved sunshine on your skin, soaking in the crackle and pop of a backyard fire pit, relaxing the hectic pace of life for a few months.

Sometimes, however, you can’t beat the rush of adrenaline that comes with challenging yourself to take on new adventures. The relaxing can wait for another day — if you’re looking for something more fast-paced this summer, check out these options.

Whirlpool Jet Boats Tour: Head to Lewiston (or Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.) to get up close and personal with the mighty Niagara River on a Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour. There are options to stay dry or get sopping wet, but either way, you’ll be conquering waves, currents and Class V rapids. Also be prepared for awe-inspiring views of the Niagara Gorge and the Niagara Whirlpool.

Holiday Valley Aerial Adventure Park: Did you know that the largest aerial park in New York is just an hour south of Buffalo? Find your inner ninja warrior as you take one of the 13 courses (there’s several options for every skill level). Navigating the ropes, bridges and obstacles as you make your way from platform to platform high in the trees takes equal parts strategy, strength and nerves. Oh yeah, and it’s super fun.

Ziplining at RiverWorks: Ever wanted a birds-eye view and a heart-in-stomach free-fall from the top of one of Buffalo’s famed grain silos? Take on one of Riverworks’ zipline courses, which start off at 110 feet in the air. Save $10 by booking a slot during the week rather than waiting for the weekend, and don’t forget to check out the many other offerings, such as rock climbing, kayaking and an urban high ropes course.

The Holiday Valley Adventure Park has plenty of adventurous outdoor activities. (Photo courtesy Holiday Valley)

Six Flags Darien Lake: A summertime standard in Western New York for a reason. Take on thrill-seeking classics such as the Ride of Steel roller coaster or the reverse bungee-experience of the Slingshot, which launches riders high into the air at 80 mph. New this summer is the Skyscreamer, which resembles classic amusement park swings - if they were on steroids, much faster and several hundred feet higher in the air. At 242 feet tall, this ride boasts being the tallest attraction in New York.

Frontier Skydivers: Looking for the ultimate rush? Splurge on a thrill-seeker’s dream experience: sky diving! Located in Newfane, Frontier Skydivers provide all you need to take on your first tandem jump, complete with a recording of your experience for an additional charge. Be prepared for a 40- to 50-second freefall from the plane at about 120 to 130 mph (gulp), followed by a parachute flight of 6 minutes at about 10 mph. Experienced jumpers also welcome.

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