Jimmy Fal­lon

JUST WANTS TO HAVE FUN

Albuquerque Journal - Parade - - Front Page - By Kristin Luna Cover and open­ing pho­tog­ra­phy by Mary Ellen Matthews

Rid­ing for Thrills

We’ve been amused by amuse­ment parks since the first one opened in Con­necti­cut in the mid-1800s. But, oh, how they’ve changed. The “thrill” of the first 360-de­gree loop­ing roller coaster, which de­buted in 1976, now pales in com­par­i­son to im­mer­sive 3-D sim­u­la­tor rides like Race Through New York Star­ring Jimmy Fal­lon, which seats more than 70 peo­ple at a time in a “fly­ing theater.” “We’re al­ways try­ing to marry tech­nol­ogy to a story that gives us the abil­ity to take peo­ple on an ad­ven­ture like they’ve never been able to ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Mark Wood­bury, pres­i­dent of Uni­ver­sal Cre­ative and vice chair­man of Uni­ver­sal Parks & Re­sorts. “Peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions have be­come much more com­plex and we’ve had to evolve.” The Vir­ginia-based In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Amuse­ment Parks and At­trac­tions es­ti­mates that 385.2 mil­lion peo­ple vis­ited parks in 2016 alone, gen­er­at­ing a whop­ping $20.7 bil­lion in rev­enue.

Kick­ing Up Our Heels

If you were in­spired by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone tap­ping their way through La La Land or Rory Gil­more stress tap­ping on the Gil­more Girls re­boot, you’re not alone. “I can­not say that didn’t in­flu­ence me,” says Charlsie Niemiec, 29, of Great Bar­ring­ton, Mass. “Tak­ing dance as a lit­tle girl was some­thing that al­ways brought me joy, so I signed up for tap. I feel like I’m re­con­nect­ing to my 5-year-old self.”

Em­brac­ing Vi­ta­min N

Turn your frown up­side down! Stud­ies have long linked be­ing out in na­ture to an im­prove­ment in mood, and a lit­tle eco-ther­apy goes a long way in low­er­ing

blood pres­sure and coun­ter­act­ing dig­i­tal over­load. To­day’s na­ture lovers aren’t just hik­ing. The most pop­u­lar out­door sports in­clude stand-up pad­dling (SUP), kayak­ing, BMX bik­ing and surf­ing.

Play­ing Games at Home

Gone are the days when stately Triv­ial Pur­suit was the stan­dard recipe for fam­ily fun; highly in­ter­ac­tive, widely so­cial games now dom­i­nate the mar­ket. “Peo­ple are pas­sion­ate about play­ing games. There are more than 2.1 bil­lion gamers in the world,” says Jonathan Berkowitz, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing for Has­bro Gam­ing. “Games bring fam­i­lies and friends of all ages and gen­er­a­tions to­gether for fun and mean­ing­ful in­ter­ac­tion.” Board game sales soared some 20 per­cent in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the con­sumer trend and mar­ket­ing group NPD, thanks in part to such hot prop­er­ties as Has­bro’s Speak Out (where play­ers try to speak var­i­ous phrases while wear­ing a mouth­piece) and Pie Face Show­down (where play­ers com­pete to try to avoid a face full of whipped cream).

Be­ing Surprised at Sup­per

Sup­per clubs, all the rage in the ’40s and ’50s as a way to climb the so­cial lad­der, have seen a resur­gence. “The name orig­i­nally was used to con­jure the feel­ing of ex­clu­siv­ity,” says film­maker Holly De Ruyter, who chron­i­cled Wis­con­sin’s sup­per club move­ment in her doc­u­men­tary Old Fash­ioned. Sup­per clubs now come in many forms—brick-and-mor­tars, pop-ups in one-time lo­ca­tions, even gath­er­ings of strangers in­side a pri­vate home. And while the food might be in­ven­tive and good, it of­ten takes a back­seat to the clubs’ so­cial as­pect. “They bring peo­ple to­gether, creat­ing a place to en­gage and con­nect,” De Ruyter says—some­thing many peo­ple are look­ing for “as tech­nol­ogy has en­abled us to have fewer in­ter­ac­tions with each other.”

Chan­nel­ing Peter Pan

Lovers of AcroYoga and other cir­cus­like arts such as trapeze fly­ing are some­times fit­ness freaks, but thou­sands of am­a­teurs are jump­ing on this trend to chan­nel their in­ner Peter Pan (and pos­si­bly cre­ate their next vi­ral so­cial me­dia post). Other ac­tiv­i­ties that mix fit­ness with fun in­clude chal­lenge com­pe­ti­tions like the vi­brant Color Run 5K (in more than 40 ci­ties across the U.S.) and grimy Tough Mud­der races; both have seen a me­te­oric rise in re­cent years. Th­ese ob­sta­cle­course-driven races burn off last night’s binge, serve as solid team- or fam­ily-build­ing ex­er­cises and are just plain fun.

Head­ing Out for Game Night

Ping-Pong, cos­mic bowl­ing, es­cape games, pub trivia nights—all are en­ter­tain­ment op­tions that in­cor­po­rate an el­e­ment of com­pe­ti­tion. “I love do­ing dif­fer­ent es­cape rooms with friends and co-work­ers, be­cause I’m com­pet­i­tive by na­ture and

I al­ways want to win,” says

El­iz­a­beth Keaney, 35, of

Austin, Texas. “They’re also great ac­tiv­i­ties for a group of vary­ing ages and in­ter­ests, es­pe­cially with older kids.” Top­golf lo­ca­tions— golf-based theme parks with food and drink—have been pop­ping up all over the U.S. They’re a game-night mag­net for golfers and non­golfers in search of a good time.

Re­leas­ing Our In­ner Artist

It’s trendier than ever to be artsy, thanks to the na­tion­wide DIY move­ment that Pin­ter­est spawned. Fran­chises such as Paint Nite have cropped up across the coun­try, mak­ing paint­ing a pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity for birth­day par­ties, bach­e­lorette

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