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Gifts of Action and Adventure

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Tired of the same old gifts? Who needs another tie, or some tchotchke that just becomes one more thing to dust? How about giving someone a gift certificate to swim with great white sharks? I'll bet that's one gift they will always remember - hopefully for the right reasons.
99 Blue Bananas provides gift packages that arrive at the recipient's door in a tasteful blue folder including a gift card and relevant information for the adventure of your choosing.

Great White Shark Diving will set you back $2,650 for a five day adventure. It is definitely on the generous side, but it's the one I'll be asking for from Santa.

If that's a little rich for your blood, for only $99 you can actually fly a plane over Los Angeles, with a trained pilot there to handle the takeoff and landing (or in case you choke and curl up in a fetal position on the floor of the cockpit). On a mellower scale, there are cooking lessons, tours, and Corvette racing (Sorry, I got a little bit excited again).

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More adventures and videos after the jump!

Universal Studios has just opened IFly, a clear acrylic 30-foot vertical wind tunnel. It simulates skydiving using the same technology used to train military personnel. This gift certificate is virtually a steal at only 39.95. The drill for first-timers involves a short training session, then you enter the wind tunnel with a trained professional who basically holds you the same way dads do when they are teaching you to swim. After you are comfortable, he goes on a few high flights with you while still hanging on tight, so no fear. On future visits, they can teach you cool kung-fu movie moves and you can go in the simulator alone or with friends.

This is a video of the pros showing what is possible. It will take more than one visit to pull off these moves:

One of the best presents I ever received was a gift certificate for a helicopter ride to Catalina. I will never forget that trip, or the friend who gave it to me. Island Expressoffers round-trips to Catalina for $156 plus tax. The ride is mellow, like sitting on a couch, but if you are nice to the pilot, sometimes they will do some swoops for you on the DL. They also offer helicopter tours of the city. I can't guarantee a romantic helicopter tour will get you any action, but it sure seems to work on the girls on The Bachelor.

I took my mom on my trip to Catalina. Here is a video I took of us taking off from Catalina on the return trip home:

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Photo of shark courtesy of 99 Bananas. Video of helicopter over Catalina by Elise Thompson.