Truly exciting times for the modern shopper in Shanghai.
Within the new-ish shopping complex The Hub -- the precise address is No.33 Shaohong Lu, about a 10-minute walk from Hongqiao Railway station -- is a venue where you can not only witness some intense skydiving air acrobatics, but you can even try it out for yourselves. We went there before the holidays on a media thing, and despite an unforeseen power outage delay, it was rather exciting.
Your team of high flying acrobats and instructors is called The Aerodium -- really nice people, always smiling, and possessed of infinite patience for neophytes to the skies like us.
Pictured above is Kaspars Rums, one of the flyers from The Aerodium. He set a wind tunnel performance Guinness World Record in 2012 for... really, really good wind tunneling, we suppose. You can check out his amazing skydiving skills at the opening of Disneyland if you manage to get a ticket.
So, let's get into it: All the equipment including suits, glasses, helmets and ear plugs are provided to students, and the instructors are by your side from start to finish. Danger-wise, we're setting this activity at "trampoline" level; there's very little chance of getting hurt, but it's all still exhilarating enough to give you a bit of a rush. It's probably the least extreme among all the X-TREME!! sports.
The amount of time you spend on training is way more than the time you actually "dive", but it's well worth it. All this is valuable information. Pay attention to the instructions and don't look at your phone. Once you get into action, you quickly realize how important those lessons were. Slackers in the classroom are so cruelly exposed.
There's a pretty wide range of people who are eligible to participate. You have to be between 6 and 60 years old, and taller than 1.2 meters. (So pretty big six-year-olds, right.)
In the following month they are operating, The Aerodium will be staging performances of "sky ballet" and "sky skating" on the "Sky Stage" at certain time slots. They're there from 11am to 7pm on weekends, and 12am to 7.20pm on weekdays. The shows are basically every two hours.
Look for this guy. The orange mascot "BADA" will tell you when there's a show coming up.
Tickets to do the skydiving class are between 78rmb and 128rmb, depending on the time slot you book. You can either go to Gewara (notice the text in grey means it's sold out: "卖光了") and pick "morning"(上午场) or "afternoon" (下午场), or buy on-site -- the latter doesn't work for pre-sale. Neither May 7 nor May 20 are available to the public. Maybe they've got some high flying VIPs on for those days.
The organizer told us that each day, they expect to have 15 to 20 groups of participants. Each group has ten people, and after the training, each person can dive for one to two minutes. Also, the time showed on your order is just the entrance time (every day starts at 10am and ends around 9.30pm). The actual time you get to do it depends on how things pan out with their scheduling. You've got to be flexible. Best to make a day or half-day of it. Plus it's in Minhang, which is a bit of a trek.
If you plan to do some shopping at the mall, you can get one skydive ticket for free if you purchased over 288rmb and kept the receipts. These are limited, so you better ask the inquiry desk at L1.
Next to the Sky Stage is a small creative market, selling handmade accessories, plants, and other nick-knacks . In the "Xintiandi" area -- the north part of the shopping complex, they have outdoor theater from 4pm to 9pm on weekends and holidays, 6pm to 8pm on weekdays, no information on what they'll be showing -- probably some family-friendly stuff.
Last thing: You might want to skip the gym the day you try out the skydiving. It's more intense than gymnastics and requires a lot of core strength.
Really worth trying, though. Shanghai definitely needs a dedicated wind tunnel venue. It's really fun. Hopefully, next time it won't be in a shopping mall so far from our reach.
Here's the address of The Hub.