Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012 | 2 a.m.
As summer comes to its traditional close over the three-day Labor Day weekend, it may be time for one last hurrah with some extreme activity you never thought about doing.
What better place to go big than Las Vegas?
The valley is filled with some of the world's biggest, wildest and best attractions and activities.
Here’s a list of some waiting to be tried:
If you have always wanted to play in a sandbox with real earth-movers, the Dig This Heavy Equipment Playground is for you.
For $249, you can operate a bulldozer or excavator. For $449, you can do both.
Check the company’s website for availability in one of three daily sessions.
Sky Combat Ace
Sky Combat Ace lets you fly as a pilot or passenger in an Extra 330LC Waco airplane or as a passenger in an open-cockpit YMF-5C biplane. Swoon as the aircraft performs spins, loops and rolls. With one package, you can engage another aircraft in air-to-air combat.
Prices start at $399, with a variety of packages offered. The operation is based at Henderson Executive Airport.
Prices start at $179 for a tandem jump, and companies operate from different airports. Vegas Extreme and Sin City fly from the Jean airstrip south of Las Vegas while Skydive Las Vegas operates from the Boulder City Airport.
OK, so maybe pole dancing isn’t that extreme. But it may make husbands and boyfriends extremely happy.
Classes at Pole Fitness Studio on Arville Street near the Palms Casino start at $20 a session, and Stripper 101 inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood touts itself as the top pole-dancing class in the world.
There’s nothing quite like zipping down a cable over the desert at up to 60 mph.
Bootleg Canyon Flightlinez offers the experience in Boulder City on a course made up of four ziplines of varying length. With four lines per run, groups can make it through the course in about 2 1/2 hours.
The experience costs $149, but there’s a discount for locals and frequent fliers. The same company offers a shorter run at the Fremont Street Experience, where it’s $15 a ride or $20 after 6 p.m.
When you have the largest reservoir in the United States in your backyard, you take advantage. Several local companies offer boat and personal watercraft rentals at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
One of the most prominent is at the Las Vegas Boat Harbor, which offers speedy Bayliners, Openbow tower boats (which can tow wake boards) and Yamaha Waverunner PWCs. You can rent them for $70 to $95 an hour or for between $450 and $560 for the day.
For those who prefer a slower pace, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and canoes are available from several outlets, including Desert Adventures, for $45 to $70 a day.
The desert landscape surrounding Las Vegas offers a massive playground for off-road tours in jeeps, Hummers and all-terrain vehicles or on dirt bikes. Several vendors provide experiences in Joshua tree forests near the west rim of the Grand Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park and the Nellis Dunes, just north of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Some packages include skydiving into a location and firing a machine gun from the back of a Humvee. Prices range from $89 to $299.
Driving fast cars
The 1.5-mile super speedway at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway gives thrill-seekers a chance to drive or ride in cars that travel up to 170 mph.
Experienced race car drivers have companies that fulfill regular people's need for speed. Among them: the Richard Petty Driving Experience, the Mario Andretti Racing Experience and Exotics Racing Experiences.
Prices range from $199 to $3,000, depending on the car type and length of ride.
Southern Nevada once was home to five roller coasters. Now, there are just three — the Roller Coaster at New York-New York, the Canyon Blaster at Circus Circus’ Adventuredome and the Desperado at Buffalo Bill’s in Primm.
The best is Desperado, once the tallest, fastest coaster in the world. Since its opening in 1994, other coasters have surpassed it in speed and height, but it still has the 10th highest vertical drop at 225 feet. It costs $10 to ride, or you can buy a half-day wristband for $22 or full-day pass for $30.
There’s the classic Big Shot, which propels riders skyward along the top mast of the tower; Insanity, a ride that spins people suspended beneath a mechanical arm 900 feet over Las Vegas Boulevard; and X-Scream, a teeter-totter-like ride that drops passengers over the edge before reeling them back.
The rides cost $15 each, plus $18 admission to the tower. Or you can buy an unlimited ride pass for $34.
The biggest thrill, though, is the SkyJump, an 855-foot freefall that goes for $110.
Yeah, golf really isn’t that extreme of a sport — unless you happen to be playing at Furnace Creek Resort at Death Valley National Park, 140 miles west of Las Vegas, during summer, when the temperature routinely soars above 120 degrees.
It’s the lowest-elevation golf course in the world, which means the ball doesn’t fly as well as at most courses. Golfers can get in almost any day of the week for $40. And you may just have the whole course to yourself. If golf isn't your bag, check out the 15th annual Death Valley Borax Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K in February. High temperatures only hit the 70s that time of year.