Add Drive a Tank to the list of offbeat adventures for travelers. Drive a Tank is one of only a handful of venues in the United States where civilians can spend a day learning how to drive military vehicles. During the Drive a Tank adventure, you'll start the day by operating an FV433 Abbott with an open hatch. Once you've had some time to soak up that experience, you'll then move on to steering a FV432 Armored Personnel Carrier, which requires the driver to peer through a periscope in order to see where he or she is going. And if you're lucky, you may even get to shoot blank shells from a tank's cannon as well.
A Day at Drive a Tank
The day starts with a general briefing where you learn about the various armored vehicles, which have been brought here from the U.K. The experience continues by showing participants how those vehicles are maintained and stored as part of the company's Motor Pool. Then, you'll catch a ride out to the field command HQ in a classic military transport, for a briefing from a highly knowledgeable and qualified instructor about how to handle tank controls and operate the vehicle itself. Finally, you'll get to drive the first tank around a designated course while looking through the open hatch. It is up to you to decide if you want to graduate on to the second tank, which gives drivers the option of keeping the hatch open or using the periscope instead.
An instructor is with you inside the armored vehicles at all times, and dual control systems have been installed which allow him or her to take over at a moment's notice. There is even an onboard "kill switch" that the instructor can hit during emergency situations to shut the tank down completely.
After driving the tanks, everyone gathers at an indoor firing range to learn about Drive a Tank's stash of historic firearms. Following a firearms safety demonstration, as well as a small arms familiarization and usage course, participants have the opportunity to shoot these historic military weapons in a controlled environment as well.
Want to Crush a Car at Drive a Tank?
If you truly want to blow off some steam, Drive a Tank has you covered. It costs a lot extra – prices start at $549 – but it is possible to arrange to climb into one of the tanks and crush an old car. Before you flatten the automobile, you'll be given a special training session that goes over "basic car crushing tips" and the required safety guidelines. An instructor stays in the tank with you during the entire adventure ensuring everything goes as planned.
How About a House Instead?
If crushing a car still doesn't fulfill your thirst for ultimate carnage, perhaps driving a tank through a house is a better option. The experience will set you back $3495, but you'll actually get to completely demolish a mobile home, inside and out. The company's website says that it is the only place in the world where visitors can plow through a mobile home in a tank, and we're inclined to believe them.
Want to Buy a Miliary Vehicle?
Perhaps you don't just want to take one of these tanks for a spin, but would like to own a military vehicle of your very own. The Drive a Tank website has a section dedicated to trucks and other vehicles that are for sale, just in case you want the ultimate souvenir to take home from your experience.
How to Book Drive a Tank
Drive a Tank schedules events every other weekend from March through November. Call and ask about event days in the winter as they can often be scheduled as well. You can also book the adventure at other times, but there must be a minimum of three packages sold before they will fire up the tanks. Groups can book private days for corporate gatherings, birthdays and other special events too.
More Extreme Adventures
If you enjoy oddball experiences during an adventure travel vacation, check out these experiences.
- Drive a bulldozer and build a road, or move massive rocks with an excavator, right in the middle of Las Vegas at Dig This
- Tour Beijing in a vintage sidecar