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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Zipping Along

My son and I are planning on doing a zip line this coming summer during our motorcycle trip to the Smoky Mountains.  We have discussed it and some of the other guys going on the trip will join us for the zip line.  Well my son and I were surprised when my mother-in-law gave us and her other son-in-law passes to the Zoomair Adventure Park at the Central Florida Zoo at Christmas.  We had flown out to Orlando for the holidays but, we had never discussed our plans about the zip line with her.  She saw an advertisement for Zoomair and thought of us.
 Photograph from http://www.orlandotourism.us/tag/orlando/ - I deleted the one my son took.
The day after Christmas was unseasonable cool and it was raining.  We wanted to go since Bo would have to head home the next day.  By afternoon the rain had left but, it was still cold.  We called Zoomair and they were open and operating so we head to the zoo.
The three of us ready to go.
The Central Florida Zoo is north of Orlando in the city of Sanford. It is a nice zoo that we had visited in the past (before Zoomair joined them). The zoo sets in a forest and has a great “natural surroundings” for the animals.

When we arrived we were directed to the equipment house where we received an enthusiastic welcome. After being fitted with a harness and gloves our "guide" proceeded to instruct us and educate us on proper technique and safety procedures. After we passed the zip line "test" we were taken to the starting point and then released on the self-guided zip line tour.
My son on one of the early bridges
The first "games", obstacles, or air bridges (whatever you want to call them) were not too hard or very long. We moved from tree to tree at about eight to ten feet above the ground. The first zip was only about 45 feet long and started at a height of about 12 feet and went to the ground. As we continued the obstacles became more challenging and the zips were longer and from greater heights and ended at above ground tree platforms.
 Tightrope with two hand cables 
Slow going on the tightrope
Each bridge was different.  It might have fewer planks, looser ropes, step farther apart...  Each provided its own challenge and flair.
Glad he is had that red security cable
Over, up, and back over
Tree to tree zip
Across the road and fountain - 512 feet of fun!
The highlight came in the last 1/3 of the course with the 512 foot zip that started around 50 feet above the ground. Wind gusts were common that day and a big gust came when I was at the top of the tree trying to hook up to the zip line. The tree swayed, it was pretty wild! Once hooked up I shoved off. It was great. The other two followed.

Bo coming across the long zip
The second to the last zip is a 300+ zip that was about 25 feet above the ground. There were a total of 9 zips and over 40 obstacles/air bridges. We spent about 2.5 hours on the course. It was well worth facing the colder temperatures, especially since after a little while you get warmed up from all the activity.
If you get the chance I suggest you try a zip line and if you are in Central Florida check out Zoomair Adventure Park.

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