Sunday, June 28, 2009

Zoom Air

The Central Florida Zoo recently opened a unique attraction: Zoom Air Adventures, a ropes/obstacle course, consisting of various climbs to platforms in trees, zip lines, and obstacles called "games" to cross from one platform to another.

There are three courses available for adults: Upland I, Upland II, and Rainforest, in increasing difficulty. In addition, there is a course for kids, set much lower to the ground. All the courses wind around the parking lot and entry area, so people visiting the zoo for a picnic can watch the people on the course.

A few weeks ago, Mai, Charles, Amy, and I went to try it out. We ran into some scheduling problems and only could do Upland I and II, and unfortunately Charles had to leave early, but we had a really fun time. So today Amy and I went back to try the Rainforest course. The way they have the levels setup, we had to redo Upland I and II - I suspect it was for observation purposes, the course monitors wanted to make sure you knew what you were doing.

The basic premise is red wire runs along the course, and you move forward by clipping/unclipping one of two carabiners to this red line. The carabiners are attached to the climbing harness you wear. For climbing a vertical ladder, there were red loops at every step, and you moved up slowly keeping one clip in at a time. Also running along the course is a heavy silver wire, which is typically there to support the various obstacles, or sometimes it is the only thing you have to use for crossing, tightrope style! For the zip line, we had an roller attachment to clip to the silver wire.

The monitors impose a limit of two people at a platform (build around a tree), and one on a "game" (i.e. obstacle), at a time.

Zoom Air Ladder
Originally uploaded by klbarrus
Introductory obstacle.

This is the first "game" right after the introductory ladder climb. It isn't long but each step is shaky and you find out pretty quick how much you have to work to move forward! The red wire is visible, as is the starting platform on the left (labeled with a big green 1), and the next platform on the right.

Zoom Air Bridge
Originally uploaded by klbarrus
Amy checking her carabiner midway across the obstacle bridge.

The obstacles vary from wooden planks, netting, wooden tunnel, to nothing but the silver wire. Sometimes I would use the red wire for balance. I found the ones with suspended wooden steps to be really tricky, because the step would swing back and forth. Progress is steady if slow sometimes. The zip line segments were really fun too, a nice break from a tricky crossing. The courses are progressively longer, so by doing all three we were out there a good 2 or 2.5 hours. I really had a great time and might go again once Mai and Charles return from their trip!

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