Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mountain Parks vs. Theme Parks

I'm one of those people who likes to ride rides and do stupid stuff in the name of fun.  I've spent a lot of my life climbing mountains, riding motorcycles, riding mountain bikes, and riding fun things in theme parks.  Back in the 1980's however, I discovered something completely different.

Mountain adventure parks are created in the same locations as ski resorts.  They're different from anything else.  They are seasonal, and they tend to have more dangerous rides than a theme park. Personally, I like that, and so do a lot of people. These parks do really have their perks though.  I can't say enough good about them.

My local mountain adventure park is Jiminy Peak, on the Lanesborough/Hancock city line in northern Massachusetts.  This place is fun.  That's the simplest way to describe it.  They have two parks within the resort.  They have the mountain adventure park with the alpine slides and mountain coaster, along with bungee jumps for the kids and scenic ski lift rides and Segway tours for the older folks in the crowd.  They also have a giant swing that really gives you some butterflies in the stomach.  The other park is the aerial adventure park.  This place lets you climb through the trees on ropes, cables, hanging logs and ladders and such.  It also has zip lines and a zip line ride, just for the fun of it.  This one is for the in good shape crowd, but it's a lot of fun.

Now, the good thing about these rides is that you are always in control.  Alpine slides are speed controlled by the rider.
Mountain coasters are driven by gravity.  You are hauled up by a tow line and then you glide down the mountain and you control the brakes.  The aerial park you choose your course and go at your own speed.
I find that the lines are shorter, in part because the parks are not as heavily advertised as the theme parks are.  The other perk of the mountains parks is that you can leave and come back.  If you want to go down the road and get a burger instead of paying the higher prices at the restaurants in the park, you can do that and return without having to pay to get back in.  All you have to do is keep your bracelet on.  It has that sense of freedom that you don't have in a theme park.

Then there's the best reason for me to choose a mountain park over a theme park.  The view.
As the economy gets more demanding, more of the ski resorts are turning to a summer park to keep things rolling year round.  If you live in an area where there are ski resorts, check out their summer activities and see what's going on.  You'll be glad you did. 
Just look up a resort in your area, and see what they have to offer!

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