Saturday, August 13, 2016

Zip Lines and Adventure Parks

In my lifetime I've seen a lot of change.  When I was young, certain things did not exist.  We did have roller coasters, but nothing like the crazy thrill rides that we see today.  A water slide was a slide by the side of the pool in most cases.  I remember going to parks where they had a water slide.  Just one.  That was all you needed.  Alpine slides were our big invention.

Now, everyone seems to be seeking a thrill and the aerial adventure parks are more popular than ever.  I remember when you had to drive for hours to find one.  Now, it seems like they're everywhere I go.  The first aerial adventure park that I remember in my area was Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Mass.  In the winter, a ski resort; this is the MO of the adventure park.  They were partially born out of the concept of finding some way to use the ski resort in the summer time.

What is the history of the adventure park?  Interestingly, no one seems to know.  Several theories exist.  Some say that it comes from the popularity of mountain climbing and rappelling.  Makes sense.  Some say that it all started with zip lines, and that they came from the rudimentary cables used to cross ravines and such in central and south America.  Could be.  I actually heard that the popularity of the zip line first gained popularity after the movie "Medicine Man" with Sean Connery came out.  It is true that zip lines and tree bridges have been used for a long time as a means to investigate the rain forest.  But, what's the big deal?

People seem to want to have a thrill more and more.  Why do we suppose that is?  Psychologists would tell you that hard working people who aren't that fond of their jobs seek fun.  They want a thrill.  It's believed that many of us need a thrill.  Our lives are mundane and we want something to make us feel alive.  We want to feel like we did something spectacular.  Climbing through the trees and flying around on zip lines seems to be just the ticket.

Lately, no matter where they started, these parks have been cropping up all over.  They have them everywhere in Connecticut.  They have them in Stafford close to the speedway in Stafford Springs.  In New Britain, they have them in the park.  In Storrs, they have it in the woods to give the college kids something to do.  In Bridgeport they have them in the park connected to the Discovery Museum.  In Portland, they're all around the quarry that you swim in.  In New Haven, they have them indoors.

The phenomenon is world wide.  It is said that the popularity of the adventure park is the biggest in Europe.  That may be true, but here in the US, they are cropping up everywhere.  They come in varying levels of difficulty, and they can keep us in the trees for hours.  It depends on what you're looking for whether or not you choose to do the adventure course, or you just choose to zip line.

But it looks like the thrill is here to stay.  Here in Connecticut we have courses by our biggest university, next to our military base, in our biggest cities, and even in our furniture stores.  We have them over water and in the woods.  We have them everywhere.  It's a great way to use a ski resort in the summer, but it's something extremely versatile.  People love to be in the air, I guess.

However you look at it, one of the big changes in how we spend our leisure time has changed since I was a kid.  With the never ending challenge of more and more thrills, we've come to the point where our choice is to climb and fly through the tree tops.  Is it a wise choice?   I think so.  With the availability of video games and other such things that some people are blaming for the obesity plague in this country; it's nice to see that there is something that people want to go out and get up and do.

No matter whether the Mayans came up with it, or if it was Sean Connery who made it popular; zip lining and aerial adventures rock.  So, if you're traveling this summer, and you've never tried one of these parks or a zip line; check ahead.  See if there's one in the area of your vacation.  It will be a great addition to your vacation.  Do you  need a thrill?  They're everywhere these days.  Try an adventure park.  Enjoy!!about/cjg9

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