If you’ve not been to the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens lately, it’s time to visit again and see all the new exhibits the Orlando attraction has to offer. If you’ve never been, check it out, you won’t be disappointed. Although small compared to other zoological parks, it is first-class with comfortable exhibit areas for the animals, and plenty of things to do and see. Jack Hanna, the world-famous zoologist and television personality started his career there when it was still called the Sanford Zoo.
One of the newest attractions is ZOOm Air Adventure, which offers an exciting array of thrill options for all ages from kids to adults. In fact, there’s an 80-year old man who uses it as his personal workout course. He goes two or three times per week and can finish the circuit in less time than some of the staff. I believe his name is Tarzan.
There are several courses to choose from depending on age, physical ability, issues with heights and level of daring. Adrenaline junkies can go the max and experience the entire course, which can take up to three hours to complete. The different sections are well thought out and designed to build self-confidence and experience. The higher courses require a variety of skills that challenge balance, depth perception and sure footedness. Safety is paramount and spotters are on the ground constantly observing guests to make sure they are following procedures, and adding words of encouragement if needed.
After buying wrist bands at the admission booth, guests are asked to proceed to the building where harnesses and gloves are given out. Because junior adventurers stay closer to the ground, their safety briefing is not as intense as those going further up in the trees. Anyone planning on a higher altitude experience must participate in a safety orientation, and some hands-on instruction close to the ground.
Once the safety briefing is complete, it’s time to head to the course. There are four tree-top courses for adventurers to choose from: Upland 1, Upland 2, Rainforest 1 and Rainforest 2. We began with Upland 1 and progressed through the courses with each becoming progressively more challenging. Kids have two course options, which are based on height and/or age.
The Uplands 1 course begins close to the harness house, and gives guests a chance to progressively build their skills and confidence. There are a variety of course challenges including walking on large swinging poles, transversing single-strand cables and a variety of other obstacles, which test balance and coordination. All are suspended from the intricate web of cables throughout the course that ties it all together. Tree Top Concepts is the creator and builder of the high-wire trail, and have done a masterful job of blending the platforms, cables and other features into the trees. Most importantly, no trees were harmed in the process of creating any of the courses.
The attraction is a great outing for individuals, couples, friends and families. Include a visit to the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, and you’ll have more fun than monkeys at a banana plantation. In addition, ZOOm Air Adventures is a great place to have birthday parties and participate in corporate or organizational team building initiatives. And don’t forget that ZOOm Air makes a great gift for the person who has everything. For those with a nocturnal adventuresome spirit, the course is also open at night. For information about this and other pricing options including groups, go to the Fees and Hours page on ZOOm’s web site.
A few things to remember …
ZOOm Air Adventure is a great place to begin your thrill-seeking career or continue your current one. And whether you go only once or buy an annual pass, you’ll be telling friends and family about it for many moons. Once you are hooked, can bungee jumping be far behind?
|Mike Cooney, Cooney World Adventures – In 2008, Mike and his wife Catrell decided to sell virtually everything they owned to take their three teenage sons on an around the world trek. Their year long odyssey included six continents, 22 countries and more than 61,000 miles. They have traveled to nearly 50 countries, and now own and operate a full-service travel agency. They use their first hand travel knowledge to help others experience exciting adventures too. Contact Mike and Catrell at www.cooneyworldadventures.com or call 407.477.5833.|
Originally Published on January 28th, 2012