Seattle Zipline Tours vs Adventure Parks

What is most important to remember is that Adventura is not a ziplining park. It’s an aerial adventure park. We appreciate zip lines and the fun that they create, but that isn’t what attracts so many people to our adventure park.

There actually aren’t any official zip lining parks in Washington State. The closest is in Whistler, Canada. Building a zipline park was not our objective with Adventura. At a zipline park, you spend a lot of time waiting. You’ll spend 30 minutes checking in, 30 minutes gearing up, and maybe more time traveling to the actual zipline system. Once at the first zipline ride, you’ll wait for your turn, then take a thrilling ride for about 30-40 seconds.Upon landing, you’ll travel to the next zipline departure point and do it all over again. The surrounding area can be beautiful, the guides super funny, but at the end of the day, you’ll spend most of your time waiting and a fraction actually riding the ziplines.

With Adventura, we wanted to create a challenging experience where everything you do is active and working toward a goal. Our facility is different, and we’re just fine with that. An aerial adventure park is basically a giant obstacle course. The park and all of its elements are designed to challenge you; there are no free rides here. You work hard, make decisions, and navigate your way through elements on your way to the exit. You have to figure out how to overcome obstacles and you’re going to sweat. You GET to do our version of a zipline, but it is the exit off the course. This means you’ll spend nearly 2 hours exploring the park in order to get to that zipline exit.

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What is a Zipline?

Ziplining, as we know it today, is a heart-pounding adrenaline ride that usually lasts a few seconds. It sends riders moving at about 50-100 mph and it travels over 750 feet, dropping at least 20 feet. The trend of ziplining as an extreme experience started about 15 years ago. By 2012 there were an estimated 200 commercial ziplines in the United States and 13,000 private ones.

Originally, ziplines were used in the 19th century for transporting people, food, and supplies across difficult terrain in Australia and China. A zip line was even referenced in The Invisible Man  by H.G. Wells, published in 1897.

The first commercial zipline built in America was in Maui, Hawaii, in 2002. The goal was to create a new way to view the beauties of the island. The zipline trend hadn’t quite caught on and business wasn’t hopping at the beginning, so employees spent their free work time planting trees.

Statistics on Ziplines

  • Over 70 million people descend on ziplines every year.
  • Between 16-17 million people visited aerial parks in 2016
  • The aerial adventure park high-season in the United States begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor day.
  • During the high seasons internet searches for “zipline” rise by 19.5%

The Most Amazing Ziplines in the World

Toro Verde Adventure Park in Puerto Rico –  Known as the home of the longest zipline in the world, the zipline at Toro Verde is approximately 7,590 long and 1200 feet off the ground. Riders reach speeds of up to 90 MPH.

Icy Strait Point in Alaska –  It’s a ziprider zip line where riders get to sit in a chair to enjoy the thrill. They aren’t required to wear a helmet or safety gear.

Flight of the Gibbon in Thailand – The park boasts 33 platforms with the longest ride lasting 2,600 feet. The day ends with a delicious Thai food dinner.

Arenal Volcano Park in Costa Rica – A tour of what used to be the world’s most active volcano. There are seven ziplines in the park, ranging from 656 feet to 2,500 feet. You get a beautiful view of Costa Rica and local wildlife while you’re there, too.

Haleakala Skyline Tour in Maui, Hawaii – The first commercial zipline in the United States, this tour of the Haleakala National Park lasts for an hour and a half. There are five individual ziplines included as you view the world largest resting volcano.

Zip 2000 in South Africa – This is a thrilling 1.5 mile trip that reaches up to 100 mph. Riders are strapped in between two harnesses and ride while lying flat. It has clocked in speeds up to 114 mph but still boasts a 100% safety record.

Simatai in China – This 40-second zipline is located about three hours outside of Beijing and is an underrated way of enjoying the Great Wall of China. It offers views of Mandarin Duck Lake and a 360-degree view of the Wall.

Ropes Courses and Aerial Parks

Ziplines in their modern incarnation have been around for awhile, but not as long as ropes courses and ropes course gave rise to aerial adventure parks.

Ropes courses have been around since this early 60s. They hit their peak in the 70s and 80s as components of adventure education programs with school systems. There was a trend toward rope courses. In the early stages these courses were traditionally for the purpose of team building. This is why it makes so much sense for Adventura to reach back to the roots of ropes courses and combine outdoor adventures with team building.

From there, aerial parks branched off from the ropes course world and evolved to become more recreational. Folks climbed all over them like giant jungle gyms. They began to reach their potential when massive aerial parks like Adventura started emerging. The popularity is continuing to surge with absolutely no peak in sight. Aerial adventure parks are not a trend. They are going to be around for the long run.

Zip Lining Vs. Canopy Tours

The biggest difference between ziplines and canopy tours is that ziplining is a free fall that isn’t controlled until you get to the end. Canopy tours descend less than eight feet and are controlled. They typically do not exceed 22-25 mph.

Before we moved to our current location in Woodinville, we had a ropes course on Bainbridge Island. It was the height of the craze of ziplining so we included a zipline at that facility. When we built our bigger park on the Old RedHook Brewery property, we decided that wasn’t what we wanted to focus on anymore. Ziplining is a fairly passive experience. We weren’t really excited about that. We much prefer operating an environment where people can work to overcome things, boost their self-esteem, and conquer the unknown.

All that being said, The marketing trend is “zipline” everyone wants to zipline. So it presents a challenge to companies that focus on canopy tours or aerial adventure parks. Canopy tours do not have the same name recognition, so in marketing, the two adventures get bundled together. And yet, there are very technical differences, canopy tours are typically marketed as ziplines, since they all fall under the same umbrella. But Adventura walks a different path. Yes, we have two cable rides. One falls into the canopy tour definition and one falls into the zipline definition, mostly. One regulates speed by design, and the other is a freefall travel rate that is restricted by gravity. Our guests do not exceed 30 MPH on these lines. But that exit… it does give you a good 50 foot elevation change and that feels huge when you’re standing on the deck thinking about what is about to happen.

Why Seattle is Ideal for an Aerial Park

Somehow the beauty of the Seattle area remains a well-kept secret. Most people still associate Seattle with rain, but we actually have the perfect weather for outdoor adventure. Adventura’s aerial park is tucked away in the bucolic Woodinville wine valley where participants climb, balance, jump, swing, and challenge themselves. And they do it all with a unique, aerial view of the beauty that is Woodinville.

Seattle also breeds the perfect participants for an aerial park. We know how to appreciate the outdoors, climbing, and adventure. We can’t imagine a better place to house our adventure park.  

An Aerial Adventure Park is Better than a Zipline Park Because…

A zipline system has less fun involved and more preparation than excitement. It could take 30 minutes to get into your gear, 15 minutes to walk up to the top of the ride, and another 15 minutes to wait, all for just 50 seconds of riding. In a zipline system you do get a thrilling ride, but it involves 35 minutes to an hour of waiting around. The single ride is thrilling and then you experience the same exact thing again. Every zipline you ride is going to feel like the last zipline you rode.

With an aerial adventure course like Adventura, everything is unique and wholly different. It takes work to make it from the beginning to the end of the course. You make choices. You can do a tarzan jump to a hanging rope line and then walk across an elevated railroad. Once you accomplish that you have to make more choices. Do you pick the hanging bridge or the suspended tires? And then all of a sudden you have five options to choose from. Every activity is different. It’s a non-stop range of obstacles. It’s much more engaging than simply riding some ziplines for six minutes at a cost of $100 for the day.

With Adventura, we could continue to add unlimited obstacles to the point where you have to come back many times to experience the whole thing as if it were your first time. Right now there are 32 aerial challenges that take participants two hours to complete. Two of those 32 obstacles are zipline-ish. There is one in the middle and one that takes participants off of the course.

Final Thoughts on Ziplines, Canopy Tours, and Aerial Parks

It’s hard not to enjoy ziplining. They’re a thrilling, unbeatable  experience that typically gives you a stunning view that you might not witness in any other way. You can ride down the sides of mountains and volcanoes, or get a bird’s eye view of tropical rainforests.

However, if you want to challenge and push yourself, all while being active, we recommend an aerial adventure park. We’re so proud of the aerial park we’ve created with Adventura. It combines the thrill-ride-fun of a zipline with the challenge of an obstacle course and the adventure of an aerial experience. When you complete the two-and-a-half-hour course, you’ll feel like you’ve truly accomplished something. It’s a great way to spend time with family, friends, coworkers, and/or a significant other. You can work as a group, or even work your way through the course on your own.

Participants go through safety training for the first thirty minutes to ensure that they are prepared for the challenges of the course. After that they will climb into the clouds to explore, leap, jump, slide, balance, pull, and climb for two hours of sweat and laugher.

Once they’ve completed the course, participants can relax at one of our partnering wineries and enjoy another view of the beautiful Woodinville countryside.

To plan your trip and discover more details about Adventura for yourself, call us today!

2018-07-10T10:38:22+00:00 Blog, Climbing|