Today was a day of exploration and adventure in the greater Daytona Beach area! DB tends to be a tourist destination for grizzled bikers during Bike Week and Biketoberfest, NASCAR fans year round at the Daytona International Speedway, and older generations of Spring Breakers. Having lived in the area for the last year, I have not explored as much of the local area as I would have liked. With the start of Chapter 2014, let’s the exploration begin! After a hearty lunch at Taco Shack (New Smyrna Beach), we headed up to ZOOMAIR Treetop Adventure Park in Daytona Beach’s Tuscawilla Park for some fresh air via a ropes course with zip lines!
I love it when International Speedway Boulevard is wide open and green lights from I-95 to US-1. Unfortunately, this only happens at the hours when most of the world is asleep. At the intersection of ISB & Nova Drive, is Tuscawilla Park, but more often than not, dreaming about the Krispy Kreme cater-corner to the park, pulled my attention away from it (yet, I never bought the doughnuts.) Having tackled trapeze and standup paddle boarding (SUP) in 2013, I decided zip lining needed to be one of my challenges for 2014.
Growing up in a tiny suburb in upstate New Jersey, we had a modest yard with a distinct lack of trees. Plenty of gorgeous, flowering shrubbery, but nothing with any real potential for a tree house. With Girl Scouts, we did plenty of camping in tents and cabins, but again, no tree houses. Our cousin, Davey, had a bunch of friends our age, and still no tree house. So it is fair to say, I’ve been rather obsessed with Disney’s Swiss Family Treehouse since I was a kid, but unfortunately, the darned thing is overrun with kids having a grand ole time! 😉 I’ve missed the wind in my hair, suspension bridges, and sunshine on my face, so finally digging my heels in and going to an adventure park had me wound up! I kept thinking about Eddie Izzard (“…running, jumping, climbing trees… that’s where it’s at!”) in Dressed to Kill! There were plenty of squirrels, but none were covered in makeup!
After getting our course wrist bands and our harnesses, we attended a brief how-to clinic with the general manager. Shortly thereafter, we started tackling the Lagoon course (level one). Clipping into the first catch line, I felt that same buzz that I had when I first went to trapeze with my sister. Instead of flying today, I was playing in a treetop jungle gym! I guess that makes me a flying monkey today! Remembering to alternate the orientations of the d-ring clips took some getting used to, and the harness, though snug, had a completely different distribution of weight than that of my trapeze lines. Still, I could not contain my excitement!
The progression of the three courses (Lagoon, Reef and Point Break), increase in altitude, challenge, and zip line length. Today, we set out to challenge the Lagoon, but I could tell as soon we tackled the first suspension bridge, I’d quickly want to come back for more! I look at ZOOMair like a jungle gym for adults (thought children meeting the height requirements may participate with parental release and chaperoning). We intentionally stayed at the back of our small pack, so we could take our time and enjoy the course without the stress of hurrying up for everyone waiting on me. (The following series are from three of the four zip lines on Lagoon, and are definitely out of order. I had a pretty awesome videographer!)
Half of the fun of the treetop adventure park is the obstacles you tackle! The bridges, ladders, and even the tightrope were challenging, but my favorite was the rope swing. Unfortunately, for safety, I could not tackle the challenges and take photos, so Ed will demonstrate some of the tasks for me. He did take video of my zip line portions, check it out!
The advantage of bringing up the rear of the group was not having to rush and deal with impatient people. When we go back, I hope we’ll be able to claim that spot in the trekking order because my work pace is a constant blur, so soaking up the sunshine at a snail’s pace felt incredible. I am curious to see what awaits on the Reef and Point Break courses. As we drove out of Tuscawilla Park, we got a preview, catching sight of someone of the challenges overhead! Though the adventure park could easily be tackled solo, I truly enjoyed having a partner for my outing.