Kid’s View: Aerial Adventure

kids_sum15[s2If is_user_logged_in()]

PDF Click here to view this article as a PDF[/s2If]

You can fly through the air and navigate an obstacle course in the trees at Ruby Falls ZIPStream.

by HARLEY TATE, AGE 14, AND BETHANY BARES, AGE 15 | photos by OLIVIA GRIDER

Harley: Ropes course? Zip lines? Have you ever thought about how much fun you could have flying through the sky or challenging gravity? Well, after you visit Ruby Falls ZIPStream Aerial Adventure in Chattanooga, Tenn., that is pretty much all you will think about.

Just a couple of the many great things at the ZIPStream are the kind people and great attitudes you see everywhere you look. It is always a smile, never a frown or bad energy, no matter which way your head turns. This encouragement and positive outlook helps you complete a course that might look frightening in the beginning. Staff members give you plenty of space if you want it, but are always saying: “I am here for you. When you need us just call.”[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]

To read the rest of this article, pick up a copy of the Summer 2015 issue OR Subscribe Now for instant access to our online edition, which offers more photos (including those not published in the print edition).

[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()]Another great thing about the Aerial Adventure is all the different activities offered. They include three different types of courses that are suitable for little kids up to adults, providing fun for all ages. There’s also the Tower ZIP Ride, with 700 feet of zipping and no ropes course, and the 40-foot-tall Climbing Tower, with three sides and five climbing routes.

I visit the ZIPStream with my best friends, Bethany Bares and Ansley Grider. We complete two courses – the Green and Blue Diamond courses. The Green Course is the easier one (this is the one you might want to start off with), while the Blue Course is a little harder. Then, of course, we can’t forget about the little ones. They complete the Orange Course, which was designed for smaller children who are at least 44 inches tall.

We also climb the Tower and try the Tower ZIP Ride. While you are zipping along on this round trip, look at the scenery around you. It is immaculate and undisturbed.

The Ruby Falls ZIPStream Aerial Adventure is definitely something you need to put on your to-do list if you will be in the Lookout Mountain area. I can’t wait to visit again.

Bethany: Even though I grew up going to summer camps with ropes courses, I am excited about trying a new course with my friends at Ruby Falls ZIPStream on Lookout Mountain. There are two passes you can choose from, and both allow you to stay on courses for two hours.

We pick the Extreme Adventure Pass rather than the Children’s Adventure Pass. The Ex-treme Adventure gives us access to the Blue and Green courses, Tower ZIP Ride and Climbing Tower. I’m excited about trying the Tower zip line.

First, a staff member goes over the safety rules. I’m a little apprehensive when they tell me I’ll be hooking myself in and out. I quickly perk up and pay close attention to the instruc-tions. The continuous belay system they use is very safe. After a presentation and practice at-taching our equipment to a cable we can reach from the ground, I realize there is no way I can make a mistake in hooking myself in and out and fall. I am relieved to learn one side of the carabiner – a strong metal loop that attaches my safety harness to the overhead cable – is always hooked to the cable.

Our adventure begins with us going through different obstacles to get from one tree to the next in the wooded course area. The obstacle course includes different swing-ing bridges, ladders, logs, nets and exciting zip lines. My favorite is a swing you stand on after pushing off from a platform. You glide through the air to a platform on another tree.

Trained staff members help you through-out the course, so you are not completely on your own. One staff member we speak with is MaryBeth Eastlick, 20, who is a student ma-joring in outdoor recreation at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. MaryBeth tells us it is rewarding for her to help people over-come their fears by guiding them through challenging sections of the courses.

If you want to face a fear of heights, I think Ruby Falls ZIPStream Aerial Adventure would be a great place to start. I had a wonderful time.

IF You Go

GETTING THERE: Ruby Falls ZIPStream Aerial Adventure is at 1710 South Scenic Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37409

JUNE-AUGUST HOURS: Every day, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

MORE INFO: 423-821-2544; rubyfallszip.com[/s2If]