I’m 60 feet off the ground, staring at an aqua-striped Lake Erie. Ready, set, go! I’m flying toward the water at 25 miles per hour, hooked to a metal cable.
A shriek slips out of my lips. And I grin, reveling in the weightlessness.
Lake Erie Canopy Tours give grown-ups a chance to play.
The complex at the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake ,on the state park, includes eight ziplines, three adult high-ropes courses and one children’s challenge course. About 500 guests have tried the activities since a soft opening last September. The lodge hopes 14,000 visitors will take part this year.
“It’s like a Swiss Army knife of fun,” said supervisor Mike Tobie, 30, who was in marketing before deciding to switch careers, “a giant tree fort.”
The 25-acre wooded park is first in Ohio built by Skyline Ziplines, based in western Canada, which also has courses in Hawaii, New York, West Virginia and North Carolina.
The adventure park industry is booming. As of 2014, more than 700 had been built in North America and were growing about 10 percent annually, according to the Association for Challenge Course Technology. Ohio has about 15 outdoor zipline parks, including in Oberlin, at Hocking Hills State Park and in the Cleveland Metroparks’ Mill Stream Reservation in Strongsville.
The Geneva-on-the-Lake course has 35 elements over three challenge courses — an entry option at 12 feet off the ground, intermediate at 24 feet and advanced at 40 feet. You walk on ropes and pieces of wood, slim as a balance beam. On the advanced option, you hang on to a trapeze and ride a saddle. But you’re always harnessed, hooked to a metal cable above you, using a continuous belay system. So you can never really fall.
With all 500 guests so far, about 10 people lost their footing, Tobie said. Six had to be rescued.
It’s more a mental issue than physical, Tobie said.
The self-braking ziplines are pure exhilaration. Two of the zips are tandems, so you can race against a friend. Several are over Cowles Creek, which runs into Lake Erie.
And all around, you get a marvelous view.
Lake Erie Canopy Tours, 4888 North Broadway, Geneva-on-the-Lake
Open: Friday-Sunday, May 4-20. Every day, May 25-Oct. 31
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Last ticket sold at 3 p.m.)
Adventure Challenge Course
Kids course: $19, one hour
Adult course (ages 12 and older): $49, two hours, with three courses: easier, intermediate and advanced.
Zipline Canopy Tours
Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Last ticket sold at 3 p.m.)
Cost: $89 per person on weekends, $79 on weekdays. Can accommodate up to eight people at a time