Looking for a different type of summer fun? More people are learning the ropes at aerial adventure parks — destinations featuring zip lines, high wires, ropes courses and other adrenaline-rush-producing experiences.
Recreational zip lining originally gained popularity with tourists seeking unique vantage points of rain forest canopies in Costa Rican and Nicaraguan jungles. Over the past decade, zip lining has become a popular vacation activity, with hundreds of locations across the United States.
You'll need to be in reasonably good shape to go zip lining and you'll have to sign a waiver. Most zip line parks have height, weight, age and health restrictions. Minors need to be accompanied by adults. In most cases, pregnant women are not allowed to zip line. Be sure to check all park policies ahead of time.
Parks usually provide or rent all equipment needed to participate in the tours, including harnesses and helmets. They'll provide instruction before letting you set out. Dress for all kinds of weather. Many zip line tours go out rain or shine. Don't wear sandals or flip flops. Closed toe footwear is required. Be sure to check websites for specific details. Zip line prices generally start at about $50 for adults and go up from there. (Some parks offer special discounts and deals.)
Here are some places where you can zip to it in the land of steady habits:
The Adventure Park at Storrs features zip lines and challenge crossings between tree platforms. Aerial trails are color coded for difficulty levels. The park offers extended hours on Fridays and Saturday for illuminated "night climbs." Information: StorrsAdventurePark.com.
The Adventure Park at The Discovery Museum in Bridgeport has "treetop trails" consisting of more than 100 platforms connected by zip lines, wood and ropes. Information: discoveryadventurepark.org.
Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park in Portland is an outdoor adventure sports park offering rock climbing, wakeboarding, zip lining, cliff jumping, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, obstacle courses, beaches and floats. Information: brownstonepark.com.
Empower in Middletown offers zip lining, canopy tours, tree climbs and scavenger hunts. Information: leadershipsports.com.
Woodbury Ski Area features zip lining, a climbing wall, summer tube runs and other outdoor fun. The Dare Devil all-day pass includes two hours of tubing, two hours of zipling, 1 zorb ride and the climbing wall. Information: woodburyskiarea.com.