Zip lines are a recent growth area in attractions, being relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain and providing energetic and eco-friendly fun. In Central Florida alone other attractions that have added a zip to their portfolio include Grand Lakes Orlando Resort, the Central Florida Zoo, and Forever Florida. Gatorland’s Eco Zip Line is being managed by Montana’s Global Expeditions, Inc.
Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo also has a high ropes attraction. The zoo is in the news as it is due to receive two giant pandas from China and is in negotiations with private companies to get together the £6 million fee (which will be used by the Chinese government for panda conservation) so that the whole deal can be financed. (See Zoo chiefs still need £6m sponsorship deal for giant pandas)
The zoo is sited on a hill, meaning that visitors walking along the “SkyTrail” rope walk are afforded spectacular views (see top image). Will the pandas, I wonder, be given a prime spot? A couple of anteaters are currently lodged in the zoo’s penthouse suite, on top of the hill. Perhaps they will be unceremoniously turfed out to accommodate the glamorous foreign signings?
I tried out Sky Trail at last Autumn’s BALPPA annual meeting (see Whisky and High Ropes in Bonnie Scotland). Supplied by Leicester based Innovative Leisure, which specialises in active, high energy attractions for the family market, the Sky Trail rope walk is conveniently placed right by the chimp’s enclosure, which includes a not dissimilar rope trail for the chimps. Zoo visitors can feel a sense of kinship with their cousins as, with varying degrees of inelegance, they struggle along the ropes. Proof, if any were needed, that chimpanzees have evolved to clamber through trees and that attractions professionals have not.