When those of us in South Florida are looking for a quick getaway packed with fun and adventure, we generally head to Central Florida. I know what you're thinking. Theme parks and mouse ears. This time I was looking for something a little different.
My destination - Florida EcoSafaris in St Cloud near Orlando. I was looking for something with a lot less waiting in line and a lot more dangerous. When I signed a waiver at the front desk stating serious injury or death could be the possible outcome of my visit, I knew I was in the right place.
I could write a book on this trip and it would start with me being born with an over active fear gene. Fear of heights happen to be high on the list. So why would I spend a day up to seventy five feet about the ground and the bulk of that racing along a wire? There are two ways to live - curled up in a safe ball in the house or pushing past my limits. Way past in this case.
The first thing you need to do is harness up from head to crotch. I've zipped before but this harness was serious business. That's because there is a full course of fun ahead and zip lining is the easy part. The harness is used for all six activities at the Eco Safari Park.
If you have never tried zip lining before, this course would be a great test drive. The towers start at 104 steps or seventy five feet high. There are spacious landing decks cleverly engineered to not end in a solid pole. Plenty of railings and lightning rods. The course consists of nine towers, seven zip lines, and two suspension bridges. Intimidating but not paralyzing. You can start off with a 1,300 foot zip to the ground if you are not sure. That's how I did it. The rest of our group chose the zip line roller coaster. I needed to think about that one a bit.
We had a great group of traveling partners and two very entertaining guides. Some of the younger ones flung themselves from the deck. A few had some reservations. As far as I could tell, I was the only one with a serious fear factor but the fun factor was getting me past it. We took about an hour and a half to make the tour which dropped us off at the same tower we started at. Just a mere 104 steps away, the only zip line roller coaster in the US, The Rattlesnake. If you are out to conquer your fears - this ride will do it. If you think it looks easy from the video - I urge you to try it. With the full Eco Safari pass you can ride it all day. Not many in our group went twice.
Now for something a little more relaxing. The Cypress Canopy Cycle. If you can ride a bike on a hill - something we don't have in Florida - you are ready for this ride. Once you leave the station, you are on a wire twenty five feet above the ground on a self guided tour of the tree canopy. It would probably have been a good idea to take a bottle of water but for the most part, it was an easy ride. One I could take every day.
If none of this high adventure interests you, check out the coach safari or horseback safari. We rode the big swamp buggy on the hard road to the zip line area but as we were heading back I was wishing the driver could take us through the swamp on the way back. Now that I know it's possible, I want to go back for a wilderness adventure.