Living with Technology: Add some 'zip' to your life
Published 5:38 am, Wednesday, May 13, 2015
My son's Cub Scout troop recently went on an outing to the Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport.
I've been on a number of zipline adventures and this one was really fun.
Some ziplines are just that. They take you to the top of a hill, harness you up and send you down the wire. It's a lot of fun, but not particularly engaging.
The Adventure Park (www.discoveryadventurepark) is very engaging. For the most part, this adventure is in the trees and navigating your way from one tree to another.
After being put into a harness with lots of straps and buckles, we're given safety lesson on how to get into the trees, how to get your equipment to work and what to do if you get stuck.
At the Adventure Park, there basically are about a dozen different routes through the trees, from fairly easy to the hardest "double black diamonds."
The harnesses are very low-tech devices, but with some interesting technology.
Of course, no one wants you to fall out of a tree. The standard in these situations is that you have two carabiners that you keep attached to metal cables. When moving from one location to another, you unhitch one of the carabiners and move it to the next cable, then unhitch the other carabiner and move it to the next cable. That way, you always have at least one attachment.
However, in most parks, there's nothing preventing you from unhitching both carabiners simultaneously. The Adventure Park gives an added piece of protection by having special carabiners that can only be unlocked one at a time. I won't go into how it all works, but it's virtually impossible to leave yourself unsafe. And that's quite reassuring.
Once in the trees, between trees are different challenges. Some are easy ramps, some are balancing acts, some are ziplines or sliders.
In every case, there's something to hold on to in order to keep yourself stable and safe. Or, you can test your balance and agility by doing the walk hands free, knowing that if you fall, you're suspended by some very strong cables, a big harness and a number of very agile staff members to help you out.
My 10-year-old son and I went on the easiest and one step harder courses, and I found it both fun and challenging. My son, of course, raced ahead with his Cub Scout buddies while I took my time and navigated the obstacles with much less dexterity and hopefully more precision.
Here's a 60-second video of one of the zipline trips. http://bit.ly/zipline2015.
If you're looking for a fun adventure for your family, I recommend some time at the Adventure Park. The kids will come home happy and tired. At least I did.
Mark Mathias is a 35-plus year information technology executive, a resident of Westport, Connecticut. His columns can be read on the Internet at http://blog.mathias.org. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.