Filed under: adventure travel, day trip, family, top-feature
Zip and Zorb: Horseshoe Adventure Park
The inner adventurer in me was released during a trip I took to Costa Rica this past winter.¬† Never had it occurred to me that it may be fun to “zip” through the trees, climb and repel, and that I may actually enjoy pushing my limits beyond my big city comfort zone.
My new brave world set me free and in search of active, participatory adventure.¬† So I was very excited when I learned that Horseshoe Valley Resort, located only one hour north of Toronto, is opening Horseshoe Adventure Park on July 1st. And better yet, I was invited to get an advance sneak peek of the exciting attractions.
Horseshoe Valley Resort has always¬†been a popular destination for outdoor fun.¬† Up until now the main attraction was during the winter with their 25 ski runs, winter tubing and endless nordictrails.¬† Summer has always offered two championship level golf courses and outdoor trails but now there is more … much more!¬† With Ziplining, Zorbing, Rock Climbing,¬† Skateboarding, Summer Tubing, Extreme Mountain Biking and Ridgetop Mini Golf there is something for everyone depending on your adventure level.
Let me take you on a tour:
Why start off slow? Actually why not start off flying 45 km/hr through the air.¬† For ziplining novices let me explain: Imagine a cable suspended several hundred feet in the air.¬† And then imagine being attached to the cable by a freely moving pulley.¬† Unlike many ziplines, the Zip Flyer¬†has an actual seat that is propelled by gravity across the longest zip line in Southern Ontario.¬† It’s an adrenaline rush to say the least, and an amazing vantage point to see the whole¬† Adventure Park from – that’s if you are brave enough to open your eyes!
Although¬†the name sounds like something that could transport you into outer space it is actually a large rubberized sphere that you enter, and roll down a hill inside of.¬†¬† Developed in New Zealand, where most extreme sports seem to originate from, Horseshoe Adventure Park is the first fully operational Zorb park in Canada.¬†¬†There is a wet or dry option.¬† The wet version can hold up to 3 people in the¬†Zorb at one time.¬† In this version the participants are not strapped in, you are actually sitting in a pool of water and as the Zorb rolls down the hill gravity and the water keep you at the bottom of the Zorb while it rolls and sloshes you around.¬† The dry version is for one person only.¬† Once inside the Zorb you are harnessed in and roll head over heels down the hill.¬† This is probably a good activity to do prior to lunch!
At first glance when I looked at the hill I thought “wow they have brought snow to the mountain in the summer!”.¬† With a closer look as I rode up the Magic Carpet (basically a people mover from the bottom of the hill to the top) I realized it is actually white AstroTurf.¬† The rest is¬†quite similar to winter tubing- barreling down the hill in an inner tube holding on for dear life hoping not to fall out or flip.¬† One bonus – warm hands and no snow to wipe from your face at the end.
I was climbing the wall (literally) at the Adventure Park.¬† With a unique self belaying system, climbing the peak¬†and repelling down is safe while testing your limits.¬†¬†There are different routes up the wall ranging in difficulty, I even found myself racing the person next to me.
Extreme Mountain Biking
I took the easy way up on the chairlift, and to be honest I took the easy way down as well by walking the course.¬† Mastering the art of downhill mountain biking hasn’t quite entered my adventure repertoire as of yet.¬† The course is littered with jumps, quick turns and ramps. There is padding on the trees at all the right places¬†and looks as though it would be a thrill if I could just build up the nerve.¬† Helmets are a must!
A skateboarder’s paradise. 10,000 square feet of freshly paved surface is home to¬†ramps, a planter ledge, hip, jersey barrier,¬†manny pad¬†and rails.¬† BMX bikes and inline skates are welcome too.
Ridgetop Mini Putt
Built into the side of the Zorbing and Tubing Hill, this 18 hole mini putt course¬†offers a great view of the resort.¬†¬†The non- extreme nature of this attraction balances out the others.
Adventure makes me hungry.¬† And the good thing is the food is great -¬†which was a very pleasant surprise.¬† I was treated to a delicious lunch care of Silks Fine Dining in the resort.¬† Presentation, quality and sophistication level¬†surpassed my wildest expectations.¬† Of course, there are¬†the more casual, fast, easy fun-food options available as well within the Adventure Park.
And if all this sounds like too much to take in in one day why not stay over? Horseshoe Valley has 101 well appointed rooms available. Great for a weekend away with or without¬†the kids, for a bachelor/bachelorette weekend, a conference, birthday or team building exercises.
Access to the Adventure Park is free.¬† Wristbands must be purchased in order to be able to take part in the adventures.¬† Day passes/wristbands are the most economical way to experience all the activities, however, if you only want to try one adventure it is possible to buy “pay-per-play” wristband.
So find your inner adventurer, or take one with you, and go discover all the fun Horseshoe Adventure Park has to offer.
Horseshoe Adventure Park
1101 Horseshoe Valley Road – Comp. 10, RR #1, Barrie, Ontario
July 1st – September 6th (10 a.m. – 10 p.m.)
September 7th – October 31st (Sun -Thurs 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. , Fri -Sat 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.)
Admission is based on height as some activities are only available to those over 52″ in height.
Over 52″: Unlimited Full Day $54.99 (or save $5 by¬†purchasing online)
Under 51″: Unlimited Full Day $39.99 (or save $5 by purchasing online)
Pay-per-play passes range from$4.99 – $19.99
Prices change in Fall season (Sept 7 – Oct 31)
Multi Day passes and special pricing is available for hotel guests.¬† Also group pricing is available.
Photo Credit: Jane AporTags: adventure travel, day trip, family, top-feature