Sometimes summers can get a little repetitive when planning activities, so I was super excited to hear about a ziplining location only 20 minutes from downtown Columbus. ZipZone Outdoor Adventures is the perfect way to switch up your routine with nearly any group of people.
Worthington native Lori Pingle opened ZipZone Outdoor Adventures in 2012, after spending several years living out of state, in both Illinois and Hawaii. Pingle had previously worked to train staff and perform course inspections for other zip tours throughout the country, even in Alaska. She has a degree in Recreation Management from the University of Illinois, but it’s her passion for the outdoors and helping people overcome their fears that drives her.
Located off 23 at the Camp Mary Orton grounds, ZipZone Outdoor Adventures is a little piece of hidden awesomeness to spice up your summer. They feature a variety of zip lining courses as well as adventure park ropes courses. They have tour options for adventure-seekers of all experience levels, including a kids ropes course for ages 4-7. This is the perfect place for an outing with the kids or afternoon date activity.
ZipZone is also a “green company”, meaning they strive to have as little impact on the environment as possible. Only three trees were cut down in order to prepare the course. They sought out natural alleyways in the trees to place ziplines where possible.
I was super excited when I got the email to go check this place out, and it totally met the expectations. This place was epic.
We took the canopy tour, a fully guided two-hour tour with five zip lines and four suspension bridges. The guided feature of the tour allows you to focus on enjoying the experience while the trained guides do all the work of setting up your equipment for the send-off and the end of each line. The zip lines let you feel like you’re flying through the trees- because you are. The shortest line was the length of a football field and at the peak of the lines, you can go up to 30 mph. I can’t wait to go back and test my bravery on the ropes courses.
Our guides Caitlin and Jack made it easy to adapt the trip to each zipper’s comfort level. I was excited to try new things like using no hands, spinning around during the zip, and leaning off the platform. Tracie preferred to hold the ropes, but she did manage to go backward toward the end of our adventure! I was proud. I was also a big fan of the stories our guides told to help engage the kids we were with for an even greater adventure.
Compared to the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours and The Wilds Zipline safari, this place is a little on the pricier side. But, the fact that it’s so close makes it totally worth it. The kid’s park is $18 per person. The aerial ropes tours are $46 a person and $36 for ages 7-11. Canopy tour prices start at $46 per person and vary depending on the type.
I don’t necessarily consider myself an adventurous person. I love to be outdoors, but like, with my feet on solid ground. But I also want to set a good example for my kids and show them that trying things that are scary can be super fun. I was glad to have Tess with me, as she was both more experienced and more daring than me. We were partnered with a family that included 3 kids between the ages of 10-14, so that also helped to ease my fears. Our guides, Jack and Caitlin, were funny and knowledgeable. They also didn’t make it seem like they were just going through the motions, sharing fun asides about different aspects of the park and the course.
On one of the lines, Caitlin and Jack encouraged us to switch it up, either by going backward or by “free falling” off the platform, giving you a momentary sensation of falling for the few seconds before your lanyard and clips were extended. I did the former, Tess the latter. So despite the fact that the kids in our group also went backward, I still felt pretty badass for trying something I was scared of. The two hours went by quickly, and I was a little disappointed that our experience was over.
The entire day was well managed, and ample information was provided to us beforehand, as far as what to wear (closed toed shoes are a must), where to park, and what to bring or not bring. They’re happy to store your keys and phone, though you may want to wear pants with zippers so you can take advantage of the photo-ops along the way. After you’re finished, there’s cold water and a small gift shop with ice cream, which sounded awful good to me as it was 90 degrees the morning of our adventure.
Around the full moon, you can take a moonlit tour, these special events do sell out, but how fun would that be? In October, they host “freaky flights” where you can throw pumpkins (!!!) from the zip line. Costumes encouraged. Open rain or shine, and March-November, it’s recommended that you book your tour in advance. And if you want to go check it out, but need a friend, I can’t wait to do it again and am happy to be your plus one.
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