Over Thanksgiving, we took the kids to Orlando. Of course, we hit the usual must-go spots, like Walt Disney World, LEGOLAND and Universal Orlando (we especially loved The Wizarding World of Harry Potter), but we also took time out to fly down the ziplines at Forever Florida in nearby St. Cloud.
So, the day started with me scrambling to get my older girls, Clare (age 11) and Kate (age 9), into the car and on our way to Forever Florida since I didn’t realize it was an hour from Kissimmee. Ruh-roh. I still can’t believe we got there only a few minutes late for our 9 am start time.
We took a big swamp buggy out to the ziplines and got introduced to our two guides who got us all set up with our harnesses and helmets. For an extra $19.99, Clare got to have a GoPro camera attached to her helmet so she could record her zips down the wires. Really cool.
Next we made our way up maybe eight stories to the top of the first tower to start down the first of seven ziplines. We were a group of seven participants (minus the guides), but that quickly turned to six when one of the men changed his mind after he reached the top of the tower. It’s a long way down for sure.
After a quick technical review of the ziplines (they connect you to two safety wires, rather than one, making for a better ride) and an overview of how to ride the ziplines, it was go time. I did not want to go first, and being with kids, it was easy for us to get the other people to go ahead of us. I mean, seriously, who was going to ask a child to go before them?
Then it was just us. The guide suggested the girls go first (phew…) in case they got nervous and needed me there to encourage them to go down the zipline. Clare had done it before, though not from that height, so she switched on the GoPro and was on her way. Kate was a little more hesitant (not that she looks hesitant in the photo below), but she was a natural. I was next and fortunately all turned out well because everyone was watching since I was the last one.
We took on six more ziplines, which were a mix of long, short, super-fast, not-as-fast. In all, the zipline adventure lasted around three hours and was great for first-timers. It was also a fantastic break from amusement parks, if you know what I mean. As a side note, if you want to zip, you need to be at least eight years old and must weigh at least 55 pounds.
Beyond the basic seven zipline package, Forever Florida also offers a thrill pack half-day adventure, which is probably best for those who’ve already tried and feel comfortable with ziplines. For example, this package includes the Panther Pounce, which is a seven-story freefall. Okay, yikes. I’m not sure if I…er, I mean, my kids…could just walk off a platform. I look concerned even after a basic zip (see below).
For those looking for a relaxing tour in a swamp buggy to check out the swamps and local wildlife, sign up for the wild coach adventure with Forever Florida. My in-laws, my husband and our two youngest children (ages 5 & 7) did that two hour tour while we were out on the ziplines. My in-laws, in particular, loved learning about the various birds and plants.
All in all, making the trip out to Forever Florida in St. Cloud was an ideal way to spend a half-day away from the crowds, characters and sensory overload of some of the theme parks. Naturally, we were back at the parks the next day, but we were so glad we took a break to try something new.
Disclaimer: We received two complimentary zipline adventures. However, all opinions expressed here are my own. We had a lot of fun at Forever Florida!