Missouri with kids: Eco Adventure Ziplines

If you’re crossing the state of Missouri on I-70, plan ahead to make a pit stop at Exit 175 (Hermann/New Florence). Five miles off the highway is Eco Adventure Ziplines. It’s a perfect introduction to high-flying adventure for first timers as well as a great attraction for more experienced high-flyers interested in the natural beauty of this area. From booking to departure, this is an exceptionally well-run, smooth operation in which fun, safety, and nature come together.

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The Eco Adventure Ziplines Experience

Founder Mike Seper wanted to transform a piece of rugged, wooded ground, unusable for agriculture, into a place where people could enjoy nature. The deep ravines in this area are ideally suited to ziplining, and he was committed to preserving the natural state of the ground as much as possible.

Mike and his team introduced my son and me to aerial adventures, and it was such a good experience that when we learned he had revamped the course, we returned with my parents. You might expect, as I once did, that it might be intimidating to take that first step off the platforms. It turns out all you actually have to do is sit down and pick your feet up. Both my son and I were pleasantly surprised to find that zip lining delivers a smoother, less body-jolting thrill than, say, a roller coaster.

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You might also fear that you’ll screw up the safety equipment and put yourself in danger. But one of the things that makes this such a great introduction to ziplining is that two staff members accompany every tour—one to catch people at the end of each line, the other to hook and unhook you to the lines. Their competence and professionalism set us at ease, while their jokes made the experience enjoyable. They also gave a handful of mini lessons about the physics of ziplines and the ecosystem around us.

Tours begin right by the highway and take off through the woods, making use of deep folds in the hills. There are two options: the Soaring Six and the Treetop Flyer. Both start with the same lines, but when the short course turns back, the Treetop Flyer goes on for a full ten lines. The first two serve as a warmup, teaching you to use Mike’s specially designed braking system and keep yourself facing forward when momentum swings you around. But the high point (pun intended) of the tour is the “Super Zip.” At a quarter mile long, it takes nearly a full minute to cross the valley, and at its highest is more than 250 feet off the ground. It’s a stunning view.

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Practical Considerations

  • Age: Eco Adventure Ziplines‘ tours are available to kids ages 3 and up.
  • Weight and waistline limits: riders can be no more than 250 pounds with a 42-inch waistline. Younger kids and those under 100 pounds may not be heavy enough to make it all the way across the long lines on their own, but can ride tandem with a guide.
  • Time: Plan on at least an hour and a half, and possibly two hours, for the Treetop Flyer tour. If you’re not sure whether your kids can handle the longer tour, with its higher zips, you can start with the Soaring Six. After the first few lines, the guides will give you the option to turn back or go on. On our first visit, about half of our group did just this, and most of them opted to complete the Treetop Flyer once they realized how comfortable and enjoyable the zips were.
  • Clothing: Long pants are more comfortable than shorts, but the only requirement is closed-toed shoes. The team will provide helmets, gloves, harness, and water bottles.
  • Add-ons: You can bring your own camera/phone on the tour, but you can also rent a specialized helmet-mounted digital camera that will capture the entire adventure on video.

 

Hours, Admission, and Booking

Reservations are required, so you’ll need to plan in advance. Tours run rain or shine throughout the spring, summer and fall. Weekday tours begin at 11, 1 and 3, with extra weekend departures at 9 and 5, but they will often work with you on scheduling to suit your needs. The booking page is very clear and easy to follow, with color coding and popups to indicate availability. The Soaring Six is $65, and the Treetop Flyer $85. You can also rent a specialized camera to capture the whole adventure on video—bring your own memory card or buy one on site.

Directions

Eco Adventure Ziplines is at 487 South Highway 19 in New Florence, Missouri. Take I-70 to Exit 175 and go south on Highway 19 toward Hermann for just under 5 miles. The small green-and-white building is on the right.

My son and I enjoyed ziplining as guests of Eco Adventure Ziplines, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author

Kathleen Basi Freelance writer Kathleen Basi has lived her entire life in "flyover country," but she's an old pro at road trips, having taken the first of many extended driving vacations at the tender age of five. She's a huge proponent of letting kids see and experience the space between "here" and "there." Find her at http://kathleenbasi.com/blog/.

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