Looking for a fun adventure for your family? It’s touted as the “Playground for All Ages,” but it’s really called the “Aerial Adventure Course” at Grand Vue Park. The park is located in Moundsville, and as Grand Vue’s slogan promises: “Wild and Wonderful starts here!” I teach physical education and health at a local university, and General Manager Craig White arranged for my students and me to experience the course the first week that it opened. I highly recommend adding this to your list for adults, teens, and adventurous families to “do something!”
The aerial adventure course is a series of rope challenges that take place above the treetops—more than 40 feet in the air. Along with the physical challenges of improving strength, balance, coordination, and endurance, the high ropes course is just as much about the mental challenge. The course is ultimately one big metaphor for learning about risk-taking, thinking critically, taking on big tasks in little parts, and overcoming fear. We also had a great time playing on the Mega-Jump, the Euro Trampoline, Giant Swing, Climbing Wall, and Rappelling Wall.
We were also led through the team-building course, which consisted of low ropes elements. All elements work on a series of target areas to strengthen communication, trust, teamwork, and respect within a group of individuals. Initiatives included the Trust Fall, Spider Web, The Wall, and the Telephone Pole Challenge. The “challenge by choice” mantra is in place throughout the day, which is another key concept in adventure programming. You aren’t pressured to participate in anything that you don’t feel comfortable doing. I highly recommend these teambuilding activities for athletic teams, at-risk populations, business groups, and schools.
Here is a diary of our day, as told by our amazing guide Ashley. Hope that you have as much fun as we did!
“It’s five stories high. Your job is to move from tree stand to tree stand, through seven challenges. You’ll have to walk a tightrope, jump to a 2×4 board that swings, hang sideways off a marine rope net, and walk on the rope ladder. Once you clip in, you can only go forwards and can’t come back.”
“Go through ‘Ground School’ first. Learn how to hook and un-hook your carabineers so that you can move safely through the course. Yes, as you go through the course, there is the perception of fear—that’s the fun—but this ensures that you are always totally safe.”
“You made it! It took you about 45 minutes. Now it’s time to get down. You can choose to do the Mega-Jump or rappel. For the mega-jump, strap on the bungee cord and just step off the platform. The freefall part is fun! Don’t worry–we’ll slow you down when you get 10 feet above the ground.”
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“It’s called a Climbing Wall. It’s 28-feet high. Put on the belay and then climb up using your hands and feet on the small things that look like rocks. They are called holds. Race to see who gets to the top first. Two are easy, two are intermediate, and two are hard. Rappel down when you are finished.”
“It’s a special kind of trampoline because with the bungee cords, you can jump 24 feet in the air. Try to do a backflip!”
“Climb onto a 4-foot high scaffolding. Sit down on a swing. Try to keep your eyes open as the winch system pulls you back to almost 60 feet in the air. Count to three to release the clip. You will feel an exhilarating 2 G’s of force hit your stomach as you swing back and forth over the landscape with awesome views. It’s ok to scream; most people do.”
“A trust fall is when you trust others to support you as you fall backwards from a height of four feet. Mrs. Wack, why don’t you go first and let your students catch you?”
“Teambuilding challenges are about thinking creatively to work together as a team to solve a problem. Here you must get in alphabetical order without touching the ground.”
“Everybody in the group must make it up and over the wall. Each person can only help two other people get up though.”
“Can you move through the whole spider web course while staying connected and not touching any parts of the web?”
“Time for the last adventure of the day. Strap on a harness. You are attached to a zipline—a cable wire that is 62 feet in the air. Let your feet dangle. Now travel 2,100 feet at speeds up to 40 miles per hour over a ravine up to 200 feet above the ground. Enjoy sailing over the treetops and taking in all the sights. At the end, you’ll have some really great pulled pork sandwiches at the Trailhead Grill, courtesy of Mason Dixon BBQ.”