Do you like soaring 75 feet above the surface of the Earth? How about at 30 mph while hanging from a steel cable? If your answer is yes, then you, dear reader, need to high tail it up to White River Zip Lines. Nestled in a magnificent pine and maple forest in Anderson, this adventure land is only a 45 minute drive from Indy. Officially open as of Saturday May 10th, White River Zip Lines offers adrenaline pumping thrills in a family friendly environment.
White River Zip Lines is located in the same complex as Indy Scream Park and White River Paintball. Additionally, it hosts various Mudathalons and Dirty Girl runs. This place is no stranger to high intensity thrill seekers, and those who find themselves in this category would feel more than at ease in this environment.
There’s no need to worry about parking when headed to this place. Several ample sized grass lots surround the registration and gear building. Registration for the zip line and the paintball were located at the same counter, and the owner’s helpful wife gave advice to leave any sort of valuables in the lockers provided around the building. However, be certain to bring your own lock, as there are none provided to the public! Following the registration, payment (over $100 per person), and waiver signing, it was time to wait to suit up and hit the lines.
Since this writer went on opening day, the waiting period took a little longer than expected, as the staff was still working out some of those big-day hiccups. After waiting with the group for about 45 minutes, the whole gang suited up into these hardcore zip lining suits. The staff was incredibly patient as they instructed everyone on how to wiggle into and strap on their bright yellow and orange harnesses. Once the gang was locked into their crotch strangling, butt pinching outfits, it was time to be loaded into the gators and carted off towards the zip line course.
As the cart approached the first tower, a wave of anxiety washed over the group. Some of the zippers, as they will be referred to from now on in this article, nervously joked with their family members, while others fidgeted in their seats. It must’ve felt a lot like how Jeff Goldblum and company felt when they departed on their tour of Jurassic Park. The group was sweaty, a tad nervous, and excited for what lie ahead. However, this tour would involve less dinosaurs, and a lot more fun.
The staff led the group on a ground-level practice run where you learned how to brake, save yourself from getting stuck on the line, and follow your “captain’s” signals. This was incredibly crucial and safety-related information, so if you ever decide to embark on the adventure that is White River Zip Lines, be certain to pay attention! After each person did a test run, it was time to climb up to the 75 foot high tower from which we would begin our zipping.
At the top, each person was hooked onto a line on the tower, while they waited for their turn to zoom to the next tower. Then the “captain” zipped across and signaled for the departures, while the “co-captain” waited behind and orchestrated the order in which the group left. The co-captain was the last guy to cross, and was also the last human face we saw before zooming through the air on nothing but a cable cord.
These two guides, did a fantastic job training us, and making us feel safe as we prepared for the first launch. Our captain and co-captain were totally affable, yet professional young men. As someone who was about to put their life into these two young guys’ hands, it was comforting to see how knowledgeable and secure they were in their position.
Zip lining is a lot like riding a roller coaster. If you’re scared of heights, and despise soaring through the air like a Peregrine Falcon stalking its prey, then this activity is not for you. However, if thrill is what you thirst for on this little blue dot we call our planet, then zip lining was crafted for you. Stepping off the tower and letting go of the solid surface below you is an incredibly unnerving act, but once you’re flying, you never want it to stop.
As the captain signaled for the brake, and the second platform rapidly approached, it became obvious that zip lining was, indeed, awesome. From that point on, the zipping itself became almost addictive. With one tower down, and nine more to go, the gang hooked in and prepared to do it again.
Scattered throughout the course were dual-racing zip lines, which were fabulous. You and another one of the zippers you’re with hooked into parallel lines and raced towards the next tower at break neck speed. Additionally, the flora of the course was beautiful. The enormous pines, towering maples, and shiny green underbrush of the forest really enhanced the entire experience. It was hard to not feel like an aerial woodland creature, as we shot over trees and bushes.
At about tower four, there was a switch in the rhythm of the course. The group had been up in the air for about an hour at this point in the scorching sun. Everyone was thirsty. The guides sympathized, and stated that there would be water on the course at sometime, but just not today. This was bad, because the zippers couldn’t have brought their own water. Also, standing in the sun for over two hours on an 80 degree day without water can be really hazardous. It was palpable that the lack of water on the two and a half hour course brought everyone’s spirits down a bit, but we trekked on and stayed positive. Although we were all a bit flustered, we made the most of the situation and cracked some jokes. It was pretty refreshing to observe how easily everyone interacted with our cellphones left in the lockers.
Additionally, at tower four, instead of zipping to the next tower, each participant was required to walk across a shaky, wobbly wire bridge. This was honestly a pretty unwelcome to change to the fun, free flowing adventure that the course had been up to this point. Imagine crossing a bridge with only horizontal planks strung up to vertical wire supports. It looked like something Indiana Jones would have had to maneuver across to snag the Holy Grail. It took a very long time for each separate group to cross this rickety bridge, because it seriously scared most people. This writer included. Finally, everyone crossed, and it was time to get back to zipping, but a lot of the group had grown tired from that random obstacle.
Getting back to the zip line was invigorating, as the group zipped over a low-lying creek, and prepared to cross another bridge. The next two bridges weren’t nearly as annoying as the first, because they were way more stable, and a whole less wobbly. At the last tower of the course, we were faced with another dual-racing zip line that would send us on home. We strapped on to the line and shot down like like rockets. We were tired, but pleased. Thirsty, yet satisfied. Most of all, we were happy to have had an afternoon at White River Zip Lines.
As the gators rounded us up and took us back to the main complex, everyone said their good-byes to each other, and the staff. Over those almost 3 hours together an odd bond had formed between us. Without phones, and in the presence of nature, we all faced our fear of something big, fast, and new, and we wound up really having a fabulous time. The gear was discarded, and participants dashed to the water fountain for a much needed gulp. Our captain and co-captain handed out vouchers for which to redeem free opening-day pictures of us on the lines. Unfortunately, this writer’s redemption code linked her to a random picture of some other dude, but hey! It’s the thought that counts. Anyway, here’s a picture of the writer with her fantastic guides.
For an afternoon of speed, sun, and adrenaline pumping fun, be sure to check out White River Zip Lines. The prices are a tad steep, but if you’re in the market for something adventurous in our own Indianapolis backyard, then there’s hardly a better option. The staff is cordial, and the course itself is terrific. So don’t just sit there on the computer, you bum, get on up to Anderson and catch some air!