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Adventure park

An adventure park is a place which can contain a wide variety of elements, such as rope climbing exercises, obstacle courses and zip-lines. They are usually intended for recreation.

"Recreational-oriented" adventure parks are usually designed for a larger volume of visitors. They do not follow a specific educational concept, but see the individual, physical and mental challenge as a predominantly recreational activity. Neither climbing techniques nor special/specific physical fitness experience are necessary. Typical slogans are: Have Fun, Test your Courage, Overcome your Own Fears, Be Outside, Be in the Nature, Do some Physical Activities, etc.

It is unclear where and when the first ropes course was created. A first ropes course was built in 1875 in France and functioned mainly as a physical challenge activity for the participants. During the Second World War, ropes courses were used as obstacle courses for improving the physical fitness of the British military.

In the mid-1960s, ropes courses became a central component of outdoor seminars in the United States.

In recent years, specifically recreation-oriented Adventure Parks were developed. The market has boomed especially in Europe & Asian countries.

As already mentioned, a ropes course is often a challenging outdoor personal development and team-building activity with a relatively low number of participants. Some parks offer both - a recreational section and a team building section.

A canopy tour is a specific type of ziplining where a person is harnessed to a steel cable and propelled by gravity from platform to platform high up in the trees of a thick forest canopy. Although these date back far into history for civil and even scientific uses, they are now used for recreation and fun and have created a new activity for the tourism industry.

The category Adventure Parks can be broken down into a huge variety of specific types. They differ according to the following main criteria:

Forest Adventure Parks are very popular. They take advantage of the beauty of a forest, of the trees (no investment in poles) and offer an outdoor activity surrounded by nature. They offer not only an adventure “at height” in a forest, but also the benefit for customers of experiencing the spectacular natural beauty of trees, hills, cliffs and/or rivers. In forest parks, there is a particular focus on tree-friendly installation. In most cases, the platforms are held to the trees through the principle of friction. When the exercise elements are mounted, the trees are protected by coats of wood or rubber to prevent rubbing from the ropes.

Depending on how they are used and where they are located, parks on poles are an excellent alternative. They offer complete freedom in terms of park design and location but, at the same time, require higher investment (in the poles). The heat of the summer can be a challenge. A mix of poles/trees at the edge of a forest has the potential to work well.

  • Type of parks: stationary / mobile
  • Structural System: trees / poles / buildings / metallic structure
  • Target visitors: all / kids from 4 years old / disabled
  • Height of the lifeline: "mid-height", "out of reach"
  • Belay system: self / permanent / continuous
  • Locations: touristic / urban
  • Close to large tourist destinations
  • In Ski Resorts as an attraction during summer months (a boom in Switzerland and several European countries)
  • In Amusement Parks, Holiday Clubs/Villages, Hotel Club and Resorts, etc.
  • Urban parks or close to conglomerations (e.g. the park in the center of Lyon, France)
  • Close to a significant pool of potential customers, such as a large Shopping Mall, Zoo, Campsite, etc.
  • Small (kids) parks for shopping malls (as indoor), city events, etc.
  • The more traditional approach, frequently seen on continental Europe, is the lifeline at mid-height. This height at 1.40–1.60 m (4.6–5.2 ft) is well adapted for carabiners.
  • The lifeline out of reach, at 2–2.30 m (6.6–7.5 ft), possible with continuous belay system, is more frequent in UK and shows several advantages: (1) Higher throughput by peaks - up to 20% more (No manipulation on platforms and therefore gains of time - No need to install additional trolley for the ziplines). (2) More impressive and challenging elements (No "mid-heigh" cables to help the visitors - Impressive and when necessary, the visitor can anytime help himself with the lanyard - Impressive and without risk of numerous rescues). (3) Higher convenience for the park visitors (Platforms are free of any "mid-heigh" cable, ease for the visitors - Fun & thrills on elements while relaxing on platforms). (4) Much lower risk of injury (No contact with safety device - As the lanyard is already tighter, the distance of possible fall will be shorter)
  • Self belay with carabiners
  • Permanent belay with carabiners
  • Continuous belay on rail
  • Continuous belay on cable (with a hook or a trolley)


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