Janesville74.2°

Challenge course is cutting-edge entertainment

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Kayla Bunge
August 8, 2008
— A nervous look crossed Belinda Redenz’s face as she peered down from the wooden platform 52 feet above the ground.

She inched to the edge, grabbed the rope that attached her to the zip line and stepped off. She whizzed through the air, traversing within seconds the 600-foot cable stretched between two telephone poles.


It was the first time on a zip line for Redenz, 42, of Lake Geneva.


“You get the butterflies in your stomach … and the roller coaster stomach rush,” she said. “But you can’t be scared.”


That’s something she and rest of the staff at Aerial Adventures will have to convince people of when they’re peering down from the platform.


Aerial Adventures, 302 E. Townline Road, is a challenge course that includes two zip lines, a vertical playground and a bungee trampoline. The course opens Monday, Aug. 18.


“This is so cutting edge,” Redenz said. “This is going to change recreation in the city.”


David Hanley had been looking for a way to utilize the 2.8-acre parcel he’s owned since the early 1980s. The parcel—the old railroad right-of-way—is 100 feet wide and 1,000 feet long.


“This is a challenged piece of property,” said his son, Michael Hanley. “It’s very long and very narrow.”


The family considered building homes or a self-storage facility on the site, but neither option was as appealing as installing a zip line for people to whiz through the wooded valley.


They employed ABEE Inc., a challenge course design and adventure education company out of Oconomowoc.


The course includes two zip lines, one 300 feet long and the other 600 feet long; a vertical playground with a dozen climbing features and a bungee trampoline.


The crew of eight staff learned Wednesday how to secure participants and control their movement from the ground. They also learned the best way to encourage participants to face their fears without pressuring them.


“We go by a challenge-by-choice mentality,” said Dan Miller, director of training at ABEE. “It’s a supportive atmosphere. We help people meet whatever goals they might have out here.”


As Redenz teetered atop the platform, her co-workers on the ground calmly reassured her before she stepped off. They didn’t need to egg her on—she had shown up to work that day with plans to give zip lining a try.


Encouragement is customized to each participant, Miller said, whether it’s absolute silence or raucous cheering.


Because challenge courses can offer team-building opportunities, Michael and Patricia Hanley, who will operate the course, said they plan to open it up to groups that might spend a half-day or full day there.


The course, they said, offers something “totally different” from the usual Lake Geneva attractions, such as boating or shopping.


IF YOU GO
What: Aerial Adventures, a challenge course that includes two zip lines, a vertical playground and a bungee trampoline.
Where: 302 E. Townline Road, Lake Geneva.
When: Opens for business Monday, Aug. 18.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Sunday; open seasonally from April to October.
Cost: $40 for a 90-minute adventure.
Information: (262) 249-9352 or www.aerialadventureslg.com.

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