A day zip lining at Historic Banning Mills

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Since I have moved to Georgia I have been looking for that “one” thing unique to the area that I can bring our visitors to.  My wife has found all sorts of fun “girl” things to do with  our visitors, so when the girls are off doing girl crap I need something fun to do with guy.  Well after discovering Historic Banning Mills I have my “thing” to do with out-of-town guests.  It is very unique to the area, meaning you can’t do it just anywhere, and it is a BLAST.  I have always wanted to zip line and to find out I can do it only 20 minutes from my house was great.

It is important to know that you will need reservations, and you will be with a group of people.  Your day will start in the lodge after you check in.  They ask that you arrive 30 minutes early, which is just fine because they have a great deck with some great views, so killing 30 minutes is not a big deal.  The guides will gather up the group and bring you all to the area where you get geared up and go over all of the equipment and safety measures.  When I first visited Banning Mills I was nervous, having never done this before, I wanted to make sure it is safe.  Well let me tell you, they take safety VERY serious, and this put all my worries to rest.  Once you get all geared up your journey begins with a sky bridge to the first tower.

 

There are five zip lining packages you can choose from, every time I have gone I have done the “pattern plus” tour, So I can only reference the first three portions of the tour.  Once you cross the sky bridge you start the “forest” tour.  There are nine zip lines that zigzag through the woods.  These nine zip lines are okay, but for a true rush you need to press on to the other tours.  It is my feeling that the “forest” tour is geared more towards kids and maybe first timers in hopes of making you more comfortable.

 

As you move through the forest you go from platform to platform.  There is always a guide on the sending platform and one on the receiving platform making sure you are strapped in safely and landing safely.  The forest tour ends almost where it begins and you will take a few minute break before the “pattern” tour.  They have an area to sit and rest and get some water if needed.  Yup I said sit and rest, it amazed me how much energy it took to do this, good work out.  If you decide to continue on this is where the real fun begins.

 

The first zip line on this tour is ABOVE the trees, and over the creek.  It is also a dueling zip line, meaning there are two side by side so if you want to race your buddy you can.  After this zip line there is a another break area for water, and I suggest loading up for whats ahead.  for the rest of this part of the day you will move from platform to platform via sky bridges, and the guides encourage you to have fun and see if you can’t knock the person off in front of you.  The guides were very clear though, if anyone at anytime asks you to stop shaking the bridges you must stop, and this rule seemed to be followed rigidly when I was there.  These sky bridges are a blast, I found that I was more scared on these then the zip lines.  With all of the bridge shaking going on, I never once saw anyone fall off, so it’s not that bad.  Oh and if you fall you shouldn’t die you are strapped in!!

 

 

 

There are two more zip lines left for this portion of the tour, bringing your total to twelve zip lines so far. This portion of the day ends where the “pattern plus” tour begins, and I will tell you the third portion of the tour is worth every penny.  There are three zip lines on this tour, however one them is only about fifteen feet long, so I don’t count that.  My two favorites  are on this tour, you start out with a 1600′ zip line where a chubby guy like me reaches speeds of 60 mph.  After the first zip line you will take a short walk to the final zip line.  On the way to the last one we passed a 600′ sky bridge that is on the fourth tour.  I have never done this sky bridge, but I will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final zip line isn’t the longest, but it is one of the prettiest.  You will follow along the creek the length of the zip line, only about 30′ above the creek, great way to end the “pattern plus” tour.  Now that you are done with your 15 zip lines they will try to up sell you to the Power Free Fall.  I bit, had to try it.  What is the Power Free Fall you ask, it is a free fall jump off of the tenth story of a 15 story tower.  I was ABSOLUTLEY terrified, I kid you not my knees were shaking, never been so scared.  You will have a special harness and you are hooked via rope (not bungee) to a fan type apparatus that slows you as you close in on the ground.  Incredible rush, so glad I did it.  They let you jump twice, why twice you ask as I did.  Well you are so terrified on the first jump you can’t really enjoy it, the second jump is far more relaxed and enjoyable.

 

You will notice in the picture to the left they also have a climbing wall.  In fact it is the worlds tallest free-standing climbing wall topping out at 150′.  The guide told me that so far only two of the guides have made it to the top, they said it was incredibly exhausting.  The wall can only be climbed with groups and does require advance notice.

Your experience is what you make it.  I was kind of bummed at first that we were grouped together with other people, this feeling ended real fast.  You will have at least one thing in common with all of them, I mean you are all zip lining together.  It was fun to talk with the other people, and listen to their zip lining stories from around the world.  Banning Mills has so much more to offer then just zip lining.  They have horseback riding, great hiking, a birds of prey show, and it is also a B&B!!!  I may not have totally done Banning Mills justice for another review you can click on this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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