ZipLine Hilton Head to open 'playground in sky' near Broad Creek

dburley@islandpacket.comMarch 26, 2014 

A new attraction opening next week near Broad Creek Marina on Hilton Head Island puts participants on a playground in the sky.

Aerial Adventure Hilton Head, built by the owner of ZipLine Hilton Head, includes rope swings, suspended bridges and climbing walls for visitors to play on, up to 60 feet in the air.

Owner Roger Freedman said the aerial obstacle courses will attract a broader audience and offer an alternative to his zip line tour, which opened two years ago despite some who worried it was not in keeping with an island aura in which nature is preserved and attractions blend into their surroundings.

Town officials say Freedman's newest venture suits the island and enhances efforts to boost eco-tourism.

"I think it's perfectly in keeping with the town's aesthetic," Mayor Drew Laughlin said Wednesday.

Tucked beside the zip line tour on about 15 acres, the aerial adventure offers six obstacle courses of varying difficulty and height.

Climbers wear helmets, gloves and harnesses. The harnesses are attached to a cable hanging above each course, to catch the visitors if they fall.

Led by guides, visitors climb, swing, bounce and crawl through the courses at their leisure for as long as two hours. The cost is $49 a visitor, Freedman said. He declined to say how much the courses cost to build.

"This seemed like the perfect complement to the zip line tour," he said.

About 95 percent of his zip line tour patrons are tourists, he added. He hopes the new attraction captures a wider audience, such as energetic youngsters living in the area or corporate workers looking for a team-building exercise.

"This really broadens the spectrum," he said. "And it's more physical, so there's that aspect as well."

His zip line tour has had about 43,000 guests since it opened in 2012, his wife, Pam Freedman, said.

Before it opened, some town officials worried the zip line tour's 75-foot tower and cables strung along the tree canopy would harm Hilton Head' scenic beauty. Other residents across Broad Creek were concerned the tour would bring late-night noise, light and mischief.

Roger Freedman said those have been "non-issues."

He said he purposefully built the zip line tour to blend into the surrounding woods, as he did with his new attraction.

Laughlin agreed and said he wasn't bothered by the obstacle courses.

"In fact, I think it will be nice for our younger residents," he said.

Town manager Steve Riley said the new aerial courses were not a sign that the island -- with attractions such as Freedman's and the recently announced service that offers jet-pack rides above Hilton Head waters -- was embracing an amusement park mentality.

"We have family resorts with not enough things for families to do, so (the obstacle courses) give another option," he said Tuesday. "And frankly, I think they are a good business prospect."

Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

Related content:

  • Hilton Head officials go high and low to launch zip line park, April 12, 2012: http://bit.ly/1hYDheV
  • Island planning commissioners OK outdoor recreation additions at Broad Creek, May 4, 2011: http://bit.ly/OVnZiH

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