Green Mama: Aerial Adventure Parks in Western MA

Hilltown Families Contributing Writer

Never Felt Greener

Aerial Adventure Park at Jiminy Peak in Hancock, MA. (Photo credit: Kelly Bevan McIlquham)

“We were really green today.” That’s what my daughter said to me one day early in spring after we had spent the majority of the day outside being active. We had even forgone the car that day and bicycled to and from our destination — the lake, less than a mile away.

I don’t think I’ve heard those words since. Not that we didn’t spend a lot of time outdoors this summer. How couldn’t we? The weather in the Berkshires was absolutely amazing. But much of our time (when we had time) was spent lounging on the dock or riding around in the boat dragging a skier or tuber or knee-boarder behind us.

We were active, but not the “green” active my daughter was so excited about that day. The kind of active that gets you outside, among nature and trees. The kind of active that involves hiking or biking or some other kind of physical activity that leaves you feeling refreshed and exhilarated and frankly (I know this might sound a little cheesy), but one with the outdoors.

Zipping from platform to platform whets an appetite for adventure. (Photo credit: Kelly Bevan McIlquham)

Well last week that all changed. I spent a day with John Ireland and Lisa Conroy, the owner and director of programming and training respectively at Absolutely Experiential, a local company that designs, builds, inspects and repairs challenge courses, aerial adventure parks, and zip line canopy tours. Not sure what any of things are? Think zip lining through the trees suited up in a harness and clipped onto a belay wire: canopy tour. Or wearing that same harness and clipping into that same wire, but this time navigating a variety of obstacles like rope ladders, cargo nets and zip lines all on your own, and 10, 15 and 20 feet above the grown: aerial adventure park.

These attractions, especially the aerial adventure parks, are a fast-growing trend and I was interested in finding out what all the fuss was about. So John, Lisa and I ventured to Jiminy Peak in Hancock, MA to try out their aerial adventure park which the company installed and Jiminy opened this spring.

In meeting up with the pair, one of my first questions, obviously, was: Why are these parks suddenly cropping up all over the place?

“Kind of what has happened is Europe, they’re big in the parks and down in South America and the Islands they’re big in the canopy tour,” John said. “There’s an emergence of both the adventure parks and the canopy tours in this country, and I think it’s because people are experiencing the canopy tours down in South America and the Islands coming back and saying, ‘those are so cool,’ and then people over in Europe visiting there and experiencing the adventure parks and coming back and saying, ‘man those adventure parks are cool,’ and (the resorts, etc.) seeing this wide open market. And now they’re exploding.”

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