Zip into Gulf Islands Water Park for this weekend’s opening of Zip’N Fun Adventure Park

GULFPORT -- One zip line ride is never enough, so the new Zip'N Fun Adventure Park has several, including some that zip riders right above the road leading to Gulf Islands Water Park.

The water park will open in May for its 11th season, but adults and children can be the first to try the new zip lines and adventure course this weekend.

Because it's a long weekend, the park will be open all day today, Sunday and Monday starting at 10 a.m.

Mark Moore, general manager of the parks, describes the new attraction as an "aerial obstacle course." Zip lines keep the adrenalin flowing between the challenges of climbing ladders and navigating ropes. The action stations comes all in a line, with the easiest first.

"From the moment you are on the course you are feeling that movement," he said.

ZIP'N FUN ADVENTURE PARK

It took three years to imagine and nine months to build the course on 2 acres leased from the city. Moore doesn't know of any attraction like this for hundreds of miles.

It's meant to be a challenge. The Tree-Top Course for adults is 40 feet at its highest, Moore said. "You get a squirrel's eye view of what's going on."

A group of about 15 people sets out on the course every 30 minutes. Most people will spend 45 minutes to 2 hours on the course, he said, beginning with a safety briefing and being fitted with a harness. The weight limit is 285 pounds.

Kids must be at least 36 inches tall to take on the Junior Adventure. They're also harnessed in at all times, he said, and are never more than about 3 feet of the ground.

"Mom and Dad can walk along and take all the pictures they want," he said.

Reservations can be made online and the cost is $34.99 for the adult course and $19.99 for the junior course. Through April 30, the online code ZIP 10 gets participants $10 off.

Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes, who rappeled down the side of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino last year, was one of the first to look over the course Friday.

He rode a zip line course at Callaway Gardens in Georgia and was excited when he learned a kids' and adults' course was coming to Gulfport.

"It's one more attraction to add to the (tourism) offering," he said.

David D'Aquilla, director of Gulfport's Department of Leisure Services, said Gulfport hosted more than 2,400 ball teams and 50 events last year at the adjacent Sportsplex.

"Close to 70,000 people," he said. Beyond those families trying the Adventure Park between games, he sees the potential for teams returning in their off season for team-building skills.

"This is the type of things teams are looking to do," he said.

Moore said the water park will open May 7 and season tickets are available now at a discount price.

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