Ziplines: Height, Speed, and A Lot of History
By Communications Department
Ziplines are, in this day and age, one of the star attractions at many theme, attraction, and water parks.
Some of them are big, some are small. With some, you land over the earth, with others, you end up in the water… there are some that start out quite high and others that are more moderate in height. But what they all have in common is the fun they bring about… and, sometimes, that little fear of ‘free falling.’
At Aqualandia, we have ziplines alongside other attractions in our Lagoon – they are a place of relaxation and adventure for the whole family where you’ll be able to fly from high up and fall into the water. It’s a very fun fall that you can’t miss, in addition to the feeling of flying along the way. And, the fact of the matter is that we really like ziplines; but, do we know where they come from?
The zipline’s origins come from the region of Tyrol. Centuries ago, in this region of the Alps, Italian soldiers used ziplines in their rescue efforts. Thanks to these ziplines, it was possible to move over great distances quickly while avoiding the most rugged terrain of the mountains.
As the years went by, it became obsolete to use the zipline for rescue efforts, as helicopters and planes began to be used. It was then when the zipline began to extend its functionality, likewise changing its materials to make it much safer. When the rope was changed to steel, the zipline began to be used for fun and adventure.
Ziplines are still currently used by the military in their training; however, in practice, almost all the world’s ziplines have a more leisure-related purpose. The highest one in the world is in South Africa – it measures 280 meters high. The fastest one is in Wales, reaching speeds of 180 km per hour.
When the zipline began to be used in fun and adventure parks, there was a revolution in its design and it became safer with the use of harnesses, helmets, etc. Everything is adapted to the type of zipline, distance, height, etc. What all ziplines have in common is their basic system of operation: a system of pulleys that allows riders to glide down a cable.
However, at water parks like Aqualandia, the zipline system is a little different from the original one and from that used at adventure parks because we want riders to fall into the water before getting to the end.
Those who go down a zipline at a water park are not attached by a harness like in the mountain; instead, they hold onto a mechanism that slides down the cable and is equipped with a type of handle. Thus, riders go down the zipline with their arms above their heads and their body dangling vertically in the air. Whenever they are ready, they can let themselves fall into the pool. It’s a really fun fall that acts as the end of a journey in which riders are suspended in the air – a journey that offers sensations that are very different from those offered by the rest of the park’s attractions. It’s not so extreme, but the feeling of freedom is indeed unique.
In a few months, we’ll be able to slide down our ziplines once again… we can hardly wait! Meanwhile, we can continue to remember the fun we had last summer with that feeling of flying over the pool.