This article was written a few months ago, just before leaving Indy, and I forgot to post it. I feel the urge now, as I had promised to post a comparison between the two courses. So, here it is:
Ziplining is fun, no doubt about it. Jumping off a 200 ft platform into nothingness, suspended only by a rope around your waist attached to a cable line that hangs above the gaping abyss comprised of rocks, wide chasms, and darkness. Okay, so it is a trifle scary. But isn’t that what life is all about? Having the courage to take that giant leap into nothing, and bring the old ticker to life every now and then? Indeed there are those of us who can muster up the gumption to jump into the gaping jaws of oblivion, offerred by Louisville’s Megacavern, but for others, there is the well-lit, outdoor GoApe adventure course.
View of Eagle’s Creek, from the 40ft zipline platform. Nothing picturesque, just exercising my right to take a photo….because I can!
Comparing the two fun-filled, adrenalin-manufacturing courses, there are a few distinctly opposite features: One is dark and underground, the other is lit and above ground; one is a full obstacle course, while the other is limited to just ziping the line and walking to the next one; swinging from tree-topt to tree-top, one inspire you to break out your Tarzan moves, while the other plunges you deep into your Egor groove, as you float around sombre grottos amidst stalactites and stalagmites.
Some practise zips at Megacavern, Louisville
There are obviously choices to make even in the simple pleasure of hanging suspended from a thin line between life and death. Well, for the not-so-faint-of-heart you can try both courses, for the fastidious, here is a comparison chart help in narrowing the selection.
1. Megacavern is cavernous and sparsely lit, and it can be a bit unsettling jumping off a 200 feet tall platform into a dismal, resounding emptiness. But then there is comfort in that darkness since you cannot see quite how high above ground you are (the range is approximatley 100 – 200 feet; just an fyi), so you are actually oblivious to your oblivion (you got that right? I don’t need to explain it….no? yes? Come on!)
Megacaverns: I am somewhere in there….ah yes! the fuzzy blob in the middle.
GoApe, being above ground and amongst trees allows you to see where you are going (thus, you know exactly where you will be falling if you do go flying off).
2. The sights in Megacavern are absolutely gorgeous with the formation of stalagmites and stalactites. But then so are the views from the platforms of the GoApe course. And while GoApe allows you to take photos to your heart’s delight (well, truth be told, your heart is too occupied with the effort to calm itself, to be having any desires), Megacavern prohibits any cameras on the course (that is half the fun gone! Now you can’t post those eye-bulging selfies!)
At the end of the line, you are pulled to safety by the attendant
3. One of the factors that won me over to the side of the GoApe course is the obstacle course that goes along with the ziplining. Megacavern lacks that, as one travels from one line to the other by a leisurely walk (with the group). They do have obstacle courses, but they are not included in the zip.
That’s me, on the obstacle course in-between zips at GoApe, Indy
Amanda, trying very hard to focus…..objective: the other side.
4. Another plus for GoApe is that you can move independently through the courses (the guides are below you in the event that you encounter trouble or decide to not continue the course), but Megacavern course is guided. Like the prep-school human train, you are not allowed to move out of the sight or holler reach of the guide, but instead, like the cave-dweller that you are, you must mvoe in packs. They (guides) even hook you into the glides (which admittedly is nice, but then if you do fall off, who is around to prove culpability?).
There are definitely pros and cons for this aspect, and while it is nice and assures you that you are safely buckled in and attached by the expert, it removes the sense of adventure you would experience from going through the course wild and unassisted.
But don’t worry, if you decide to embrace your inner nature and make for the trees, you will be properly schooled and tested for about 30 minutes by the GoApe folks before they allow you to fly solo…..and to boot, they are following you around the entire time, just to remind you if you are being neglectful or absent-minded.
Guess who volunteered to demonstrate the first zip at GoApe? Yeah!
5. And of course, being American, in the final analysis, our decisions typically shake down to how many dead presidents is this going to cost me? And can I get my constitutional rights to go with that? Yes, we Americans love choices. So if you are looking for the latitude to change dates, cancel at the last-minute, re-assigning your ticket, and all those fun things that drive the service folk crazy, then GoApe is your man (well, homo sapien!), as Megacaverns will tell you, no such animal reside here!
At the big MG, you are married to the date (not date as in the femme du jour, date as in Monday, Tuesday, etc) you purchased. But fret not, if you must cancel, at least you did not pay full price, right? That’s right, I’ve got you covered (no, I’m not paying for your ticket, silly!). Coupons, Coupons, and Groupons!
In addition, both companies offer senior and student discounted rates.
Great, you are all set. Now to allay any fears that you may still be harbouring about heights or monkeying around, it bears noting that in both courses, the guides are most attentive, in addition to being absolutely charming, patient, and jovial….uhm, did I mention patient? Yes, they are, and if you change your mind about jumping after making it all the way to the top, well, no worries, as no-one is posting it on FB (I don’t think so, but I could be wrong….I’ve been wrong before).
Personally, I must add that I find the GoApe folks to be more interactive and off-the-cuff, while the MG folks, although they are personable enough, they seem to have theirs well-rehearsed….scripted.
Either way its well worth the money if you have the urge to get out of the house and ‘hang-out’ with friends (got it? Good heavens, do I have to explain everything!) So go forth and swing from tree to tree and conquer the women,…….er, I meant world! Have fun, and GoApe….Why? Because it is better (and safer for everyone) than going postal!!
Oh, and at the end of it, you get your certificate of completion – to prove that you are a bona fide ape!
PS: I was reminded about this post by the recent article about the woman falling to her death at the GoApe course in Delaware. Very sad! I will say though that this (GoApe) is one of my favourite adventure spots in Indy (Eagle Creek Park), and I am not one to trifle with safety. But it goes to show that accidents can happen even under the strictest of conditions.
My condolences to the family of Tina Werner.