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Niagara Falls, Ont., zip line offers new thrill into gorge

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – There’s a new thrill penetrating the mist of the Horseshoe Falls – folks zip lining, 2,200 feet into and across the Niagara Gorge.

WildPlay MistRider Zipline is on track to debut Friday, but staffers, their friends and family members began testing the ride over the weekend. The official grand opening/ribbon-cutting is scheduled for July 20.

Lindsay DiCosimo, marketing manager of WildPlay MistRider, called the ride “phenomenal,” with “spectacular views” of both the American and Horseshoe falls.

“It’s a completely different perspective for people,” DiCosimo said.

The ride at 5850 River Road in the Grandview Marketplace is accessed from an elevator outside the tower used by Hornblower Cruises. Riders – who must be at least 7 years old and weigh between 65 and 300 pounds – are escorted up to the launch tower and fitted into a paragliding harness before being hooked up to one of the four zip lines. With the Horseshoe Falls looming as backdrop, each line carries riders 2,200 feet into and over the gorge to another platform – the zip trip lasting about one minute. Shuttle vans return riders to the starting point.

“You don’t have to jump off the platform. It’s a completely guided experience,” said DiCosimo. “The guides release you and then you are flying down into the gorge at speeds reaching (37 mph), and then you are greeted by another guide at the landing platform. It’s an automatic braking system so you won’t have to stop yourself. We do all the work for you.”

“If you put your arms and legs out, like a starfish, you can make the ride last a little longer. That’s what I like to do,” she added.

The entire experience is described as smooth enough to allow you to have a conversation with other riders or wave down to friends and family below.

WildPlay, described as a “playground in the air for adults,” is based in British Columbia and has four parks in British Columbia and one in Alberta, also. DiCosimo said online bookings have already started at Wildplay.com.

DiCosimo said developing MistRider Zipline and another WildPlay attraction set to open over the weekend, the Whirlpool Adventure Course, has taken three years of work and planning with the Niagara Parks Commission.

The Adventure Course, at 3351 Niagara River Parkway, features the “What’s to Fear Jump,” a bungee leap 40 feet above the ground. Set above the whirlpools and Niagara Gorge, it also features dozens of cliffside climbing, jumping and swinging games. A special adventure course for kids and an extreme course will open in August.

The attractions are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through October, with seasonal openings in April or May, depending on the weather. Ticket packages vary and more information is available on the WildPlay website.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com