By HANNAH FARROW
On Sept. 15, Treehoppers, a new adventure zip line park, opened in Dade City. On the same property, SCREAM-A-GEDDON, a haunted house, opened on Sept. 19. Both are only a 40 minute drive from UT.
Treehoppers’ general manager Cary Tear said the park isn’t like a typical zip line park. Instead of a mile-and-a-half long zip line ride, the course includes wooden bridges, ropes and tunnels, making this one of the few parks of its kind in the state.
“We want [the participants] to focus more on the challenges and conquering the obstacles. Then they can reward themselves with the zip line,” Tear said.
The eight different courses and 100 different elements range from yellow, the beginner course, which is closest to the ground, to double black, the expert course, which is 50 feet in the air. The levels increase in difficulty from yellow to green to blue to black and then, the most strenuous, double black. In order to even attempt the double black, participants must complete both the green and blue courses or the blue and black courses.
Upper body strength is a must when attempting to complete the double black. Some elements rely strictly on balance and strength.
“Only six of the 2,000 people that have been here so far have completed all courses,” Tear explained.
Paige Transue, a freshman at Pasco-Hernando State College and a monitor at Treehoppers, said she went through a week-long training, complete with a test, to start her job.
“What’s most rewarding is when a participant gets stuck and needs saving,” Transue said.
“I like the one-on-one experience where I can prove I know what I’m doing,” she explained. Some participants get tired and physically can’t go on.
Treehoppers’ trees are all safe and certified by an arborist who inspected each tree to insure that they will not collapse. According to the director of marketing John Pianki, the safety inspector said Treehoppers’ harnesses are the safest he has ever seen.
Treehoppers adds another adventuring outlet for Floridians, but it’s just the beginning. While the park is currently 13 acres, the company owns 60 acres of land to build upon in the future.
One attraction being featured at Treehoppers is SCREAM-A-GEDDON, voted Best New Haunt by USA’s Best Haunted Houses. The park opened last weekend and will remain open until Nov. 1. The haunted house is interactive, meaning characters have the right to get closer than usual if a waiver is signed allowing them to do so.
In a press release, Pianki said, “SCREAM-A-GEDDON is a brand new type of horror park that Central Florida has never experienced before. Simply put, words can’t describe the terror within. It truly needs to be experienced in order to be believed.”
SCREAM-A-GEDDON will be Howl-O-Scream’s biggest competitor, according to Tear. There are six attractions, including a haunted hayride and Bedlam 3D.
According to the website, “Bedlam could be thought of as pandemonium and anarchy, but you could also say that it’s immersion in the chaos of the unknown. You’ll experience all of these in the craziness of the maze, and it will have you running for your life. The clowns that fill Bedlam 3D will terrorize you, chase you and try to consume your flesh.”
The same company that opened SCREAM-A-GEDDON owns Indy Scream Park in Indianapolis, the number-one haunted house in the country, according to USA’s Best Haunted Houses.
Treehoppers is open 8am-7pm every day. SCREAM-A-GEDDON is open 7:30pm-11 or 1am every day except Mondays and Tuesdays. Tickets for SCEAM-A-GEDDON range from $19.95 to $29.95 and tickets for Treehoppers range from $29 to $49 for adults. Both parks offer group discounts.
Hannah Farrow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org