Erin was invited to a birthday party for one of her friends this evening, at the new Boathouse District on the Oklahoma Rive, south of downtown.
We’ve watched the building of the river area, and the boathouses, with some interest over the past couple years, but this was the first time there for us.
It’s a pretty cool complex. I was struck by how the age spread for the activities works out. There is a pretty nice big toy for the little ones to play on. It’s under a huge canopy, so that helps with rain or Oklahoma summer temps. This area has a couple swinging and spinning toys that are a lot of fun.
Next door is what is essentially an open-air moonwalk/trampoline toy. I was surprised that you could get a pretty good grip on the fabric with bare feet or socks. This thing is a BLAST. I bounced up and down a couple hundred times (and I can just feel that in my neck somewhat). This area also had a rubber band launcher for little ones, and an small version of the adventure trail on the big tower.
There was a triple-route climb tower and a larger triple version of the rubber band launcher as well. These were a portable version, but hopefully they are a permanent part of the area (or there will be a permanent set built).
One thing I liked was a small bicycle track with some bumps and steep turns. It was about 75′ long total.
This is the tower:
I’m guessing this is 100+ft off the ground. The thing with the most press is, of course, the zipline. It takes you from the top across the Oklahoma River to a similar tower. To get back, you run up to the top of the south tower and zipline back!
But the zipline is only one part. There is an enclosed climbing area for smaller friends at the north foot of the tower. There is a free-fall drop from the top on the west side (it looks like this uses the same type of automatic belaying devices used in the Rocktown climbing area). There is a slide (from the TOP!) on the east side. These are all very cool.
But the tower itself as an adventure trail. Check out this view of the interior, looking up.
A little explanation; before you can go up to zipline, you get a harness put on, and you are hooked into a self-belaying system that fits into tracks in the tower components, and protects you the entire way up (there is a small version of this on the kids adventure trail). So you can hook into the tower and walk safely all the way up. BUT, each of the tower rails, and the crosspieces you can see in the picture, have various kinds of walking surfaces you can negotiate. The things that look like ladders? The single cables? Those are things you walk on. The structural components as well. There are four levels of those!
Finally, there is an area under a large tent for birthday parties and such. That’s nice.
The only real thing I could complain about would be the zipline times. Erin went up to take a turn at about 1815, and didn’t get done until 2010. Two hours of waiting, and she had only about 10 people in front of her. That’s 12 minutes per person. There were a couple instances where the zipliner didn’t quite make it all the way to the other end, and a staff member had to clip on the line and go pull them back in; that’s understandable. But there was a LOT of (what appeared to me) staffers at the two ends of the zip line just standing there. That is going to have to speed up.
Things that I hope are being considered:
Some restrooms. I didn’t see even any porta-potties out there.
There is one converted cargo shipping container that is used for a ticket window and for selling drinks and snacks. They will need another drink/snack stand, with some sitting areas, as this place gets more popular.
It would be smart to put a cover over the kids bouncy thing and related play areas, like the one over the big toy. Oklahoma gets too hot in the summer for those to be safe.
It may be there, but I think that there should be a trail from the Bass Pro Shop area to the zipline area. I have not explored the area fully, so don’t know.
They should consider putting in another bike track, maybe on the other side of the tower.
And it will be hugely popular, I think. This is good for OKC, and good for the community. I hope they plan on being open late.
I wonder what they do if someone freaks after the first zipline, and refuses to zip back?