Did you know that there's an option for going wild in Bellevue? Opened in 2014, Bellevue Zip Tour is a two-and-half hour zip line experience through the old maples and Douglas firs of Eastgate Park. With seven zip lines that can whisk people at speeds up to 35 mph, the course will make your kids (or you) feel like Indiana Jones on a jungle adventure.
Last summer, I took a test drive with my 12-year-old son and his friend. After getting a safety orientation and putting on a harness and helmet, we followed our certified guides into the trees and onto the zip lines.
The course's zip lines range from 76 to 450 feet in length. The highest zip line is 80 feet off the ground. The speed you'll travel (up to 35 mph) depends on your weight and the weather conditions.
As a mom I appreciated the tour's emphasis on safety. I could relax and enjoy watching my son and his friend zoom across the lines, knowing our equipment had been triple checked before we launched and that the guides are certified (according to Association for Challenge Course Technology standards). We also enjoyed the educational components: the guides pointed out interesting facts about the forest, such as a tree that had been struck by lightening.
The bottom line: The Bellevue Zip Tour gives a whoopworthy ride and I enjoyed the experience as much as the boys. My son declared at the end of the ride that he “couldn’t wait to go back."
Who can go
The minimum age to participate in the Bellevue Zip Tour is nine and the weight range allowed is a minimum of 60 pounds and a maximum of 275. Expectant mothers and individuals with heart conditions are not allowed to ride.
Each participant on the Bellevue Zip Tour must have a signed waiver. If you are bringing a child under age 18 with you, he or she must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian in order to participate. A printable waiver can be found here.
While the tour is perfect for thrill seekers like my son, if you have a child who is afraid of heights or challenged by listening and following directions, they may not enjoy it as much as we did.
The course is a joint project of the City of Bellevue and Northwest Teambuilding.
Schedule: From May 7 to June 7, Thursday to Sunday, the tour is open with 5-6 tours a day.
Booking a tour: Book at 425-425-4240 or online at Bellevue's My Parks and Recreation site; search on the word “zip.”
Arrive: You must arrive 20 minutes prior to your schedule session at the South Bellevue Community Center for registration and a mandatory equipment fitting and safety orientation. Late arrivals will not be permitted to zip at their schedule time and will be scheduled for a later time.
Prices: Adults are $69 and youth $44, which includes all the equipment you need to zip including helmets and harness.
Tips: It will be easier to slip on your harness if you wear yoga pants or other close-fitting and flexible exercise clothes. Your hands will also remain more comfortable and clean if you also wear close-fitting, flexible gloves. Bring a light jacket with a zip-up pocket to keep your cell phone and car keys with you on the ride.
Pair with: Lunch or playtime at Crossroads Shopping Center, or head downtown for delicious burgers, shakes and fries at Bellevue’s Lunchbox Laboratory.
4 other zip line tours around the Sound
Canopy Tours’ guided zip line tour, Camano Island
How does zipping through a stunning, 234-acre sustainably managed forest on Camano Island sound? Canopy Tours' course includes six zip lines through the trees, plus short trail walks and a 47-foot final rappel. Weight range requirement is 65 pounds minimum to 300 pounds maximum and guests ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Prices: $47 youth (ages 9–17); $74 adults for a 2.5-hour tour
Zip Wild at Northwest Trek, Eatonville
Zip Wild offers four zip line challenge courses: Super Kid for ages six and up, Discover for ages eight and up, Adventure for ages 10 and up and the 80-foot-high Sensation for adults 18 and up.
Dates: Course is weekends until late June; from then until September 1, it will be open daily. In September, it's weekends only.
Prices: All course fees must also be purchased in addition to a Northwest Trek admission or membership: Super Kid (ages 6 and up) is $19.95, Discovery (ages 8 and up) $29.95, Adventure (ages 10 and up) $39.95 and Sensation (ages 18 and up) $59.95. Reservations and more information available on the Trek website.
Zoom Deep Forest Challenge Course and Zip Line, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
The two courses are designed for thrills and a good workout. The Super Kid Course is for ages five and up while ages eight and up can tackle the more challenging Discovery Course that includes a long scenic zip ride over part of the zoo.
Dates: Course opens May 3, weekends only until June 21; from then until September 1, it will be open daily. In September, it's weekends only again.
Prices: All course fees must also be purchased in addition to a Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium admission or membership: Super Kid (ages 5 and up) costs $19.95, Discovery Course (ages 8 and up) is $29.95. Reservations and more information available online.
Aerial Adventure Park, Woodinville
Adventura is located behind the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville and offers a challenge course mixed with zip line. It's for ages 7 and up, 65 to 250 lbs.
Dates: The course is open April 1 through Oct. 31, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Prices: $100 a session and participants are welcome to play on the course for up to two hours. Reservations and more information is available on Adventura’s website. Watch for occasional half price admissions for the course on Groupon.