Once upon a time there was a little girl who longed to ride a roller coaster just like her big sister. So one day her parents took her to Storyland while vacationing in New Hampshire. There she would ride the penguin coaster, a roller coaster just big enough for this precocious 5 year old, who knew herself to be brave and love all things speedy.
The ride was simple. It went up a tiny hill, down a tiny hill, curved to the side over a pond and repeated one more time before it was finished.
The curve was what did it. Cruising through the air at surely ten miles per hour at least, this little girl decided then and there that roller coasters were not for her. Where were the breaks? What if she fell into that pond on the curve. It didn’t matter that she didn’t fall; it was the mere fact that she could. That was enough. She was done with roller coasters. End of story.
Or so she thought.
This fear grew as the years went by. She didn’t like rides where she couldn’t control her own speed. Oh sure she loved hitting the gas pedal in her car and going well over the speed limit. She even had high hopes of driving an F1 racer one day, but roller coasters. No. Even high slides at the county fair intimidated her. She knew she would never be the bravest girl, but there were plenty of others things a gal could do.
And then she visited Sevierville, Tenn.
Well if you haven’t guess that girl is me. It’s true. I’ll fly for 15+ hours with a baby and toddler, but no way will I go on a roller coaster. The idea is always appealing, but the reality not so much. Even snowboarding down a steep hill gets my heart pumping. It’s an irrational fear but there you have it.
When I was in Seiverville in early June I knew I would have to conquer this fear and fast. I was scheduled to check out a ropes course, zip lining, water slides and a jet boat. The boat I had no problem with. I love anything having to do with the water. There is safety in it for me in some way. Ropes course I figured I could deal with; that wouldn’t include speed, but the zip lining. Oh the zip lining.
I marched myself up to the harness station at Adrenaline Park. I put on that harness system, which looked rather comfy. I got on the platform, was hooked up, and planted my feet on the wall. Wait. They were going to drop out the wall and send me on my way. I’m not sure about this people! I felt the panic begin to rise. I wanted to do this. I wanted to fly through the air, over a river at 55-65 miles per hour. Ummm… yes. Yes I did. There was a 13 year old willing to give it a go for the first time. How could I be more afraid than a 13 year old?! (OK, we know the answer to that one. I have a healthy sense of my own mortality at this point). I was close to tears, but no, I was going to do this. I took several deep breaths and told them to just do it. Don’t wait for me to be ready. I’d never be ready.
The bottom dropped out. I sucked in a lung full of air and screamed a word I would never say in front of my kids. Thankfully no one heard as we went whooshing down the line. That initial drop over the cliff was the worst part. My stomach plummeted down the cliff. I hung onto my harness for dear life. The 13 year old was letting her arms rest beside her, enjoying the feeling of the rushing air. By the time we were over the river I settled in for my ride. This wasn’t so bad. I couldn’t even tell that I was going 60 miles per hour. Oh wait. What’s that? Oh just the end where I would get whiplash from the stopper at the bottom. Where was the break on this thing!?
No breaks to be had I hit the stop at full speed, but no neck snap occurred. I did a little half flip up and my feet hit a soft cushion. Huh… that wasn’t so bad. Miracle of miracles I was still alive, no bodily harm had occurred and most surprising of all, I was contemplating doing it again. What!?
That’s right folks, this fast flying, coaster hating gal went down the zip line for a second time. I still left my stomach on that cliff during the initial drop, but as we flew over the river I let my arms relax and enjoyed the wind in my hair.
This was not the last time I would zip line in Sevierville, but it was certainly the fastest and most thrilling one I would experience (except the Vortex at Wilderness at the Smokies, but that is a different story). Was it worth the stress and panic attack? Most definitely. I’m addicted now. Sign me up for that next zip line adventure! Will I be terrified again? Of course, what kind of reasonable lady do you think I am? Will I ever ride a roller coast? Probably not, but you just never know. That 5-year-old little girl would be impressed that her older self even thought about zip lining. My boys may convince me to be a coaster queen. They are already begging to go on one. Good thing their dad is a coaster king.
Know before you go
- Adrenaline Park, 168 Lee Greenwood Way, Sevierville (Kodak), TN 37764
- Height restrictions: you must be 42” or taller in order to zip line
- Available activities: Zip lining (4 lines span the river), jet boat, glass bottom bridge
- Strollers? Since this is an adventure sport location, a stroller really isn’t necessary unless you want a place for the baby to sit while you wait for your family to have their adventures. Babies will only be able to walk out on the glass bottom bridge.
- Food available: Yes, snacks are available inside, along with gifts to bring back for your loved ones (tshirts, stuffed animals, postcards, etc.)
- Other activities: Glass bottom sky bridge and jet boats