Lawson Adventure Park recently opened just outside of Idaho Springs, an outdoor funhouse for children and adventurous, non-conforming adults who act like children. We made it out to the park grounds early to ZORB, rock climb, and pretty much die on the Gyro Extreme.
The ticketing building is right off of I-70 and we stopped their first to get harnessed. Naturally we were a group of adults paired with two small and excited boy scouts but that did not deter us. We got all strapped into our harnesses and nodded with the same gusto as we took in the varied rules and regulations. After a few giggles and “Get in the van” shouts on our behalf, we were all piled in, harnessed up and off to achieve our weeklong dream of ZORBing.
The first task we were handed was a challenge course. We were locked in by metal hooks to a web of wires overhead, and required to transfer often. The hooks were hard to get the hang of and made us all feel like we had crab hands, and were generally confusing. The hooks are triggered by finicky magnets that only unlocked when you pushed the claw against the wire just so, instigating a few frustrated, overzealous bang-arounds. Our patient trip guides came to show us the way multiple times, advising us to “be gentle now”. Their expertise was welcomed and needed. We finally got the hang of the hooks and we were climbing up the rope net like any good boy scout should.
The challenge course was aptly named as it was definitely a challenge. The cargo net sprawl marked the beginning of our day and adventure at Lawson. Although our visit was a few days ago our shoulders are still sore from attempting to scramble up the net like a Navy Seal. Once we pulled ourselves up onto the platform the world was ours to take. From a miner’s swing to a rope bridge and a moon walk we moved carefully through the challenge course like 4 adult toddlers in the treehouse of our dreams. We ended the ropes course with a short zip line and an easy rappel to the ground.
From there we decided to venture to the bungee trampoline, Gyro Extreme, bull riding and rock climbing wall. The bungee trampoline was way more of a workout than expected but also helped you defy gravity and master those pesky backflips. On a side note, the harnesses for the trampoline, rock climbing and challenge course have a tendency to ride up. Take it from us, harnesses and Levi’s cut-offs do not mesh. Wear pants.
The Gyro Extreme is intense. So intense that similar models are used to train astronauts. Yeah, those people that go into space and save the planet, otherwise known as Matt Damon. The longest you are allowed to be in the spinning sphere of terror is 2 minutes, but you’ll probably ride for shorter. Before entering the metal circle we were told a cautionary tale of a carnival worker in Florida that allowed his friends to ride for 7 minutes as a “hook up” which ultimately led to their demise... Oh Florida. Although making us feel like we had just woken up from a rough night out with a horrible case of the spins, we highly recommend this element for the adventurous and daring soul.
The rock climbing wall had three varying levels for the novice, intermediate and extreme climber. Making it perfect for anyone looking to try climbing in a safe environment and all the way up to the more experienced looking for a fun challenge.
On our way to try the Via Ferrata we were mesmerized by a lone bull, horns billowing in the wind. We each took our turn mounting the wild spirit and each time we were thrown off in fits of laughter and a determination to beat the best time of the person behind us.
Next up was the much anticipated and highly acclaimed Via Ferrata. The entire staff was giddy with excitement telling us about the climbing adventure, “It’s very popular in Europe” and “We’re the only place in the US that has this”. With high expectations we jumped into our harnesses, went over some safety techniques and were ready to ascend the Via Ferreta. The 150 foot rock face was adorned with metal rods to assist with the climb while our helpful leaders hoisted us up the mountain. From the top we were able to gaze out over Idaho Springs and see the rolling tree tops and hills. It was a truly unique accomplishment and experience. After belaying down the mountain we were ready to take on the ZORBS.
The ZORBing balls were already inflated and loomed in the distance as we approached the top of the hill. We meticulously took off our shoes and socks as we watched our guides fill the balls with 3 gallons of water. Once inside we watched them slowly close up the hole we came in through and exhaled deeply as our last chance for escape disappeared. Note: this is not for the claustrophobic or small space spaz. All fear evaporated once we tipped ourselves over the edge and rolled down the embankment akin to the boulder from Indiana Jones. We splashed and laughed our way to the end, our first experience ZORBing and definitely not our last.
The Lawson Adventure Park sits high off interstate 70 and offers a little bit of something for everyone. In a couple of months the park will be unveiling cabins, yurts and campgrounds- the ideal family getaway for a quick weekend out of the city. If you’re an adrenaline junky looking for a fun activity or a family looking for some bonding time away from iPhones and city lights, Lawson Adventure park is definitely a smart choice. We will be back to master the bull, beat our time on the Gyro and run off into the distance in our ZORB balls. For more information on the adventure park visit: http://lawsonadventurepark.com/