Florida on a Tankful: Time to zip into some fun, rain or shine

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017, 12:37 PM EDT

Those afternoon rain showers are just around the corner. Traditionally, weather like this may keep you inside.

Yet in this jungle, you can still go for a ride.

“People compare it to Jurassic Park,” said Traci Walker, president of The Canyons Zipline and Canopy Tours in Marion County. “Most of Florida is flat. This looks like mountainous terrain.”

In the middle of a dormant 100-acre limestone quarry, awaits an aerial adventure, even when it’s slippery wet.

“We were looking for a place to put in an awesome zip line, but an awesome zipline needs heights,” said Walker.

Walker took one look at these cliffs and saw a dream come to life.

The Canyons Zipline and Canopy Tours in Marion County is open rain or shine.

“We gear you up in these awesome harnesses and these awesome helmets,” said instructor Stephanie Warrington.

“It’s as close to flying as you’re going to get without having a plane,” said Matt Byers, another instructor.

Guides like Byers and Warrington are with visitors every step of the way for ground training.

“There’s no concern of falling, because you’re 100 percent connected at all times,” said Byers. “Most people by the third zipline aren’t thinking about the height anymore, they are thinking about the fun.”

Riders will soar over water, cliffs before needing to slow themselves down when coming to the end of a line.

“It’s actually a lot harder to slow down when you’re in the rain,” explained Warrington.

From more than 100 feet above the water below, you can take in the view. However, if lightning should interfere, paths lead back to the shelter house.

“If there is lightning within 10 miles, we pull you off the course. Usually they pass in a half hour,” Warrington warned.

But completing the course is the goal, since everyone gets to navigate a floating suspension bridge and then repel down.

“You’re doing something you didn’t think you could do,” said Walker.

Reservations are not required, but suggested since weekends are busy. The Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours is not too far off Interstate 75 in Ocala.
 

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