So one adventure my kids and I have been dying to try is zip lining. The Hawaiian Islands have a ton of places to do this somewhat new and trendy activity so if your dead set on doing it (and you should because it's a ton of fun), see where it best fits into your schedule. For us, that happened to be on the Big Island and we opted for and outfit called Big Island Eco Adventures who were just fantastic!
If you haven’t tried zip lining, I can't recommend it highly enough. Let me preface that I am deathly afraid of heights and I had a blast.
After a brief orientation during which all our questions were answered, we were given our equipment to put on which consisted of a harness and a helmet. The kids and I giggled nervously as we admired each other's fully decked out look. After everyone was suited up and checked to make sure everything was on right, we were driven deep into the forest amidst and orchard of macadamia nut trees. Everyone had butterflies in their stomachs as we exited the vehicle and hiked to our very first platform. "Holy cow, are we really going to do this?" is all I kept saying to myself. After climbing up the stairs one of our two guides clipped himself to the cable explained the proper positioning and then set off to the landing platform. It really didn't look that scary at all and the kids just couldn't wait to zip on down. For me, it was all about conquering the fear. One by one, the kids took off, screaming with delight as they zipped along landing perfectly meeting the guide at the second platform.
So here's basically how it works....You ride in a harness strapped to a couple of cables and you literally zip along from one platform to the next through the forest and the trees taking in the the environment from a whole different perspective. Once you put yourself in a kind of seated position and realize you are really secure (it kind of feels like you are seating in a swing-with double brackets for extra peace of mind), you will most probably feel at ease like I did and then you should just go for it. After doing it once, the kids and I were hooked. After taking my first leap of faith, I relaxed trying to block out the zipping noise, and just floated througho the tree tops, enjoying the view and keeping the platform in view as it was coming closer. I did realize I was pretty high off the ground, but because I felt like I was seated, I relaxed enough to look around and enjoy the natural surroundings which were truly spectacular.
There were seven zips and to break it up, there is a suspended rope bridge-ok, that I'll admit I found really scary! If you are really feeling brave, try walking across. (don't worry, you are still attached by your cable so you are totally safe). I am happy to say, I did it, but I didn't conquer my fear, it was definitely unnerving-chickens have to take an extra long hike to catch back up to the group, so I guess, you have to gauge your fear and decided if it's worth it. We also took another a relaxing break in a tree house high up in a mango grove where we were served some snacks and drinks before doing a few more zips back to where we started. There are some weight minimums and maximums, so this won’t be a good activity for smaller kids who might not be heavy enough to zip down the cable (a couple of my kids even got stuck mid way and our guide had to zip down and pull them to the platform), but if you qualify, I say go for it. It's definitely empowering and the view and sensation of zipping through the trees, is something you'll remember forever. Best of all, I loved that my kids and I conquered this together.
I must say we look pretty awesome…you like my hair?