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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hot fun in the summertime with splash zones, treetop trekking, EuroBungy and Ogo

   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 4/12
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Remember when a water inflatable was just an old truck inner tube filled with air?
   And, how about playing Tarzan by tying a rope to a tree limb to swing out and drop into a stream?
   That was summer fun long before splash zones, treetop trekking, EuroBungy and Ogo (say what?).
   The Aqua Ogo, a giant water-filled ball that speeds down the tubing hill, is making a big splash at Horseshoe Resort’s Adventure Park. (Handout – Skyline Hotels & Resorts)
   Hot fun in the summertime
   Yes, summer fun has gone high tech and you can get new kicks at a couple of resorts near Barrie and in Huntsville.
   For an up-to-date primer on modern-day fun, let’s start with “Canada’s only fully operational Ogo Park” at Horseshoe Resort’s Adventure Park off Highway 400 north of Barrie.
   Go wet and wild with Ogo where you climb inside a giant ball and then roll and bounce down the hill.

   “Guests really flip for the Aqua Ogo, a giant water-filled ball that speeds down our tubing run,” said Kate Hillyar of Skyline Hotels & Resorts.
   Ogo developed as a brand from the New Zealand inventors of zorb balls for the sport known as sphering. Got that?
   Also referred to as orbing or zorbing, the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a sport in which a participant is secured inside an inner capsule in a large, transparent ball which is then rolled along the ground or down hills.”
   The “new-and-improved” Adventure Park also recently added the Skyline Zip Line that “soars 2,075 feet (632 metres) over the resort and is quite the thrill,” Hillyar said.
   There’s also the EuroBungy where you “strap in and hang on” in a trampoline sort of trip with a 32-foot-high (9.75-metre) climbing tower.
   Downhill mountain biking is offered on “killer trails ranging from beginner to advanced” with ladders, boxes and bridges, and there’s the 18-hole scenic Ridgetop Mini Golf Course and challenging Red Horse Maze.
   All-day Adventure Park super passes are $29 weekdays and $34, weekends and holidays. www.horseshoeresort.com; 1-800-461-5627

   Fun like Tarzan or Jane
   High-fliers should head to Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville where the Treetop Trekking excursion opened last month.
   Treetop Trekking at Deerhurst Resort will bring out the “inner Tarzan or Jane” swinging over the Muskoka forests. (Photos by Roy and Carole Timm)
   This high-ropes adventure is a sky-high, three-hour guided tour through the Muskoka forests with several different difficulty options.
   “The spectacular Tarzan swing will bring out the inner Tarzan or Jane in any participant as they swing high above the park for all to see,” Hillyar said.
   Guests swing, stride and climb throughout the treetops using zip lines, ropes, bridges and climbing nets.
   Deerhurst Resort general manager Chris Lund said it “brings out the kid in anyone,” with seven guided, high-rise aerial courses geared to varying levels of ability.
   It is made up of elevated platforms installed non-evasively around the tree trunks and connected by more than 100 different games and obstacles, making the courses “both innovative and environmentally friendly.”
   There’s also the option to explore Muskoka at night with guided treks beginning at dusk and they are open to both guests and the public.
   For fun on Peninsula Lake, Deerhurst Resort has an expanded Splash Zone with 25 inflatables. (Handout – Skyline Hotels & Resorts)
   Deerhurst now has an expanded Splash Zone for kids to “bounce, slide and climb” up 25 inflatables with trampolines, climbing walls, slides and “walking the plank” on Peninsula Lake.
   Other inflatables include Space Mountain, the Moon Walk and a massive 14-foot- high (4.2-metre) Iceberg.
   There is also the “Kids ‘n’ Ponies” interactive barnyard program.
   Trekking rates start at $25 for youths and $69 for adults with deals for families and groups while an all-day Splash Pass with the use of canoes, rowboats, windsurfers, kayaks and more is $20 a guest per stay. www.deerhurstresort.com; 1-800-906-5681

   Tea time for kids
   Spending time in the big city?
   Why not treat the kids to a civilized afternoon tea at Toronto’s oldest luxury hotel, the King Edward.
   A tradition at the hotel since 1903, Victoria’s Restaurant offers several types of service including a Jester’s Tea for children 12 and younger.
   They can enjoy mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, double-decker grilled cheese and frosted cupcakes complemented by milk, hot apple cider or hot chocolate.
   It’s from $18 a child and the King’s Tea is $35 for grownups.
   Along with the King Eddy, Skyline’s cache of properties and management interests include the Pantages Hotel Toronto Centre and Cosmopolitan Hotel Toronto.
   They offer “all-suite accommodations with full kitchenettes, laundry facilities and Egyptian cotton sheets, perfect for accommodating the family.” www.skylinehotelsandresorts.com; 1-855-827-9787


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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