Deep in the verdant expanse of the Lark Valley, the forest’s leaves rustle as a blurry figure glides by. The creature flying across the forest canopy isn’t a bird or acrobatic sport’s mascot returning to its natural habitat. It’s a person strapped into 1 of 10 ziplines at Lark Ranch, which extend more than 1 mile through the surrounding area. Guests slip into safety harnesses and helmets before clipping in the suspended steel cables and soaring high above the valley’s varied topography of lakes, forests, and fields of blossoming holiday sweaters. Elsewhere, lush crops sprout around festive pumpkin patches, encouraging visitors to become one with harvest-time happiness.
Flying across 3,500 feet of lines suspended above the rolling foothills below, visitors at Eagles Wings Zipline can expect an adrenaline-packed experience during zipline tours that can last up to 2.5 hours. Sometimes up to 75 feet above the ground on lines that span more than 1,000 feet in length, zipliners can reach top speeds over 40-miles-per-hour while safely suspended from the sturdy lines. The course also includes thrilling components such as a bridge suspended 100 feet over the forest floor, suspended ladders that connect platforms, and at least two areas where visitors inadvertently scream and giggle like toddlers.
Though lush fairways and gently undulating greens have replaced the acres of cornfields at Country Oaks Golf Club, quaint reminders of the course’s bucolic past are everywhere. A tall white silo stands sentry at the first tee box, greeting golfers as they head out for their round. A white picket fence proves a common sight as it cordons off the 140-acre plot from the surrounding farmland and prevents trespassing by ghostly baseball players.
First tee shots on the 514-yard, par 5 opening hole will need to clear a small pond—an early introduction to the water scattered throughout the rest of the course. In fact, 4 out of the first 5 tee shots will need to clear water, and 11 feature water prominently at some point. On the watery, 300-yard 18th hole, the long shadow of the old silo welcomes golfers back in as they sink their final putts and head into the Dairy Barn, now home to the course pro shop.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,958 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 73 from the back tees * Course slope of 129 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Stretching across more than a thousand acres at the foot of southern Indiana's Hoosier National Forest, Wilstem Ranch's rolling farmland is home to creeks, caves, natural-rock outcroppings, and more than 30 miles of woodland trails, marking it as an ideal family escape. A creek populated by small-mouth bass attracts local fishermen; wildflowers, native plants, and trees color the historic landscape in natural vegetation. Additionally, a variety of cabins?equipped with kitchens, hot tubs, and fireplaces?provide cozy accommodations year-round.
Then there's the zip lines. Tours send thrill-seekers flying across 4,000 feet of French Lick woodlands, experiencing unparalleled views and leaving squirrels chittering in jealousy. There are no ground landings on these canopy tours?each of the nine lines spans from platform to platform for maximum excitement.
The ping of golf clubs and baseball bats rings out across the grounds and rises above the thrumming engines and squealing tires of go-karts at Golfland USA. Part training ground, part recreational respite, Golfland invites golfers to hone their game at a driving range or enjoy more laid-back par-hunting at a mini-golf course. Guests can also perfect a different kind of swing at the batting cages, which sling baseballs at three different speeds and offer two slow-pitch softball machines. The fun center also encompasses a quarter-mile go-kart track where drivers speed down straightaways and drift around tight turns. In addition, Golfland also offers a weekend bouncy house, a giant slide, and bungee trampolines for guests to enjoy.