Handicap Accessible: No
Staff Size: 11–25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Eight-line zip tour
Pro Tip: Come prepared to have fun
Good for Kids: Yes
Monica Reid, general manager of Adventure Zip KC, says her favorite part of supplying outdoor thrills is "being able to give people the opportunity to overcome a fear and try a new adventure." To that end, she and the park's staff have slightly modified their 143 acres of wilderness to include ziplines, trails, climbing walls, and even obstacle courses. The zip lines are the star amenities of the park, featuring more than 300 feet in elevation change from top to bottom. The high-speed adventure begins with a climb into a 65-foot tower sitting at the park's highest point, providing views of downtown Kansas City, the Kansas River, and even Lawrence. From there, adventurers ride a zipline over a quarter of a mile of forest––rocketing through trees at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour––to reach the next 45-foot tower. After that, the lines descend further, taking riders both over and under the canopy on a journey earthward that evokes the feeling of being a clown recently shot from a cannon.
Knights, lords, and ladies all find good reason to journey to Boster Castle, a permanent Renaissance village that also functions as a film studio and year-round festival space. The castle hosts elaborately staged annual festivals, transporting visitors to eras of the distant past. Patrons find themselves in the midst of a storybook Renaissance town populated by archery tournaments, turkey legs, crooning minstrels, and live comedy shows. Attendees can peruse vendors boasting authentic weaponry, period costumes, and the latest in chain-mail formal-wear. The castle also hosts additional themed socials in which revelers can sit for entertainment and fare surrounded by mythical cultures, fantasy worlds, or storied periods in history.
The Bouldering Garden presents a thriving, indoor oasis of climbing apparatuses, including a pair of copious caves, a tread wall, a balancing board, and a large stalactite. Designed primarily for bouldering, the facility brims with training opportunities for advanced climbers, as well as learning opportunities for students of the sport. Professional instructors consistently roam the grounds to maintain a safe environment during rock climbing games or rope challenges, and soft landing pads strewn across the floors and in the snake pit absorb falls in a cushy manner that justifies their annual spot atop the Christmas lists of crash-test dummies. In addition to its rocky endeavors, The Bouldering Garden also leads zip-lining adventures, and its onsite shop stocks visitors with the latest in climbing gear. The center also promotes the sport as a healthy family activity and offers discounts for parent-child memberships.
Ibex Climbing Gym's 8,000-square-foot indoor facility is home to dozens of routes for all climbing skill levels. From clinging to overhangs or slowly trudging up slabs, climbers can hone their gripping skills with lead or top-rope climbing sessions. On a second-floor loft, bouldering challenges await rope-free climbers, with crash pads on the ground to soften falls and hundreds of multicolored holds offering varying routes. Ibex team members lead classes for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, and also offer youth summer camps and recreational and competitive climbing teams. A wide variety of gear is available to equip students for climbing inside or outside of the gym. Prior to any rope climbing in the gym, beginners must undergo a belay class that teaches the fundamentals of belay safety, proper terminology, and the preclimb lasso dancing required for good luck.
No less than 5,000 square feet of climbable surface stares down at visitors to Monster Mountain. The name is certainly fitting, as the indoor rock wall is billed as the largest in all of Kansas City—a place not otherwise known for its mountains. Situated inside the larger fitness and entertainment complex of Emerald City, the massive expanse poses a fun challenge to both beginners and advanced climbers, as well as their pet goats.
But Emerald City isn't just about climbing and belaying. In fact, the center features numerous ways for people of all ages to get active and have a blast. A play area for kids ages 4–12, for example, contains in-ground trampolines, foam pits, and even its own miniature rock wall. Parents can also enroll kids in gymnastics classes that range from casual to competition-level.
When people think about rock climbing, the general directional alignment is assumed to be upwards: up a climbing wall, up a rock face, up a mountain. At The Cave Bouldering Gym, the same is true, except participants have to go down first—way down. The gym lies 10 stories beneath street level in the Downtown Underground development, where it invites climbers of all ages and abilities to enroll in a bouldering class or solve more than 80 bouldering problems. Recognizing the importance of giving newcomers a smooth introduction to the sport, the Bouldering 101 course equips beginners with all the skills they'll need to successfully enter the world of bouldering, including basic body movement, falling and spotting, and terminology.