Eco Zipline Tours, south of I-70 on Highway 19 (north of Hermann), bills itself as "Mid-Missouri's largest, highest, fastest, longest and most exciting zipline canopy tour." What more is there to say?
Seriously, though, the zip adventure at Eco is both earth- and family-friendly. The layout and building style make the most of the natural terrain, and use a minimum of stairs and towers. Most of the lines land on the ground, and there is only one swinging bridge. This easy accessibility makes this tour ideal for youngsters, oldsters and first-timers, yet exciting enough to satisfy experienced zippers.
Company president Mike Seper is proud to note that many people with physical challenges have been able to experience parts of the tour.
"We take a lot of pride in making as little impact on the environment as possible. We want our customers to be able to enjoy the outdoors like never before and highlight the natural beauty of the Hermann area," Seper said. "Our course offers such wonderful terrain for zipping we do not need towers, and feel that it makes it more user-friendly and less scary for first-time zippers."
Lines range in length up to 1,200 feet and in height from 10 to 225 feet. The four-line Easy Rider tour (ages 3 and up) totals more than 1,000 feet. The 10-line High Flyer tour (ages 12 and up) includes the Easy Rider zips plus six longer and higher ziplines, for a total of more than a mile. Prices range from $40 to $75. Night tours ($100) are also available. Eco Zipline Tours is open April 1 to Dec. 1.
Eco Zipline Tours is located at 487 South Highway 19, New Florence, Mo., 63363. Call 314-456-1444 for details.
Caveman Zipline, at Meramec Caverns near Stanton, offers a family-friendly zip experience in a verdant Ozark setting. You'll soar across the Meramec River – twice! – during this canopy tour that features four ziplines and three swinging bridges.
It's all made more fun by the corny stories told by personable guides who play off the caveman theme throughout the Meramec "rain forest." From the good-luck "vine of life" to the caveman yell on the final zip, it's a fun and family-oriented adventure. The stairs and bridges are wide and comfortable to use.
In addition to the zip line, the area is also home to the famous Meramec Caverns with regular or lantern tours, plus scenic riverboat rides, campground, canoe rental, gift shop, restaurant and panning for gold. There's plenty to do here to entertain the entire family for the day or the weekend.
Lines range in length from 250 to 1,200 feet, with a total of about 3,000 feet. Lines are from 54 to 82 feet in height. The price is $49 adults; $39 children. Caveman Zipline is open March 1 through Oct. 31.
Caveman Zipline is located at Meramec Caverns, exit 230 off I-44 in Stanton, Mo. Call 573-468-3166 for details.
General Zipping Information
As with any outdoor activity, there is a risk of injury. Each rider wears gloves, helmet and a harness and is connected to a cable via a carabiner and pulley system. Companies offer instruction prior to the ride. Riders are required to sign legal waivers.
Although policies vary, in general, riders must weigh between 70 and 280 pounds. Some companies set a minimum age, while others go by weight not age. Riders should wear closed-toe shoes, tie long hair back, and remove dangling jewelry.
Reservations are recommended. You usually need to arrive 15 to 30 minutes prior to your scheduled run to check-in and go through orientation. In general, allow about two hours for a canopy tour.
Pictured: Top right, Eco Zipline Tours in New Florence. Middle right, Caveman Zipline at Meramec Caverns. Photos by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann.
Barbara Gibbs Ostmann has been writing about travel, food and wine since 1975. The author of 13 books, she lives with her husband and lots of pets on 50 acres in Franklin County. Contact Barbara.