Category Archives: Parks Canada

Zip zip hooray

Skimming inches above the ground attached to a pulley hurtling down the line is an adrenalin charged zip, zip hooray moment. A steady stream of kids cycles through to the top of one of the twin ‘towers’ preparing to be airborne. Two zip lines, four feet apart are an invitation for back and forth races covering a distance of 100 feet.

Hands tightly grip batons as the zippers run down the 20º take-off slope before they launch — dangle — zip, or launch — drag — sputter in the sand.

This is a legs up course as there isn’t much clearance to glide over the ground surface. Either the lower legs are bent and thrust behind the zipper, or the legs are held in front of the body – both are a real workout for the abs. Of course where there are kids, there are variations….

Like the feet first ‘slice’ cutting through the air…

The ‘hopper’ reminiscent of a frog getting ready to spring off a lily pad.

Or as we can see below the closed-eyes wishing (left) and the eyes open, dust kicking dishing (right),

And the ‘going for the gusto’ parallel power start.

This zip line is located in New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park a two minute drive from the main visitor centre at the Alma entrance. There is a large grassy area, picnic benches and a variety of play structures. Our kids frittered around the other pieces but it was really the zipper that held the day.

Truth be told the kids haven’t encountered a functioning zip line they didn’t love. It’s the derringer-do, the exhilaration of defying gravity and yes, where there are double lines, the fun and thrill of racing…..

For Nova Scotia readers, there are a couple of new zip lines that have been installed recently in Kentville’s Oakdene Park

Zip you later…

UK’s National Trust an International Treasure for Kids

I’ve fallen in love with the UK’s National Trust. Every country should have one. Their engagement with kids is phenomenal. I can feel it from here on the other side of the pond. The Trust is a ‘conservation charity, protecting historic places and green spaces, and opening them up for ever, for everyone.’

There is an inspired thoughtfulness about kids in evidence at many of their venues such as the hobbit holes at The Vyne posted earlier this spring in PlayGroundology. In Britain, they are playing a significant role reconnecting children with nature an increasingly common challenge in the digital age.

One of the Trust’s brilliant actions last year was the development and promotion of 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 3/4. It’s just been refreshed with a number of new entries.

How about a 50 Things To Do… right here in Canada. Let’s do the math, 50 divided by 13 provinces and territories works out to about 3.8 ‘Things’ per province/territory.

I’m going to start the ball rolling with three submissions from Nova Scotia.

1Running on the Ocean Floor. The Not Since Moses run is held every August in Five Islands.

Not Since Moses

It’s not everywhere that you can run on the ocean floor. This part of the world has mud flats that are laid bare after the Fundy tide pulls the ocean away. A good run, lots of fun and a chance to get dirty all rolled into one. Does it get any better?

2Interpretive Tours of Mi’kmaw Petroglyphs. In Kejimkujik National Park, there are 19th century rock drawings and opportunities to learn about the Mi’kmaw culture.

Keji, as it is affectionately called, is a natural wonderland with many opportunities for nature play and exploration. More on the petroglyphs here.

3Rafting the Tidal Bore. Fundy’s great tides, the largest in the world, provide the natural fuel for this soggy, thundering zodiac ride.

The slow moving Shubenacadie River is transformed into this tidal torrent of tumult twice a day. It’s a ride you’ll remember for years to come.

There you have it, Nova Scotia’s suggested contributions to an All Canadian 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 3/4. Send your ideas for other outdoor activities to build a Canadian list to PlayGroundology.

Put a list together for your own country and help get the kids outdoors having fun in the natural environment.