Summer at Blue - Scenic Caves Nature AdventuresThursday, September 12, 2013
After an amazing first day at Blue Mountain where we had checked in at the luxurious Westin Trillium House, my family and I joined fellow bloggers and their families on a trip to the highest point on the Niagara Escarpment located on the grounds of Scenic Caves Nature Adventures. My family and I have been to Blue Mountain several times and Scenic Caves is one place we had yet to visit. Many times I thought of exploring the caves on my own thinking that my kids would be too young to go. Boy, was I wrong!
Upon our arrival, it was clear to see that the Scenic Caves adventure park is very kid-friendly. From a children's playground where kids are greeted by Shrek to a brightly coloured train that takes you on a little tour of the grounds, kids will delight in spending a day at the park. There are plenty of picnic tables and Muskoka chairs to lounge in as you soak up the scenery or enjoy a family picnic, as well as an 18-hole mini golf course and Gemstone Mining.
We were very eager to check out the 420' suspension bridge so we made that our first stop. I'd say it's roughly a 10-15 minute walk from the main entrance and there are some steep inclines and stairs. Running or hiking shoes are definitely required. While it was a little intimidating for me at first, my kids had no problem running across it.
It was really neat to take in the view of the Georgian Bay from 300 metres above and to be greeted at the other end by a lovely water feature but that's where it ends. You have to make your way back across the bridge and back to the main entrance. Had I known that after taking the zip line you would have to eventually cross the bridge from the farthest end, I might have skipped this initial visit.
With our kids in tow, we trekked up several flights of stairs and made our way to the first cave known as the Natural Refrigerator.
Continuing on our hike, we enjoyed beautiful views, earthy smells and the sweet sounds of nature.
The trails are numbered and clearly marked and the good thing is, especially if you have younger kids, you are not obliged to take every trail.
Since it had rained a lot the day before, parts of the trails were muddy and slippery but I am happy to report that my children, who trip over their own two feet walking on level ground, managed to complete the hike unscathed. A feat in and of itself.
At the end of the trails, we came to a clearing and noticed the Thunderbird, Canada's longest twin-zip line. One half-mile of excitement, they say? Or pure insanity? Have no fear, Diana is here to find out!
As I walked past the 50-foot launch tower, the adrenaline started pumping. It had to. It was the only way that I, a 35-year-old mother with a fear of heights, could even make my way up the winding staircase. This would be my first ever major zip line. Gulp!
With my dear blogging buddy Stephanie and her lovely daughters, we made our way to the top of the platform in full gear. I was excited but couldn't stop my teeth from chattering. At a half-mile in length, it's one of Ontario's longest ride spans and I hadn't brought a change of shorts.
Gratefully, the Thunderbird uses a dynamically controllable trolly that allows riders to control their own zip line speed. And the view was simply spectacular!
Admission rates for Scenic Caves Park range from $18.13 for youth age 3-17 to $22.57 for adults. For adventure seekers age 10 and up, you can tack on an extra $25 to experience the twin-zip line. With the mini golf or gemstone mining packages, you only need to add on a mere $2 or $3 to the general admission package.
Disclosure: Our family received complimentary admission as part of the Blue Mountain Family Blogger Retreat to help facilitate this review. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.