High Altitude, Family Entertainment, and World Class Attractions Claim Popularity in Southern Colorado
Famous for one of the world’s highest suspension bridges, the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, Canon City, Colo., once again stretched the limits of thrill in 2012 by adding the world’s highest zip line. The Soaring Eagle Zip Line joins the park’s fraternity of world class attractions that have enhanced the park for decades, beginning with the Royal Gorge Bridge built in 1929.
“For some just getting across the bridge is thrill enough,” said General Manager and Vice President Mike Bandera, talking about the world’s highest suspension bridge for over 75 years connecting the thousand foot walls of the famous granite Royal Gorge. “Other’s just gulp looking at our Aerial Tram that goes across the Royal Gorge about 1,200 feet above the river.”
The park has thrilled over 25 million people with the breathtaking and scenic views of Colorado admiring them from the middle of the bridge for over eight decades. “The views haven’t changed, said Bandera, “the number one reason people come here is for the beauty of the park, and to experience the excitement of standing almost a 1,000 feet over the middle of the Royal Gorge.”
The newest thrill addition to the park, the Soaring Eagle Zip Line opened in May 2012. The Soaring Eagle is perched on the side of the Royal Gorge, and two lines carrying two riders in a harnessed “chair” zip approximately 700 feet over canyon walls anywhere from 1,000 to 1,150 feet above the Arkansas River. The riders are strapped in from behind leaving legs and arms are free to move and dangle. This is an extra pay feature in the park over and above general admission. “The ride is family friendly,” said Bandera, “you can experience the thrill with your family riding beside you.” (Riders must be 48 inches tall, or 42 inches tall riding with an adult.)
For the adventurous guest, the park this year is offering “The High Altitude Package,” which includes general admission to the park, a ride on the Soaring Eagle Zip Line, and the Royal Rush Skycoaster for $60 per person. The Royal Rush claimed the world’s scariest Skycoaster, by the manufacturer sits on the other side of the Royal Gorge, and is also an extra pay feature in the park. The Skycoaster pulls up to three harnessed riders to a 100-foot tower, and then drops them to swing out and over the Royal Gorge wall at about 50 miles per hour.
The park is open year round, and general admission to the natural attraction includes the Royal Gorge Bridge, a wooden-planked bridge over a quarter mile long and 956 feet above the Arkansas River, one of the world’s longest single span Aerial Trams traveling 2,200 feet across the Royal Gorge, and one of the world’s steepest Incline Railways that travels 1,500 feet down to the river between the towering walls of granite at a 45 degree angle.
Also included in the admission ticket are the Plaza Theater and Historical Expo, and the Western Wapiti Wildlife Park featuring Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Elk, and the Buffalo Exhibit featuring rare coloration White Buffalo.
During the tourist season May through Labor Day, the park adds another dozen attractions including a Petting Zoo, Carousel, Mini-Train, Mountain Man Trading Post, a western town with daily gunfights, and a San Francisco style-Trolley that tours the park. Special features in the Plaza Theater include the Magic of Christian Augustine, and at the outdoor Gazebo Theater, the live comedy act of April Vollm.
Other extra pay features beside the Soaring Eagle and Royal Rush include the Watt Mule Trail Rides. A half hour trail ride to a two hour extreme trail ride, or half day adventure ride is available over the rocky terrain on these sure-footed animals on the southern rim of the Royal Gorge . “This makes for a truly western experience and special memory for the family vacationers,” said Bandera.
General daily admission to the park includes Adult, Child and Senior prices. Added value to the general admission ticket is the park’s policy for visitors who would like more time in the park, “they can come back the very next day for free if they validate their admission ticket before leaving the park,” added Bandera.
For more information on the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, including park hours and admission prices, please visit the website www.royalgorgebridge.com or call 888-333-5597.