MANATEE -- A treetop adventure park is slated to open in East Manatee this December, offering Manatee residents a new and unique brand of family entertainment.
TreeUmph! Adventure Course, a $1.5 million, 14-acre park, is currently being constructed in East Manatee along State Road 70. The venue will feature five challenging courses for beginner to extreme climbers, a course for children ages 7 and up, 76 treetop adventure games, wobbly bridges, hanging nets, bungee swings and a 650-foot zip line.
Aaron and Kathy Corr, owners of the park who live in the area, have been trying to get the project off the ground for two years. While living in Canada, the two enjoyed an aerial adventure park in their neighborhood and thought it would be a hit in the Manatee area.
"These parks cater to a variety of people," Aaron said. "You have people who really want to push themselves to the extreme. It's
also open to people who are elderly and who just want to be up high."
"The other demographic we're interested in is local families," Kathy said. "That's the community base in this area."
The Corrs have owned natural science education companies in the U.S. and Canada. Aaron, an engineer, and Kathy, a physical therapist, felt the park was a business investment that couldn't fail.
"We've never been adverse to risk in our business ventures," Aaron said. "It's not uncalculated and not unplanned. We're confident."
A groundbreaking for the property took place on Oct. 11.
"This project has really been made possible by Gateway Bank," Aaron said. "They truly believed in the vision."
Tree-Go, the parent company of the adventure park, has built aerial adventure courses in France and Canada since 1999. Started in France, the company specialized in recreational versions of military training obstacle courses.
Outplay Adventures, the designer of many Tree-Go parks, has begun constructing TreeUmph! David Johnson, founder of Outplay Adventures, said TreeUmph! will be the company's first project in Florida. Around the nation, Johnson said aerial parks are becoming more popular.
"We've seen them over the last several years used by the ski industry to strengthen their summer operations," he said.
Johnson owns Adirondack Aerial Assault, a treetop park in upstate New York.
"We just finished our sixth year and we've had increased guest traffic each year," he said.
The adventure park in Manatee will blend in with its natural setting and proper techniques will be used to allow trees to continue to grow.
"It's very exciting and we're hopeful," Aaron said.
For more information about the treetop park, visit www.treeumph.com.
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams