Manatee's newest amusement park nearly complete

nwilliams@bradenton.comNovember 20, 2012 

EAST MANATEE -- Five weeks ago, Aaron and Kathy Corr, along with a handful of associates, held a small ground breaking ceremony to mark the construction of Tree Umph!, a tree top adventure park in East Manatee.

The Corrs, owners of Tree Umph!, said the amusement park could be open by December.

While walking through their 14-acre, $1.5 million park on Monday, the Corrs were elated to see the park close to completion.

"We're pretty much on time," Kathy Corr said. "We had hoped we'd be a little further along, but as far as getting the permits, we're on time."

"It's been very smooth," Aaron Corr said.

The park is expected to officially open Dec. 20 with a grand opening set for Jan. 5.

Construction crews were busy Monday completing high-rise tree top adventure courses, plowing dirt for the main entrance of State Road 70 and installing the base for the visitor center, which is expected to be finished Dec. 9.

The venue, located a few miles east of Lorraine Road, will feature five challenging courses for beginners 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 Corr said the tree top courses are roughly 90 percent complete, and local manufacturers have already begun producing the park's merchandise. Crews have installed compression wooden blocks on the trees rather than bolts. As the tree grows, the compression blocks will be adjusted.

A seashell surface will be used in the parking lot and mulch will cover trailways to different courses to coincide with the park's eco-friendly mission.

Tree Umph! will be open seven days a week and will be capable of accommodating up to 400 people daily with an estimated annual net profit of $3 million. The park will employ between 15 and 20 workers, including professionally trained guides. The admission price for the kids course will be $25.95.

An adult half-ticket, which is half the adult course, is $34.95 and the complete adult course is $49.95. All users must partake in a demonstration tutorial and complete it to the satisfaction of a trained guide before enjoying the courses in the park. The average time to complete the adult course is three hours, while the youth course is an hour.

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, is building Tree Umph!. The Manatee park is the company's first project in Florida."Everybody we've talked to about it is super excited," Kathy Corr said.

"It's a five-year dream coming true," Aaron Corr said.

Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams

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