EAST MANATEE -- It's not uncommon to hear people yelling out "I'm Nik Wallenda!" and pretending to be the famed high-wire artist when they're playing around 60 feet up in the air at Treeumph! Adventure Course.
But this month, Wallenda himself was there and got to experience the zip lines, swinging logs, wobbly bridges and more excitement among the trees at this East Manatee business.
Wallenda, a Bradenton resident, said he had heard about Treeumph! and decided to bring his wife, three children and four friends over Thanksgiving weekend to experience the fun firsthand.
"We had a great time, and I will definitely return in the near future," Wallenda said via email. "Some of the elements there are physically challenging so it was a fun workout, and our entire group just really had a great time."
Co-owner Kathy Corr, who opened Treeumph! in 2012 with husband, Aaron, on State Road 70 East, said several of her employees were joking with Wallenda and trying to race him on the courses.
"I definitely had a number of our guys say, 'That dude's got great balance,' " Kathy Corr said.
So how did the experience compare with Wallenda's famed feats, such as his death-defying walks at the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or even U.S. 41 in Sarasota?
"As far as connections with my profession, I think the balance necessary for wire walking helps me on some of the elements, perhaps letting me move through quicker," he said. "Our entire group was able to go through the course but in some instances, it may have taken someone longer to mentally prepare for
a particular element. My familiarity with heights probably helps with that mental aspect."
Wallenda said he's busy working on his next TV special with his partners at Discovery Channel, whose live showing of Wallenda's Grand Canyon walk drew 13 million viewers in June.
"We are planning for 2014, and hope to be releasing some specifics toward the beginning of the year," he said.
As for the Corrs, they were thrilled to host the famous daredevil.
"He went away recommending the place," Aaron Corr said. "I was very pleased. All I know is he had a great time."
Tickets for the courses at Treeumph! are $49.95 for adults, $39.95 for seniors, $34.95 for juniors (ages 9-11 who can reach 69 inches while standing flat) and $25.95 for children (ages 7-11 who can reach 55 inches).
The business is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. six days a week, and closed on Wednesdays. It offers party packages with group rates, annual passes and gift certificates.
For more information, visit treeumph.com or call 855-322-2130.
Jason Bartolone, East Manatee Editor, can be reached at 941-745-7011. Follow him on Twitter @JasonBartolone.