Who doesn’t love hanging with their friends? How about literally hanging? I realized the Home Makeover Show team hadn’t had a chance to just chill out in a while, so I planned a fun afternoon for us. I wanted to shake things up a bit – help us get out of our comfort zone – and so I gathered the crew at Discovery Adventure Park, an aerial adventure trail and zip-lining center at Bridgeport’s Discovery Museum. Why there? It was unexpected, sure, but as a fan of Mother Nature, I’m happy to support local eco-tourism, too. (Hmm, call me MARzan? How about MARzan the Makeover Man?)
Those who could make the date looked a bit unsure at first, but I reminded them that we’d tackled the unknown in every design project so far, so I knew they could do this without a problem. Emboldened, we climbed on board.
We traversed, swung, wobbled and clambered our way through the trees. We zipped, clipped on and unclipped, swayed and steadied ourselves. And boy, did we laugh. The pressure of the makeovers was left at the front gate, and we really ended up helping one another in new ways. “Use sidesteps along this part, it’s easier,” “Get ready to pull yourself up at the end,” and “Stick your butt out, you’ll balance better! We were all encouraging remarks rarely heard on the makeover show set, but which really helped here.
The CEO, Bahman Azarm, established his first park in 2008, inspired by adventure parks located in Switzerland and the desire to create an outdoor experience that connects people with the great outdoors. To this day they are committed to promoting the active enjoyment of the outdoors, in a place where you can appreciate nature while engaging in activities that are fun, challenging, build confidence, and are good for your health.
If you’ve never been, here’s how it works: The park contains courses made of small platforms constructed at various levels in the trees. The platforms are connected by different types of bridges (that represent obstacles) and my team and I, using safety harnesses, maneuvered from platform to platform.
You can choose your level of difficulty from the 16 different courses – exactly the same way you do on a ski hill – which makes it easy to do only what you feel you’re up for. Since it was our first time, we chose a ‘Yellow’ course, which is not quite the beginner level, but did have some challenges to it. Our favorite part of the course was the two zip-line segments. I’ve been lucky enough to have done some big zip lines before while on vacation, but gliding through the forest canopy like this was a great experience.
The kicker for me? The park operates with virtually no negative environmental impact, and the trees (their most important assets) are well cared for and protected. After all, a healthy forest is good for their business and nature. One of my design principles is to Represent Mother Nature, so I love places that have a similar view. Not only that, it’s eco-friendly and sustainable! (How many family places can you say that about?)
Since their message is really all about people getting out in the outdoors, recreating in the outdoors, playing and getting in the fresh air, you can see why I thought it would be the perfect location to rally the team.
In the end, not only did we have fun, but we got to play up close and personal with another inspiring team: the Adventure Park staff. Wow, were they great! I can see why they get folks from age five to ninety-six. Our guide, Nellie, was awesome and encouraging; there was lots of laughter and we felt completely secure, safe, and encouraged to try new things.
Bahman told us it’s easy to “get addicted to the accomplishment”, and I have to say he was right – we’re already looking forward to going back! I can’t wait for you to see us get into the swing of things in Season 2!