Corolla Adventure Park: Where the sky is the limit
Tucked back between the ocean and sound off Ocean Trail in Corolla is an adventure park that suits just about everyone’s wants and needs.
Corolla Adventure Park is an outdoor lover’s dream destination. Housing a jungle gym that feels like it touches the sky, an axe throwing station, zip lines, playgrounds and a nature trail, Corolla Adventure Park your one-stop shop to fun.
Owner Brett Harrison and general manager Zoe Jacobs sat down with The Coastland Times to talk about what the park offers and what changes have come since COVID-19.
“This is our fifth season,” Harrison said. Corolla Adventure Park was established in 2016, back when it offered the climbing course and clubhouse. Since then, it has evolved to cater the masses.
“We always have people here that either don’t want to climb or just want to watch the climbers,” Harrison explained. “We want to service those people, too.”
Harrison shared that the creation of the additional amenities was all customer-driven. Along with the nature trail and playground, the park includes a Snack Shack, lined with drafts, ice cream and snacks.
The axe throwing station arrived last season for the first time. “It’s been a great draw for the dad who maybe wasn’t going to climb and can watch his kids while having something to do,” Harrison said.
“The nature of businesses up here tends to be go to dinner, sit down and leave, or go to go-carting and leave,” Jacobs relayed. “We were just looking at where the hole was in what’s needed up here. It’s something active and fun and a place to kill three or four hours.”
For the outdoorsman who isn’t a huge fan of heights, the nature trail is the perfect getaway to spend some time outside while enjoying native Outer Banks wildlife. While walking through the trail, Harrison and Jacobs pointed out the native marsh grasses, plants and flowers that take to the area. Shade canopies and picnic tables are scattered around the trail, too, for guests to soak in the natural beauty.
As for the course itself, Harrison said it’s comparable to a “ninja-warrior type course.” Guests can choose their challenge and be as ambitious as they want.
There are different levels for each type of climber. The course has a 40-in. minimum height requirement; those under 4-ft. tall require a taller buddy to climb with for the first level.
The course is gauged on height rather than age or skill level due to proximity of where guests are clipped onto the lines and whether one can reach. Guests can enjoy levels one through four, or take on how ever many they so choose.
“The higher you go into course, the more challenging obstacles become and zip lines are integrated into that,” Harrison explained.
“It’s really cool to see kids who watch that [Ninja Warrior] and get that intro pass and by level 4, they’re swinging from bars. It’s a really cool thing to watch,” said Jacobs.
The park is open from mid-March through the end of October and Thanksgiving. This year, however, the park stayed closed until after Memorial Day due to the pandemic.
“Whether we could or couldn’t open in March, we didn’t think it would have been the responsible thing to do,” Harrison said. “We are thankful and grateful to be here and operating with a lot of new protocols.”
In a normal season, the park would take about 20 people out on the course every half hour. Jacobs said this was the first thing staff knew was going to change.
Guests are now prompted to make reservations online or call in to book a time to hit the course. Only eight individuals are allowed out every half hour; groups over eight can book a separate time together and the park will adjust time slots around to accommodate.
Along with the number of people on the course at a time, staff now require masks inside the clubhouse and while in close proximity with others. Equipment is sanitized after every use as usual, but now the park is offering new gloves for purchase to use and keep for guests that would prefer to not use used equipment.
“We made these overarching, sweeping adjustment to make sure that at every moment from when you park and walk in that you’re covered as you go through,” said Jacobs. She mentioned that her staff has constantly revisited the health and safety concerns and maneuvers every few days to accommodate.
“We collaborated as a group,” Harrison started, “on what we all think and public guides as well; we incorporated all that into the best things we can do to stay open, be safe, be responsible and still provide a fun outlet for people that’s outdoors.”
Guests are still able to make use of the Snack Shack and are asked to social distance while enjoying their food and beverages outside. Staff schedules are staggered to ensure that at the start of each new shift, sanitization rounds are made and the park remains clean.
“It’s such a weird year, but I think a lot of people . . . they come here because they get holed up in these big houses with families and just go to and from the beach and the grocery store, so it’s kind of a getaway for people of that nature, too,” said Jacobs. “I think a lot of the people that are willing to do activities are coming here it’s great.”
To learn more about the activities and offerings that Corolla Adventure Park has in store, visit their website at www.corollaadventurepark.com.