Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Leavenworth Adventure Park’s Grand Opening

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The mounds of steel upon the hill, the mark we loved to point at, has completed its metamorphosis. Leavenworth Adventure Park (LAP) opened to the public on June 1. During the grand opening John Sutherland, LAP’s general manager and developer, offered a tour of the main attractions: a three story Leavenworth-Bavarian style building adorned with a tall mural designed by local Gibbs Graphics; the Alpine Ascent Climbing Wall (also designed by Gibbs); the Bavarian Bungee Bounce Trampoline (jumpers can “flip and fly up to 20 feet in the air!”), The Enchantments Mining Sluice (scavenger hunt for kids); and the Tumwater Twister Alpine Coaster, Washington State’s first alpine coaster (there are 13 in Bavaria).

Sutherland, who lives in a condominium across the street and plans to stay indefinitely, cried while giving his grand opening speech. To better understand how he was feeling, especially being among people who prefer their view of Tumwater unobstructed by the Twister, Echo had a more in-depth conversation with Sutherland. This week, however, we cover the Park’s main attractions; next week we cover Sutherland’s story and perspective — why is he here?

The Tumwater Twister Alpine Coaster’s toboggans carry one or two people down a 2,700-foot-long track with a vertical drop of 234 feet. Riders self-operate a lever to determine their own speed up to 27 miles-per-hour (unless you get stuck behind less adrenaline-inclined riders, like I did — tourists!). Because of the flexibility in choosing your own speed, during the grand opening riders as old as 80 and as young as 3 cruised comfortably down the coaster’s tracks. The Twister was designed by German company Weigand Sports.

The Alpine Ascent Climbing Wall has only four lanes and stands only 27 feet tall, but a local who regularly goes to the Wenatchee climbing gym still failed to ascend the “Most Challenging” route. The four routes vary in difficulty: easy, intermediate, advanced, and “Most Challenging.” The wall is operated with an auto belay and the Park hopes to host an event with elite climbers.

The Bavarian Bungee Bounce Trampoline is motor operated and looks a little frightening at first (or fun, if you like that kind of thing). There are four trampoline stations and jumpers wear a harness attached to two cables and bungees. Guests are welcome to attempt mid-air flips.

The Gems of The Enchantments Mining Sluice, besides being a mouthful, is a type of educational scavenger hunt. Kids learn as they pan for 20 gems and get to bring home descriptions of the stones.

The Park has also developed a backstory and mascot, Ludwig “Super Lou” the Bavarian tiger. Lou wanders around the park available for photos, but adamantly refuses to disclose the true identity behind the mask, even if you ask a lot. Food and beverages are offered on top and bottom floors, and the Park tried to stay local whenever possible: they carry Mela coffee and Danwiches.

Reservations for specific time slots are encouraged, which helps manage parking and traffic flow (so far, according to Sutherland, reservations have prevented their lot from being full). Prices for each main attraction vary from $5 for children ages 3 to 6 (for a single Twister ride) to $69 for an adult ticket bundle (three tickets per each attraction). The Park will be open Thursdays through Monday in June and seven days a week starting July to September. They plan to offer a local discount but are struggling to figure out how to systematically offer it only to local residents.

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