SUMMER FAMILY FUNWhen school’s out, the fun begins in West Virginia. From wildlife centers and amusement parks, to ziplining and zoos, there’s a little bit of heavenly adventure for everyone in the family. Now’s the time to make those cherished memories with the ones you love most.
Camden Park, in Huntington, is West Virginia’s only amusement park and offers over 30 rides and attractions to make the best summer memories. Thrill-seekers should ride The Big Dipper, a 45-foot-tall wooden roller coaster. Little kids (and even the adults) will enjoy the petting zoo and merry-go-round. Test your skills at The Midway, an area with carnival-style and arcade games. If you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s plenty of corns dogs and cotton candy to go ‘round!
Nothing says summer, though, like a trip to the zoo. Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo, in Kingwood, is one of West Virginia’s largest collections of exotic and native animals with over 30 different species. Here, you’ll find a menagerie of chimpanzees, ring tailed lemurs, grizzly bears and white tigers.
The Good Zoo at Oglebay Resort also has an array of friendly animals for your family to visit, with over 50 species, 20 of which are endangered or rare. Kangaroos, meerkats, rainbow lorikeets, reindeer and red pandas all call The Good Zoo home. You’re even allowed to get up close and personal with a few of the animals if you’d like.
All aboard a trip through the mountains on an old fashioned, steam-powered locomotive. This timeless excursion can become a summer family tradition. Take a trip to one of the highest points in the state on the Cass Scenic Railroad. Bald Knob, at 4,842 feet, offers beautiful panoramic views of the Appalachian Mountains. The 22-mile trip takes roughly four and a half hours but is worth the climb. By the end, you’ll have made the equivalent to an 800-mile trip to Canada in climate because of the higher altitude.
Take a Trough Trip with the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad and enjoy mountainside views. It’s common to see a few bald eagles on this 3-hour trip through the Trough of the South Branch Potomac River, from Romney to Sycamore Creek and back.
What about a scavenger hunt? Did you know that Berkeley County is the #1 most favorited county for geocaching in the world? Geocaching is a technology-driven treasure hunt that combines the use of smart devices and the outdoors, engaging GPS tracking to find cache boxes. Log your find and move onto the next cache. Explore the region then rest up at a cozy cottage or cabin.
For a real adventure, try visiting an aerial park or challenge course. The Aerial Adventure Park at Harpers Ferry consists of nine aerial forest challenge trails, varying in difficulty. There are approximately 12 elements per course, totaling 108 challenges and ziplines. Are you up for the challenge?
Grand Vue Park, in Moundsville, is more than just a park. View the Ohio Valley like never before at their Aerial Adventure Park. You’ll find a ropes course, giant swing, trampoline, rock wall and more! After your day of adventure, spend the night in a treetop villa and sleep under the stars.
More aerial fun can be found at Pipestem Resort State Park, a 4,050-acre state park in Summers and Mercer counties. Soar through the treetops with the Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour. Measuring at 300 feet with speeds up to 50 mph, the tour offers nine zips, a cable bridge and a belay to satisfy the adventure seeker and nature lover in all.
If the adrenaline rush isn’t what you’re looking for but you still long to see a bird’s eye view of the Bluestone Gorge, try Pipestem’s tramway. Here, you can comfortably take in the sights from your tram car. With a length of 3,410 feet with a vertical rise of 1,097 feet, Pipestem’s aerial tram is a one-of-a-kind experience.
There’s never a shortage of family fun in almost heaven. With so many adventures, your family might have a hard time choosing just one!
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