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Castles N' Coasters adding zip line to park's lineup

Arizona Republic

Original Article »

March 24, 2011

Around the country, harnessed riders at amusement parks and ski resorts zip around miniature mountains, using a zip line to hang from treetops and platforms.

Later this spring, a zip-line ride will open in Phoenix at Castles N' Coasters.

The landlocked amusement park near Dunlap Avenue and Interstate 17 is expanding upward - more than 30 feet up. The park's new attractions include a rope course as well as a zip line.

Spokesman J.R. Cardenas declined to say how much money was invested in the two new attractions and a new entry plaza at the year-round amusement park near Metrocenter.

Over the past few months, freeway commuters watched as the zip line, called Sky Wire, and the rope course, known as On the Ropes, slowly took shape, rising like a postmodern steel sculpture.

Those swinging or climbing the ropes will have a view of the miniature golf course, Cardenas said.

The rope course is 290 feet each way, and patrons can climb at their own speed.  Sky Wire's zip line is 600 feet long, and the ride is estimated to last about 10 minutes, Cardenas said.

The 48-inch height requirement to ride/climb is similar to rules for other attractions at the park, and ticket prices are the same as other attractions.

Cardenas said he anticipates both new rides will be popular even when it's hot. The rides are slated to open before triple-digit temperatures arrive.

"It is not a water-based attraction," Cardenas said. "It is possible that people may not want to strap on the gear or climb around a harness, but we are a park open on all the weekends of the year."

Keely Varvel Hartsell of Phoenix said her 6-year-old daughter visited the amusement park twice last week during spring break. Hartsell said lines at the park were fairly short and face painting, food and drinks are reasonably priced. And fortunately her daughter is tall enough to ride most of the rides.

"We were there for four hours and got to ride everything she wanted to, sometimes twice," Hartsell said. "It's not comparable to going to a Southern California park, but for an afternoon, it was fun."

Castles N' Coasters, originally opened in 1978 as Golf N' Stuff.

In 1992, the park opened its two roller-coaster rides, Desert Storm and the Patriot, a log ride, carousel, a swinging sea dragon and bumper boats

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