It’s a Wide, Wide, Wide, Wide World
The concepts of “adventure park,” “aerial adventure,” and “experiential education” encompass a very broad range of activities and goals. Yet, despite obvious differences within and between these concepts, the activities and goals have a lot in common. All of this is on display in this issue.
At the adventure-as-amusement end of the range are the builder profile of RCI Adventure Products, “Beyond the Forest” (p. 54), and our Park 360 on Mexico’s Xcaret (“The Cancun Colossus,” p. 58). RCI’s builds have spanned the recreational/experiential divide. Xcaret’s multiple parks also encompass a range of themes and degrees of adventure. Both hold lessons for everyone in the commercial and recreational sides of the industry.
At the adventure-as-education end, “Mapping Career Paths” (p. 18) offers advice on forging a career in adventure education that also applies to those seeking a career in recreational adventure. “The Best Rescue is No Rescue” (p. 36) aims to reduce the need for rescues at height through course and program design; the advice is relevant to all aerial operations. Maintaining a high level of staff morale, as told in “Hip, Hip, Hooray for Us!” (p. 12), is important for all businesses. “So, You Want to Build It Yourself” (p. 62) lays out what any DIY-er needs to know about building a course regardless of the type of operation.
Occasionally, and lamentably, these articles also reveal an undercurrent of animosity between different sectors of the industry. There’s room for all in the adventure realm, though. All manner of aerial adventures help build an appreciation for the outdoors and physical activity, and that can bring prosperity to all. The casual vacationer might discover aerial trekking and be inspired to take part in an experiential program. Or, participation in an experiential program might develop a taste for aerial trekking or zip lining that carries over into recreational park visits.
The pandemic has shown us that once people discover the outdoors, they get hooked. Let’s focus, then, on expanding awareness of all the adventures and education that our industry, broadly defined, provides, and engage people in our activities—all of them.