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Up into the Tree Tops

My son and I found ourselves with an afternoon to try something new, the Aerial Adventure Park in Keystone SD, which is a tree top adventure that offers climbing and some short zip lines.  There is also available a long zip line for thrill seekers. There are only 30 of these in the USA. We had never had this type of experience before and with the opportunity to try this so close to home...why pass it up? We opted for the aerial adventure and did not do the long zip line.

I can go on and on about how friendly and helpful the staff was and you might think I am exaggerating, but it speaks volumes when starting something new on such a positive note, to the degree that my son walked away saying, "I like that guy." We were excited to experience what we had just learned.

We started on the basic aerial course which was the perfect first experience. My son stepped out on the first obstacle, a wooden beam structure.  The staff had explained everything so well that when it was time to move through the trees, my son was comfortable enough that he had no second thoughts about starting his adventure;  it was as if it was something he had done regularly. Shrugging off the squeamish sensation in my stomach, I followed him into the adventures.

The course provided a great mix of challenges.  Nothing proved too extreme for the either of us. We talked along the way, analyzed our next move and worked together as a team. Finally, we arrived at a short zip line, pulled out our trolly and zipped over to the other side. We were literally on the seat of our pants with a zip line encounter waiting for us on each course.

With some time remaining we opted to take on one more course.  The difficulty increased, but working off the adrenaline rush from the first course, we were eager to tackle the next one. That was derailed slightly when we came up to the first zip line on that course.  The course led us higher than we had experienced previously.  My son did not want to cross it. One of the staff members on hand noticed this and made his way over to us. He provided words of encouragement, which were well received, but my son still decided not to go.

Luckily, there was another option. To our immediate left there was an obstacle which was considered an "escape."  I looked at his route (a single wire with an additional wire to hold on to.  I was not very comfortable with that option, but my son chose that over the zip line.  I opted for the zip line.

As he waited for me after his crossing, I zipped across to a single tree and after some appreciation of my surroundings, I zipped back across and met up with him and moved through the rest of the course. There was one last challenge which required a switch of our clips mid-obstacle. It very much enjoyed watching my son study his task at hand and methodically execute his moves.

The course came to an end, which produced nothing short of ear to ear smiles and a sense of accomplishment. On our way out we encountered another family, the Norman family. They just finished up a separate course and I had to ask them of their experience. Their smiles said it all.

Overall, it was a great adventure and bonding experience that I had with my boy!  If something new or a challenging is what you are seeking, this father-son duo would totally recommend the aerial adventure in Keystone.  I'm sure the Norman family would concur.

203 Cemetery Road
Keystone, SD 57751
Phone: (605) 666-4478
www.rushmorealpineslide.com

Aerial Adventure
Tour Length: 1 3/4 hour
Adults: $39
Children 7-12 yrs: $29

Zip Line
All Ages: $12

Minimum Age: 7 years old

About the Author

Greg a California native who transplanted to South Dakota with his wife and children over 7 years ago.  Armed with a background in professional photography, Greg chooses to tell the story through the eye of the camera.  His appreciation for the Black Hills stems from his outside-looking-in approach.

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