Y’all know I’m all about bragging rights and when I was home in August, my sister and I went zip lining off Buffalo’s grain elevators at Buffalo RiverWorks and it was freaking exhilarating!
“Am I allowed to scream?” I asked the zip line guides.
Of course, the answer was “YES!”
I asked before walking up 160-some steps inside an old grain elevator along the Buffalo River. There’s an entire collection of old cement grain elevators that were built in the early 20th century. Buffalo was the leading grain market during that time and at one point, surpassed Minneapolis in milling flour. These collection of tall grain elevators have been revitalized and are being enjoyed by residents and visitors.
Buffalo RiverWorks has built an entire entertainment complex in and around some of these silos including dining, a brewery, function space, and adventures including kayaking, curling and hockey on the ice rink, ropes course, and obviously, zip lining!
I was almost out of breath after walking 12 flights of stairs to the 110-foot launching point and I was questioning whether I was physically able to zip the four lines that zigzag from three silos. Thankfully, unlike my other (and limited) zip lining experiences, I didn’t need to use my hand on the line to slow myself down. The lines are designed so you don’t need to use your hands to easily stop.
Two lines end with one of the two guides catching you and the third zip, which soars into the mouth of Jaws at a top speed, the guide catches and clips you to prevent you from zipping back up the line. The final zip is an easy race against another participant and obviously, I raced against my sister.
Standing up on the wood box, 110 feet above the ground in an old grain elevator, I questioned whether I was mentally able to step off and put my faith in the cables to safely carry me across and over the pavement to the next silo. After a deep breath, I stepped off, held onto the cable above, the one that was connected to the gears on the zip line, with both hands, and screamed my head off. Wowza! What an adrenaline rush!
With the second zip, I just couldn’t muster up the courage to jump off and go. I was scared so one of the guides gave me a push. Four guys who were celebrating a bachelor party, were part of our group and they were comfortable in zipping hands-free. I envied their courage.
My sister and I seemed to be the first two of the six to zip, so while we waited on the platform for the others to cross, I admired the views overlooking the Buffalo River and downtown Buffalo.
Part of the experience is walking across a high-rope bridge (think Indiana Jones) 65 feet above the ground. This was probably the scariest part of the experience because it seemed as though the space between the wood planks was broad and I was afraid of falling through. If I missed a step, I knew I would not fall to the bottom because, like the zip line and while waiting on the platforms, I was connected to a cable. Still, falling through would mean I would probably be dangling and that would have been pretty dang embarrassing!
The zip line at Buffalo RiverWorks was fun and I could have reached a speed of 30 mph! It was absolutely a memorable experience and one I would do again, but when zipping, I would trust the equipment and let go of my hands so I could enjoy the thrill of it all.
Nuts & Bolts About the Zip Line at Buffalo RiverWorks
359 Ganson Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
Tel: (844) SIX-CANS (716-342-2292)
Reservations are required and there is a weight limit.
Stick around and enjoy a beer or dinner.