You are here

Home  >  Blog  >  Strings Attached
Strings Attached

Forever Florida's Zipline Safari takes guests on a thrill ride in the treetops

Sometimes ecotourism means camping out in the jungles of Madagascar. Other times, it's whale watching in Indonesia. Today, as I glide through lush forests at speeds up to 25 mph, ecotourism equals ziplining in Osceola County.

And I'm enjoying every minute of it. As I climb the tower to the first "zip" at Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida, a 4,700-acre wildlife conservation haven, the guide explains that this Old Florida parcel of land actually includes nine beautifully preserved ecosystems.

Let me be upfront with this: I'm a fan of almost any activity requiring a waiver and helmet. Even so, many types-from 8-year-olds to grandmothers-have found this thrill ride enjoyable; as long as they are not afraid of heights.

As for me, I have no hesitation as I hurl myself off the launch pad. Between the "whees" and "wahooies," I take in deep whiffs of jasmine and sounds of nearby owls. The surrounding lush and rugged landscape, however, is hard to focus on while I'm whizzing through the treetop canopies. My eyes are peeled for bald eagles and black bears, which are both known to roam these parts.

Conservation is, in fact, Forever Florida's raison d'être. The owners, Dr. William and Margaret Broussard, lost their son to Hodgkin's disease nearly 20 years ago. The last wish of the 29-year-old-a wildlife ecologist and biologist-was that they protect the surrounding ecosystems. In turn, the couple painstakingly amassed the Forever Florida property, parcel by parcel, from the more than 500 people who had snatched it up during the 1960s and 1970s.

Now, with 4,700 acres, they have a significant focus on minimal disruption to the environment, and the whole zipline system was built and is maintained with that focus in mind. Not coincidentally, some of the profits from Forever Florida's eco tours are donated to the conservation effort.

At the end of the session we make our way back to the safari buggy, a swamp mobile made of recycled car parts. And, as if the zipline weren't cool enough, we trot down a section of the Florida Trail, one of eight national historic pathways running from South Florida to the Panhandle.

The ride back offers plenty of sights. To the right: the largest herd of Cracker Cattle in the state, a critically endangered breed that the Broussards are committed to protecting. To the left: bromeliads above and neon-green duckweed crowding the ponds below.

These wide-open spaces are completely untouched and exactly what they were intended to be. If ever there were a place begging you to savor the tonic of nature, this is it. No doubt, ziplines have come a long way since my dad built one off our South Carolina treehouse in the early 1980s. But the thrill of gliding through the trees is exactly the same.

Download the Kissimmee Area Guide to map out exciting outdoor adventures for your vacation to Kissimmee, Florida.

Travel Tricks & Insider Tips

An old car outside Old Town Kissimmee

Kissimmee Car Travel Guide

October 21, 2021 by Experience Kissimmee
If you’re cuckoo for cars, you’ll love it here in Kissimmee. Check out all these fantastic car-related attractions.
Continue Reading
Turkey Slices, a bowl of mashed potatoes, bread filling, veggies, cranberry sauce, gravy and bread

Where Should You Order Your Kissimmee Thanksgiving Feast From?

October 18, 2021 by Experience Kissimmee
Ready for a vacation from Thanksgiving cooking? We’re serving up hot and fresh suggestions on what to order in with our fun and easy takeout quiz.
Continue Reading

Our Favorite Haunts: Haunted Attractions in Kissimmee

October 07, 2021 by Experience Kissimmee
Want spooky season to last all year long? Check out a few of our favorite haunts that are always scaring up a good time!
Continue Reading
People gather for live entertainment in Old Town Kissimmee

Top 10 Places to Watch Live Entertainment in Kissimmee

September 30, 2021 by Experience Kissimmee
Hit the lights! It’s time for the top 10 places to watch live entertainment in Kissimmee. Ready? Set? Showtime!
Continue Reading

Top 6 Animal Selfies to Take at Wild Florida

September 23, 2021 by Experience Kissimmee
Add these Wild Florida animal encounters to your next Kissimmee vacation bucket list!
Continue Reading
Serving pumpkin pie with cream and red sangria filled glasses raised to a toast

Fall in Love with Kissimmee

September 20, 2021 by Experience Kissimmee
Fall in love with these Kissimmee-inspired recipes, activities, and playlists.
Continue Reading