Whitewater Center Day Date
My mom arrived in town late Friday evening (she’s staying with us for a week) and kindly offered to watch Chase all day on Saturday while Ryan and I headed off to the U.S. National Whitewater Center for a daytime date!
I planned the adventure as part of Ryan’s birthday surprise and while we’ve been to the Whitewater Center before to hike, this was our first time purchasing a day pass to try a bunch of the activities on the property.
When we arrived, we quickly learned that Saturday was the final day of the Whitewater Center’s Fall Festival that culminated in a boat race where people could make their own boats to race down the rapids. It was hilarious but also really neat to see the boats people made out of everything from air mattresses and cardboard boxes to doughnut inner tubes and giant floating water bottles.
The creativity was amazing and we had such a great time watching the event throughout the day. (I personally loved the group that dressed up as every member of Gilligan’s Island and sailed down the rapids in their homemade S.S. Minnow.)
We spent the 30 minutes we had to spare before our first adventure of the day watching the boats and then made our way over to the briefing area for everyone who signed up for the 11:30 a.m. whitewater rafting adventure.
After a quick rundown of safety procedures, we were outfitted with a helmet, lifejacket and paddle before the guides split everyone into boats of eight. Soon we were gliding through the water, getting soaked by splashing rapids and paddling our hearts out. It was SO much fun and a definite adrenaline rush!
There are two different channels of rapids at the Whitewater Center and we did each of them twice. Our guide changed things up each time we went down the course so we hit the rapids in different ways and it was really awesome! On our second time through the first rapid, we got a bit turned around and hit a rock hard which sent the guy in front of me flying. I dug my legs into the seat to try to secure myself, but when he pulled on my hip, I fell in with him and we both immediately did what we were taught and floated down the rapids on our backs with our feet in front of us to protect us from any rocks.
Another raft called out to us and I grabbed onto the rope and hurled myself into their boat before I was transferred back into mine. It all sounds quite dramatic and kind of scary but the freakiest part was realizing I was about to fall in. Once I was in the water, I felt a lot more comfortable and in control. It was quite a rush even though it was a bit unnerving at first!
The rest of our rapid adventure was less dramatic but still a ton of fun. We ended our run on the final channel soaking wet with smiles on our faces!
Thankfully Ryan and I packed a change of clothes and shoes (I wore Columbia Drainmaker Water Shoes for rafting and they were perfect!) and made our way to the locker rooms to put our dry clothes on before heading off on our next adventure. Our entire visit to the Whitewater Center was quite wet and dreary and the rain only picked up throughout the day. We crossed our fingers and hoped that most of the available activities would be open and were happy to find that the Figure 8 zip line and ropes course were both still running.
It was raining hard by the time we got suited up for the zip lining and ropes course which gave the whole experience a bit of an eerie feel. I’ve done a lot of zip lining before but never through the rain so it was kind of spooky!
The people working the zips assured us they were safe and said they never close unless lightning is spotted but soaring high in the sky as rain pelted my body and face was quite an experience! I wasn’t able to have my phone out on the course at all so I didn’t capture any photos of the suspension bridges and ropes course but it was a blast! The first bridge was probably 50 feet in the air and since the wood panels were slick, it took a few steps to ease my nerves and get into a rhythm. The ropes course wasn’t too long and before I knew it, we were zipping back to the beginning of the course and walking back down toward the rapids.
The bike trails were closed to to the rain and it was raining hard by the time we finished zip lining. We were both soaked and quite chilly, so we figured we should call it a day and headed home around 3 p.m. Despite the rain, our day date to the Whitewater Center was so awesome and something Ryan and I both agreed we must do again soon. It’s an outdoor adventure lover’s paradise!