While the annual family vacation is a time-honoured tradition, many families are moving away from theme park destinations and focusing on more nature-inspired outdoor adventure parks.
In 2012, the Adventure Travel News reported in their 2012 Travel Trends report that there is a trend towards soft adventure and participation in more active outdoor recreation, including hiking or viewing of wildlife. âOur trending research has shown that family vacations with a focus on soft adventure are on the rise,â says Nicole Petrak with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). âFamilies want to ensure that they have active, experience-driven outdoor interactions that educate on the importance of the environment and our association with it.â (For more information on the Adventure Travel Trade Association's 2012 Travel Trends report, visit www.adventuretravelnews.com/2012-at-a-glance-travel-trends-by-region).Two companies that have been watching this trend closely are WildPlay Element Parks (www.wildplay.com), with locations across British Columbia and Yukon, Canada; and Rainforest Adventures (www.rainforestadventure.com), the pioneer of natural adventure parks with locations in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama and St Lucia. Rainforest Adventures, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama, St LuciaSome say Rainforest Adventures was the first company to show that a forest left standing will have more sustainable value than when it is cut down. Since the first park opened in Costa Rica in 1994, Rainforest Adventures has created adrenaline-inducing natural parks with a strong focus education and preservation of each park's natural assets in popular tourism areas like Costa Rica (both Pacific and Atlantic), St Lucia, Panama and Jamaica. The company combines unique rainforest adventures such as tram rides, bobsleds and zip lines with multi-lingual naturalist guides. The goal is to ensure each visit is an educational as well as adventurous rainforest experience. Every Rainforest Adventures location is also a wildlife and wilderness refuge and there is a commitment to providing jobs to local community members and reinvesting back into the local region. âThe concern raised with families living in urban cities experiencing a lack of interaction with wildlife and nature has created a demand for more immersive outdoor experiences, where people learn a whole new appreciation of the magic within every rainforest,â says Annika Bratt, vice president of sales and marketing for Rainforest Adventures. âWhen a family has visited one of our parks, our hope is that they leave with a stronger appreciation of how important rainforest preservation is.â WildPlay Element Parks WildPlay Element Parks opened in Nanaimo, BC in 2006 with the goal of creating exciting outdoor experiences that were accessible to people from children to adults, and of a wide range of fitness levels. Their aim was to combine the concept of play with unique outdoor spaces in a way that would encourage friends and family to come together, experience the life-changing power of nature, and evolve beyond their own self-perceived limitations. WildPlay Element Parks attractions include zip lines, a bungy jump, giant high-speed swings and a tree-to-tree âMonkido Aerial Adventureâ, which is named to denote the active âmonkey-see, monkey-doâ style of play.WildPlay Element Parks locations include Kelowna, Nanaimo, Whistler, Maple Ridge, and Victoria, BC as well as a location in the Yukon. âWhen we opened our first park in Nanaimo, BC in 2006, we were anticipating that we would attract a pretty specific crowd of outdoor lovers and active thrill seekers,â says Tom Benson, CEO of WildPlay Element Parks. âWe were right and wrong about that. Today, in all five locations we see a huge number of families and individuals from every walk of life. They're not just visiting a park to experience a thrilling attraction, but to get away from concrete theme parks and use their own steam to play instead. The fact that they can have just as much fun, catch more amazing views, and feel closer to nature is why we think the interest in outdoor adventure parks is growing strong.âAbout Rainforest AdventuresWith adrenaline-inducing parks located in Costa Rica (both Pacific and Atlantic), Panama, Saint Lucia, and Jamaica, each Rainforest Adventures location serves as ecotourism attractions as well as wildlife and wilderness refuges. Since 1994, the company has been combining unique rainforest adventures (such as tram rides, bobsleds and zip lines), with exceptional, multi-lingual naturalist guides, giving each guest an educational, adventurous, sustainable and unforgettable rainforest experience. For more information, visit www.rainforestadventure.com. About WildPlay Element ParksWildPlay Element Parks creates accessible, exciting outdoor adventures that often lead to life-changing moments. Through play, their âElementâ attractions reduce physical and mental boundaries; adults, teens and kids build stronger connections to each other and with nature. The inaugural WildPlay Element Parks location opened in March 2006 in Nanaimo, BC, featuring the renowned Bungy Jump, Primal Swing, DragonFLY Zip Lines, and Monkido Aerial Adventure courses. Today, six Parks in Kelowna, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Victoria, Whistler, BC, and a location in the Yukon, offer the original range of adventure recreation attractions, as well as the high-speed ZOOM Zip Lines. WildPlay Element Parks' ongoing commitment to community and environmental sustainability, has earned the growing company several notable awards across their network locations, and recognition far beyond their borders. For more information, visit www.wildplay.com. -30-Media Contacts: Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838, 250-882-9199 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org Brian Cant, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838, 250-896-3844 (cell) or email@example.com