Family fun on the Crazy Squirrel Aerial Adventure Course at Historic Banning Mills. (Photo: Jenni Veal)
Not only is Historic Banning Mills one giant family zip line adventure, but it’s set within one of the most beautiful landscapes to be found in Georgia, the historic Snake River Gorge located just an hour southwest of Atlanta in Whitesburg, Georgia.
Geared toward aerial adventurers of all ages, this eco-adventure resort is your family’s ticket to high adventure in the Georgia woods.
There are so many zip line and aerial adventure course options at Historic Banning Mills – more than 100 zip lines, 12 sky bridges and one enormous aerial adventure park – that sorting through all the options will be your first challenge. So here’s a quick guide:
Zip Line Tours:
Historic Banning Mills is home to the longest and largest zip line canopy course in the world: the Screaming Eagle Zip Line Canopy Tour. The tour features more than 10 miles of zip line fun separated into six separate adventure levels, so everyone in the family can enjoy zipping, soaring and screaming through the woods and sky. Families can choose and combine courses based on age, stamina – and fearlessness.
Photo: Historic Banning Mills
Adults and children ages 8 years and older can glide through the forest on the Level One Zip Line Course, which features nine zip lines in a serene woodland landscape.
The Level Two Zip Line Course (ages 10 years and older) features zip lines that soar 200 feet above the Snake River Gorge and nine sky bridge walks that range up to 80 feet in height.
Zip Line Courses Three through Six (ages 10 years and older, minimum 90 pounds) are even more exhilarating, with pathways above Snake Creek and sky bridges that traverse back and forth over the gorge at heights up to 100 feet.
There are lots of ways to package zip line tours, with plenty of cost options. A beginner family of four can enjoy the Level One Zip Line Tour for $200 or, for 16 hours of exhilarating family fun, purchase the Two-Day-Rush Zip Line Adventure for $1,872.
Aerial Adventure Courses:
Families can enjoy two sections of high-adventure fun on the Crazy Squirrel Village aerial adventure, which utilizes the SmartSnap belay system to ensure maximum safety. Adults and thrill-seekers ages 4 years and older can get started on the Lower-Tier Course, which features five zip lines and seven aerial challenges ranging in height from 4 to 20 feet off the ground.
Families with children 9 years and older can move on to the Upper-Tier Course, which offers four zip lines and 35 aerial challenges ranging in height from 15 to 60 feet off the ground. Tickets can be purchased for individual courses or both courses and can be paired with various zip line tours.
Adults and children 10 years and older will enjoy the Aerial Adventure Challenge Park, an ambitious course that features 12 challenge elements at heights up to 80 feet in height. This aerial adventure can be paired with various zip line tours (Level Two to Level Four), as well.Free Falls & Climbing Walls
For an extreme rush, daredevils ages 10 years and older can experience the Adventure Power Tower Free Fall. This 10-story free fall utilizes a German-engineered material that allows participants to descend at almost full-fall velocity speed and then land smoothly and firmly on the ground with no bouncing or jerking. Those who would rather climb up instead of fall down can try out the world’s tallest free-standing climbing wall.
And There’s More…
There are many ways to enjoy the outdoors at Historic Banning Mills. In addition to zip line and aerial adventure courses, outdoor activities include a GPS adventure challenge, hiking trails, guided kayak trips on the nearby Chattahoochee River, horseback riding and explorations along the Snake River – one of Georgia’s most pristine waterways.
Guests can also relax at the facility’s day spa or settle into rocking chairs that line the lodge’s wraparound deck and overlook the Snake River. Throughout the week, guests can enjoy birds of prey shows presented by Dale Arrowood of Winged Ambassadors.
History buffs will enjoy Banning Mills’ extensive history. The area was originally home to the Creek Indian Nation. In the early 1800s, the area featured a thriving mill community, with 10 mills and five dams spread out over two miles along the Snake River. Historical ruins still dot the riverbanks.
“You can come to Banning Mills for outdoor adventure, to relax, and to learn about an important piece of Georgia’s history,” said Historic Banning Mills founder and manager Donna Holder, who operates the facility with her husband Mike. The Holders purchased the Banning Mills property in 1998, raising their four children there and eventually opening a bed and breakfast. According to Holder, the significant history of the area emerged over time, as did the spectacular zip line setup, which opened 2007.
Aerial or Earthly Accommodations
Historic Banning Mills offers a wide variety of overnight options, with plenty of price and size options. Accommodations include a new Treehouse Village, as well as cottages, cabins, economy lodge rooms, and camping/RV sites.
A family of four can spend two nights in a treehouse for $428 or two nights in an Economy Lodge for $230. Tent sites ($15-$22 per day) and RV sites with partial and full hook-up options ($22-$29 per day) are also available.
The lodge offers breakfast, lunch and dinner for guests. You can also arrange ahead of time for a family picnic basket, a popular treat.
To make a reservation or learn more about Historic Banning Mills, visit HistoricBanningMills.com or call 770-834-9149.