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Trampoline parks are sprouting up all across the world. However, they all pale in comparison to Bounce Below - the world's biggest underground trampoline park that opened in the historic slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales, on July 3rd. Nestled in a massive cavern that is located inside a 100ft deep and 60ft wide former slate mine, it provides visitors with a bouncing experience like none other.
Visitors to Bounce Below begin their journey with a safety briefing, after which they all don overalls and safety helmets and embark on an old mine train for the short ride into the mountain. Upon arrival, the guests encounter a sight that makes even the most seasoned trampoline park visitor, gasp in awe - a series of trampolines spanning a whopping 10,000 square feet, all connected by slides, the biggest of which is a mind-blowing 60-foot plunge, as well as, chutes and ladders. The whole experience is made even more surreal, by the vibrant colors that illuminate the cavern.
To ensure that jumpers of all ages, sizes and skill levels have fun, the giant trampolines have been set up at different heights. For extreme thrill seekers and trampoline experts, there is one that lies 180-feet above the cavern floor.
For novices and younger visitors, there is a bouncy net fitted just 20-feet from the ground. But given that all three trampolines are enclosed by nine-foot mesh walls, there is little risk of anyone falling out.
Sean Taylor, a spokesperson for Bounce Below says the inspiration for the trampoline park came from a similar, albeit above the ground, trampoline park they cam across in the woods in France. Of course, building an underground park this big, was no easy task.
It took the construction team using portable lamps, five months to remove the 50 tons of rubble that was inside the slate mine. Once the giant cavern was empty, a crew of experts from France was flown in to install the bolts and cables required to hang the giant nets. Then came the most important part - testing the trampolines to ensure they were safe and enjoyable for visitors. While experts took care of the 'safety' testing, it was thirty local kids and teens that were invited to test for the 'fun' factor, before the official opening of the park, on July 3rd.
Taylor says that the park will help draw in tourists and create much-needed jobs in an area that has experienced high unemployment, since the majority of the slate mines were shuttered, in the 1970's. However, there were some skeptics. Among them was Aaron Davies whose biggest concern was the construction of a man-made park inside a naturally beautiful cavern. But after experiencing Bounce Below, he has become a big fan of this unusual trampoline park that has visitors literally jumping with joy.
The best part is that once visitors are done with their hour-long session at Bounce Below, they can experience some of the other fun activities offered by its parent company, Zip World. These include traveling deep underground using Britain's steepest cable railway, to check out the old mines and observe quarryman demonstrating slate mining.
For those that are more interested in 'above the ground' activities, there is the choice of two ziplines - Velocity or Titan that lie within 45 minutes of each other. As you may have guessed, neither is ordinary.
The mile-long Velocity, which stands 500 feet above the ground is not just Northern Hemisphere's longest zipline, but also, its fastest, allowing daredevils to fly across at speeds exceeding 100mph.
With over 8km of ziplines, the newly opened Titan is no slouch either. Besides being the largest of its kind in Europe, it is also the first in the world to feature four lines, side-by-side. This means that families and friends can experience the thrill of flying across at 70mph, simultaneously! And they are not done yet. Zip World is now focusing its efforts on building the world's first underground zipline - So stay tuned!