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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

World’s Largest Ropes Course at Sea: Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Ship

What you’re looking at is yet another ropes course I will not be climbing. However, I must share it with you, because 1) it’s the world’s largest ropes course at sea; and 2) I’ve been watching other people try it for the past three days, from the deck of the brand new Norwegian Breakaway. Pinch me.

Zip line Norwegian Breakaway

This is just the zip line part, at the end of the course.

I’ll be telling you more about the Breakaway – the largest cruise ship to ever homeport in New York – next week when I get all my notes and video together. Just on these top decks, there are a range of kid-friendly entertainment options, including the first Aqua Park at sea with five full-size water slides and twin Free Fall slides, and a three-story sports complex that includes this ropes course, a nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall and more.

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Canyon Climb: World’s Largest Suspended Indoor Ropes Challenge Course, Syracuse, NY

WonderWorks I wanted so badly to vindicate my Park City cowardice this summer, when I didn’t have the nerve to ride on the country’s longest alpine slide. Vindication will have to wait for another day.

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

Two weeks ago, we road tripped to Syracuse, NY, mainly for the grand opening of the WonderWorks attraction in the Destiny USA mall. WonderWorks, which we know from Orlando, has opened its first northern U.S location here, but with a twist. It contains the Canyon Climb Adventure Ropes Challenge Course, the world’s largest suspended indoor ropes course.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

I was SO sure I could face my fears, get harnessed up, and go out there, even just a short way. And if I couldn’t, I would just send the husband. And I knew that the rest of WonderWorks would be a treat for the kids.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

Canyon Climb

If you’re into daredevil thrills and adrenaline rushes, you will love this course! What propels it above other courses is the fact that it’s suspended from the cavernous mall ceiling, leaving you walking across ropes and narrow beams with nothing between you and the ground, 70 feet below your feet. There are more than 80 different obstacles and activities, including swinging steps, lily pads, and a tremor bridge.

Ropes course

Do you SEE those little dots at the bottom? Those are the people on the ground floor, 70 feet below!

How many of these did I experience? Zero. But I did get harnessed up, and climbed the stairs to the first platform. But then, the beam looked so very narrow…just right for this fearless four year old who came out of nowhere and took off past me toward the other end.

We all attempted it, actually, and The Girl chickened out too. I’m proud to say that while The Boy — who loves his terra firma just like his momma — didn’t make it out past where the third floor ends, he did complete a small loop with quiet dignity and grace. In the end, Matt was our soldier. He didn’t complete the entire course (which can take up to an hour), but he did get out over the mall courtyard.

Canyon Climb

“Do it for the blog, son.”

This is Mr. Brave in action. He’s starting from the right side of the screen, slowly and carefully working toward the middle. Thirty seconds in, note the fearless guy on the left practically bounding across the plank bridge!


WonderWorks mixes the best elements of a children’s museum, science museum, and high-tech video arcade. When you arrive, everything is upside down, until you travel through an “Inversion Tunnel” into the main area with more than 100 hands-on exhibits.

Some of our favorite experiences included the Hurricane Shack, where you feel the effects of a Category One hurricane with 84 mph winds.


The Hurricane Shack at WonderWorks

The Boy and I “played” Mindball, which uses EEG biofeedback to move a metal ball either toward or away from you, depending on how calm your brain gets. Mr. Never-Worked-A-Day-in-His-Young-Life easily won this. I used my loss to guilt him into lying on the bed of 3,497 nails, an experiment to test the effect of pressure and force over area.

He also thought the EVA astronaut suit was cool, as well as the Mercury Capsule.

Mercury Capsule

Tight quarters!

The Girl enjoyed playing in the Bubble Lab, dancing to the colors of light in the Recollections area, and playing Virtual Air Hockey on a touch screen with Matt.

Air hockey

Paddle-free play!

My BIG adventure that day was my first game of “lazer” tag, played with a group in a blacklit maze (at an additional cost). Another thrill for me was the 4D extreme motion simulated thrill ride in the XD Theater, which is included in the price of admission.

See? I can handle thrills…as long as I’m buckled into a seat which never leaves the ground.

How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):

For ropes course fans, this place is a must. For chickens, WonderWorks offers a heckuva lot, too!

Where We Stayed:

During our visit, we stayed at the Genesee Grand Hotel, which put us close to everything in the city, but in a quieter neighborhood. Recent renovations and some upscale amenities make this property very comfortable. And The Girl was quite taken by the koi pond in the lobby!

Koi Pond

Genesee Grand Hotel, Syracuse, NY

Hey YOU! Go BIG! 

WonderWorks at Destiny USA

9090 Destiny USA Drive, Syracuse, NY


Disclaimer: Our visit to Syraucse was hosted by Visit Syracuse. WonderWorks provided us with complimentary admission.


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