Oklahoma City Riversport & Boathouse District

Full Disclosure:  If you read Michelle’s Facebook post last week, you’ve read the uncensored version of our adventure! Here’s a more appropriate accounting of our adventure, suitable for our website.

Here are two links of things to do at the OKC Boathouse District for the OM’s and those not participating in convention events.

Friday Night Glow –  https://www.riversportokc.org/events/glow/
Aug. 1-4 Spring Canoe National Championships https://www.riversportokc.org/events/sprint-national-championship/

Last Saturday I went with Michelle, W5MQC, and Patricia, W5UBI, to Oklahoma City Riversport Adventures to check it out before the convention. Riversport is one of the newer adventures in OKC and is increasing in popularity as the OKC Boathouse District grows at the riverfront.

Located alongside the Oklahoma River, Riversport hosts a number of high adventure activities, most of which are not for the faint of heart. There are also a number of kid friendly and youth options, as well as a few less daring adventures, such as flatwater kayaking on the river, visiting the café, the small video game arcade of sitting around people watching. There is no charge to visit, you “pay to play.”

Riversport Adventures include a class 4 white water rafting or kayak experience, an exciting tubing adventure (this is not a lazy river-you will get dunked), a multi-level ropes course, a bungee jump, zip-line across the river, stand up paddleboarding, climbing wall, slides, and other several other activities.

Since I’m the least adventurous when it comes to water sports (and I’m dealing with some wrist issues) Michelle and Pat decided to be our Riversport warriors. We checked in to purchase tickets and discovered there are many options available, from a single ride pass, to multi-mini packages, to the all-day “Epic Pass” and even a season pass!

Due to our time constraints, Michelle and Patricia both decided on the Sandridge Sky Trail (high ropes course).

Michelle also chose the Sandridge Sky Zip (zip line over the river) and Patricia chose the Rumble Drop, which is an 80-foot free fall from the top of the Sandridge Sky Trail. There is a safety harness, but the drop simulates the free fall experience of parachuting or bungee jumping. I didn’t tell Patricia that the lady who did the Rumble Drop shortly before her was carted away by ambulance with a head injury (heck, she already paid for her ticket and she really wanted to do it!)

I was tagged by Michelle to be the photographer since I would be doing my best to find places to stay cool and dry. Unfortunately for me, Leah had club and Cora meetings that day, so she wasn’t available to take our adventure pics!

First up, the ropes course. After about 30 minutes in line, Michelle and Patricia got suited up with their harnesses and proceeded up the stairs to the first level of the ropes course.

Check out Michelle’s T-shirt!    Here they go!

While from the ground this didn’t look so bad, in reality they had some challenges (in addition to the height) that you just don’t know about until you are up there.

Michelle, who has participated several times in the Rugged Maniac Race (best described as an obstacle race through mud for crazy athletic people) found the areas without ropes to hold on to quite challenging, perhaps more mentally than physically. Patricia, on the other hand, seemed to be cool, calm, and collected and even performed some daring moves!

I credit that to the fact that she’s 10 years younger than Michelle and me (haha). Both enjoyed the challenging climb which took about 45-50 minutes. At the end, Michelle took the winding tube slide down and Patricia took the stairs. So far, so good, so we thought…

Slide Photo from Riversport website

The winding spiral slide caused Michelle to become a bit dizzy. Hmm… July in Oklahoma is typically HOT and the sun is very intense. The weather was exactly as expected HOT, HOT, HOT in the mid 90’s I think. Next, Michelle waits in line for the zip line and Patricia goes to the Rumble jump. I turn in to the water girl, and after buying our first round of drinks (water that is), I stake out my places to capture these events on video.

First up is Patricia. There she is at the top of the Rumble drop. (By the way, it’s called Rumble because that is the name of the OKC Thunder basketball team’s mascot.) She gets harnessed up, steps to the edge and just stands there! Come on, already, my arm is getting tired waiting to capture this on film. After a bit, (and I found myself yelling JUMP, JUMP – which felt kind of strange), and she took the plunge! Amazingly, I actually captured this on video!

All the while, Michelle is standing in line, and despite my water runs, and holding her place in line, she exits to the ladies’ room to throw up. She secretly doesn’t tell us, gets back in line, climbs to the top, waits and waits and waits, in the blazing sun at the top. You can’t take anything to the top with you-it’s too dangerous if you drop it–and there are NO cover or misters up there. After waiting forever for the “Epic Passers” who get to go directly to the front of the line, Michelle FINALLY gets strapped in for the zip line. In the meantime, Patricia and I are waiting on one of the few benches in a shady spot in the kid area, posed to get this on film. Now it’s Michelle’s turn and we got it on film!

Unbelievable, she really did it! It was on her bucket list to zip line! Before she came back across the river, I made yet another water run to meet her at the exit. Only thing is, I saw her come off the stairs with a cup of ice water, and a medic and a few staff members there. What was going on? They escort her to the arcade where they get her more water from the snack bar and the medic gets her one of those special ice pops with electrolytes. I guess she was pretty dehydrated! All that waiting at the top of the Sandridge Sky Tower in the direct sunlight with no water…that must have been it…but Michelle said it was the slide that actually started it. She was dizzy after the slide, then later, she got somewhat dehydrated and sick. I’ve always trusted Michelle with medical stuff from her Army Medic experiences, but now I know better! The word “stubborn” comes to mind.

So, the moral of this story, or from this epic experience is, if you play in the heat, you will get burned. Be sure you have plenty of sunscreen, drink tons of water, (which we already knew, but it was a bit surprising how much more we needed than we thought), and take plenty of breaks in the shade. If you are participating in the water activities, that will help you stay cool. But we did not do any of these on this trip. If you plan an outdoor adventure here, bottled water is available at about $3.00 and cups for $1.00. While I thought this was a great experience and a lot of fun for the participants, I was disappointed that I did not see any water fountains at all and water had to be purchased. I’m not sure if coolers are allowed.

Overall, we had a great time, then went over to Bricktown Brewery (I love that place) for cool air, darkness, some food, and I got to enjoy a cold beer. The others, well, they mostly needed water…as you can imagine. I would definitely recommend this place for my sons (age 16 & 21) and those who are physically fit if they wish to participate in the high adventure activities!

Judi Voeller, N5KUO