Culture Shock Day Trip

Day Trip to Thrillz Danbury | Alyssa Smith

The outside of the beige building with the big black Thrillz sign above the door was huge. Since 2018, the high-flying adventure park has been providing Connecticut daredevils thrills. I assumed the thirty thousand square feet of fun was going to feel enormous. But, it didn’t feel that way because the people and obstacle courses with names like “Twister” and “Log Roll” took up so much room. It was like entering a playground and a party at the same time; almost everything inside was dark blue and pop tunes blasted over the loudspeaker while thrill seekers of all ages are nearly an arm’s length away from each other. 

The line forming at the counter to purchase wristbands to grant them access to zip lining and obstacle courses looked to be about a ten minute wait. To my surprise, it was less. When a Thrillz staff member wrapped a thin orange band around my wrist, there was a sudden feeling within me that I had just accepted some sort of challenge. Alyssa: the next Ninja Warrior.

Barrels: Photo Credit: Alyssa Smith

The first obstacle course was called “Barrels.” It looked very intimidating, and appeared to require a lot of balance. Kids who attempted the course tried to walk across the rope-like strap and work their way under the barrel-shaped obstacles that hung from the ceiling. In contrast, the adults attempting the challenge had a different strategy: pushing the hanging orange obstacles out of the way to make it across. Though, at first, the uncertainty about what strategy to use was overwhelming. After waiting in line, a decision was made.

For my first attempt, I tried the kids’ strategy. Surprisingly, balancing on the strap was extremely difficult; Grabbing onto the orange drapes hanging from the ceiling helped the kiddos get across. The course wasn’t as easy as it looked. My core and leg muscles felt tight with each wobbly and unsure step. Unfortunately, the strategy was a failure. With the grace of a crash dummy, the giant purple airbag stunt-pad hugged my body after a disappointing fall. On my second try, I pushed the orange cylinders out of the way—like the adults did—instead of going under them. It was an intense full-body workout, and the final step off the rope and back onto the platform felt amazing.

Rolling Logs / Photo Credit: Alyssa Smith

The next obstacle course called “Rolling Log” was more challenging than the first. It contained a long, gray, padded log that rolled from side to side, along with two giant blue punching bags about five feet away that swing as you walk or crawl across the course. Any daredevil attempting the course must push the bags out of the way in order to continue to complete it, or hold the bags and twist their body until they maneuver past them and make it to the finish line. 

This particular obstacle course took this daredevil four tries. Teenage girls attempted to crawl across the rolling log while adults and hyper-active teen boys walked or ran across. I assumed my balance would be better if I crawled. So, like a one-year-old child, but with better balance, I began to crawl. Sadly, my short legs couldn’t even make it to the first punching bag, and my body landed on the airbag stunt-pad with a heavy thud. The amount of balance required for the course was more than I had expected, and for the last attempt, the first strategy was once again repeated. 

On the second attempt, I had managed to make it far enough to come face-to-face with a punching bag. I pushed it to the side, causing it to swing back and forth. When the timing was right, my body quickly crawled past the swinging bag while trying to maintain my balance and avoiding the behemoths. Though the course looked easy after watching a few people complete it without stumbling or looking stuck, the reality for me was that the course was far from easy. After realizing the difficulty of the course, feelings of frustration began to build. I had to dig deep into my Ninja Warrior training and allow pure adrenaline and determination to take over. The resulting power boost led to a victorious landing on a sturdy platform. Though falling off the course a few times was inevitable and predictable due to inexperience, completing the course was an unexpected victory. 

Unstable Rope Bridge / Photo Credit: Alyssa Smith

After “Rolling Log” challenge, the next was much easier. The “Unstable Rope Bridge” required a lot of balance and patience, and in order to complete the course, a person must climb up a black-and-orange rope ladder, ring the black bell that hangs over the end of it, and climb back down. The only thing that made the course difficult was maintaining balance on the wobbly ladder. I managed it with expert balance and rang the bell on my first try. Standing at the top of the ladder gave me a feeling of achievement, despite the course being so simple.

The Sweeper / Photo Credit: Alyssa Smith

The last completed course involved no jumping or dodging. Intrepid wristband wearers had to walk or run across a very matted and cushiony walkway while dodging or jumping over the arms of a spinning machine. The arms of the obstacle course, known as “Sweeper”, were long and cylinder shaped. Surprisingly, on the first try, I made it across. Although a lot of people who attempted it made it look easy, it was the obstacle course that was the most tiresome and required the most concentration. On my second try, I landed on my behind. 

Although landing on my butt wasn’t how I wanted my Thrillz experience to end, the adventure was a great physical challenge that encouraged me to face my fears. The obstacle courses brought out a kind of determination in me I hadn’t had since field day in elementary school. Kids and adults of any age ready for a great physical and mental challenge should visit Thrillz in Danbury for the ultimate indoor obstacle course experience.

Alyssa Smith is a Staff Writer for Blue Muse Magazine.

Header image courtesy of Alyssa Smith.

Blue Muse Magazine is a general interest literary magazine published by the students of the English Department at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut. We publish poetry, fiction, and a gamut of creative nonfiction on anything and everything the blue muse inspires us to write.

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