Lightning closes MOSI zip line on first day
TAMPA P - Plenty of people wanted to zip 65 feet over the Museum of Science and Industry on the new Sky Trail Zip Line, which officially opened this morning. The zip line allows riders to glide 350 feet over the Kids in Charge building from one tower to another, and return in the opposite direction. "Our mission here at MOSI is to make science real for people of all ages, and nothing makes science, especially gravity, more real than a zip line," said Wit Ostrenko, president of MOSI, in a media release. The zip line is part of the Sky Trail Ropes Course that debuted last year, said museum spokeswoman Shannon Herbon.The speed of each ride varies because it is determined by gravity, the weight of the rider and wind resistance. Officials could not immediately say how many people rode the zip line today, but it had to shut down at about 2 p.m. because of lightening in the area, Herbon said. "Safety is our number one concern," said Herbon, adding that the zip line towers are made of metal. Museum staffers monitor local weather using a Sky Scan EWS-PRO monitor, which detects lightening strikes up to 40 miles away. When amber lights indicate strikes within eight miles, the ride is shut down for at least 30 minutes. This afternoon, the amber light flashed frequently as foul weather rolled in. "Florida weather is so unpredictable," said Herbon. Ashley and Dana Fleming, 10-year-old twins from Orlando, were disappointed when they returned from viewing other parts of the museum. "We bought tickets earlier and went to go see an Imax movie," Jeff Fleming, a videographer. When the ride is shut down, ticket holders get a rain check. Will the family return just for the ride? "Probably not," the twins chimed in unison. IF YOU GO MOSI's Sky Trail Zip Line will be open every day, weather permitting. Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m.; Fridays from noon to 8 p.m; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Group rates, team-building and birthday party packages are available. Visit www.mosi.org or call 813-987-6000 for more information. Tickets to ride the Zip Line are $15 for non-members or can be added to a MOSI general admission ticket for $10. Zip Line tickets for MOSI members are $8. Combo tickets for both the Zip Line and the Ropes Course for non-members are $20.