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Swing on in for the Carnegie Science Center's new Ropes Challenge course

Shirley McMarlin
| Thursday, June 8, 2017, 10:33 a.m.
Visitors to Carnegie Science Center’s Highmark SportsWorks® facility will defy gravity as they navigate obstacles, 'walk the plank,' and then zoom down a zipline on the new Ropes Challenge, opening to the public June 19.
Carnegie Science Center
Visitors to Carnegie Science Center’s Highmark SportsWorks® facility will defy gravity as they navigate obstacles, 'walk the plank,' and then zoom down a zipline on the new Ropes Challenge, opening to the public June 19.

Would-be ninja warriors can test their skills on a new attraction at the Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh's North Shore.

Opening June 19 as part of the center's Highmark SportsWorks facility, the Ropes Challenge course will invite visitors to defy gravity as they navigate a number of obstacles.

The single-level course consists of 12 elements, including a rope bridge, walk the plank, climbing wall and zipline. Beneath the Ropes Challenge will be a Sky Tykes ropes course, designed to give younger visitors a similar adventure closer to the ground.

As with all SportsWorks activities, the course combines learning and adventure, including a psychological challenge, says Connie George, senior director of marketing and community relations.

It also fits with the facility's mission of offering immersive experiences that demonstrate the science involved, says Dennis Bateman, senior director of exhibits and experience.

“The ropes course appealed to us both for the scale of it, but also for the cross-over science,” Bateman says.

“There's the physics involved in things like balance and center of mass and inertia, but also the physiology of fear and thrills and perception: how does your brain react to a challenge; what makes you sweat when you are on a difficult challenge; what happens in your body when you overcome a challenge and are flush with success,” he says.

The 15-minute activity will be a permanent part of SportsWorks, which also includes LifeWorks, activities that illustrate the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle; Physics of Sports, with daredevil-style activities that demonstrate various scientific principles; and Sports Challenge, in which participants test their skills in various sports.

Designed by Ropes Course Inc., the new challenge will be included with general admission and will be open during regular center hours.

Course users must meet height requirements and wear shoes with closed toes and backs.

Users of the Ropes Challenge must be at least 48 inches tall and weigh a maximum of 300 pounds. Sky Tykes is limited to guests under 48 inches in height.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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