Is it 1994 again? There have been so many amusement-ride openings, with Adventuredome’s El Loco coaster, the Linq’s High Roller observation wheel, Wet ’n’ Wild’s Tornado slide and Fremont Street Experience’s towering SlotZilla zip lines (well, at least one of its two lines, anyway) all opening within the first half of the year that you’d swear Las Vegas had returned to its family-pandering days of a couple of decades back.
That attraction list doesn’t even cover this week’s scheduled opening for Cowabunga Bay, Henderson’s answer to Wet ’n’ Wild, and Rio’s VooDoo Zip Line—sort of a cross between the urban SlotZilla and the more wide-open Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon aerial rope slides—that takes guests on a one-minute-plus, 50-story ride through the Vegas sky.
Those of you with ski-lift experience won’t shudder at the suspended seats by which VooDoo Zip Line glides briskly from the 50th floor of Rio’s Masquerade Tower—just below VooDoo Lounge—to roughly the 20th of the adjacent Ipanema Tower. Having done quite a few zip lines myself, I found the downward coast to be tame, its 33 mph top speed barely allowing a survey of the sights—which turned out to be Spring Valley and Summerlin, rather than the Strip—but still too slow to really thrill.
It’s what’s next that gets the adrenaline pumping. Upon nearing the Ipanema Tower, the ride begins to slow down … only to suddenly accelerate just before it completely brakes, like a gotcha! moment. Right after it stops, it begins whooshing backward at around 20 mph, which was somehow more nerve-wracking than the faster trip forward. Maybe it was going slow enough for us to ponder what little there was to the mechanism, or our dangling legs, or the prospect of falling to a splat. At any rate, we were relieved to return to the launching platform (and the locker where VooDoo staff will make you place all personal items—even glasses).
Update: Tickets have been reduced to $25 for both day and night rides, and a discount enables locals with ID to ride for $20 before 8:30 p.m. That leaves you with a few bucks left over to purchase some liquid courage.
VooDoo Zip Line Daily, noon-midnight, $25, $20 for locals with ID before 8:30 p.m. Rio, 702-777-7800.