It can be strange moving to a new area.

You don’t know anyone. You don’t know the best places to eat. And you don’t know what to do during your free time.

Luckily for me, the Metro East offers plenty of things to discover.

So join me in a new series, where I discover the best of what the Metro East has to offer. 

Whether you’re new to the area, or have been here most of your life, I hope you can follow along and discover more of the Metro East with me. 

It’s been 10 years now since the Grafton Zipline at Aerie’s Resort opened, and it’s still as thrilling to this day.

The canopy tour features seven ziplines, two suspension bridges, walking trails, and a surprise “trust fall” at the end, totaling nearly two miles of adventure.

I got the chance to tag along with two other couples late Saturday afternoon.

Joe and Fleur Cowls live in Springfield, where Joe is from. Fleur is originally from the United Kingdom.

For more information, including additional pictures, visit

Jody Beckar and Tim Wisniewski are both from Decatur and were spending the weekend together in Grafton.

The two couples were excellent additions to my zipline tour, as it was both Jody and Fleur’s birthdays, so everyone was in a feel-good mood.

Aside from the breathtaking views once you’re on the ziplines, the tour was made that much better by our zipline guides, Jonny and Gabe. If you’re lucky enough to have these two be your tour guides when you schedule an appointment, your time will be spent being entertained by cheesy jokes and music. These two guides brought some great energy for the day.

Although walk-ins are accepted, Aerie’s Resort recommends reservations to guarantee a spot.

If you decide to try the ziplines, expect the tour to last about two hours, depending on your group size. Our group of five took exactly two hours.

Those two hours go by quickly, as the ziplines range from 300 feet in length to 2,000 feet, with speeds up to 50mph.

The heights sound scary, but the breathtaking views make it worthwhile to tackle your fears. I never once felt in danger, especially since we were always clipped from our harness to a tree.

If you’re scared of heights, be reassured that the first zipline is 300 feet and is the perfect warm-up for the rest of the tour

That zipline, nicknamed Baby Bear, is followed by Road Runner at 700 feet, Gobblers Knob at 1,000 feet and River Run at 1,200 feet. Then there is Limestone Leap at 1,300 feet, Deer Hollow and Barn Burner at 1,500 feet, and the Soaring Eagle at 2,000 feet. The Soaring Eagle has the best views, especially during its 250-foot descent.

Although I’m someone that stays physically active, you don’t need to be a fitness expert to zipline. According to Aerie’s Resort’s zipline guidelines, those who take part must weigh less than 250 pounds and wear closed-toed shoes. So if you’re in Grafton making your rounds at the wineries and restaurants, pack a bag of some more comfortable clothing and athletic shoes. 

Since I was out on a 90-degree day, it did feel like a bit of a workout. Even though you’re sitting back in the harness, you’re still using your core and upper body to hang onto and guide the zipline handlebar. And the hiking elements mixed in with the ziplines made me regret the morning leg day session I had. 

Overall, the Grafton Zipline tour was something I’ll tell my friends about and recommend others to do. 

The tours are Thursday-Monday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the costs vary between $79 and $89 per person, depending on what day you visit. If you reserve a tour for a group of eight or more on a weekday, a discount of $10 per person is applied.

For more information, call 618-786-9477 or visit the Aerie’s Resort website.

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