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Taking flight

Flightline San Diego

Talk about a great way of seeing wildlife. Flightline is a new zip-line at San Diego's Wild Animal Park that gives you the chance to fly over the park like a condor.

Taking flight...........................(Fledgling.flight.4.30.09.jpg)

One of the longest zip-lines in North America, Flightline is two-thirds of a mile long, and soars at speeds as fast as 47 miles per hour, 421 feet above the Asian and African animal exhibits. It mimics the experience of a bird in flight, and creatures below include the Indian rhinoceros, Pere’ David’s deer and Przewalski’s wild ass. 

Flightline San Diego

The whole experience, including training, a short fledgling flight and a behind-the-scenes tour along the route, lasts 1½ to 2 hours.

Taking flight...........................(Fledgling.flight.two.4.30.09.jpg)

'Riders can make themselves aerodynamic like a peregrine falcon, the fastest bird in the world,' says Michael Mace, curator of birds for the Wild Animal Park. 'Or, if during the flight they want to soar like a California condor on the thermals, not expending any energy, just enjoying the view and feeling the air, they can basically glide. Then, as they reach the end of the ride, they stretch out their legs to slow down – just as an owl would do as it goes into a landing.'

The experience, designed by Canada-based Greenheart Conservation, costs $70, plus admission, and one-third of all proceeds go to the San Diego Zoo’s efforts to save the California condor. RM

Images: San Diego Zoo & San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park

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