Voodoo Zip Line Will Soon Soar Over Vegas

zip line
Voodoo Zipline photo

Opening in November, the Voodoo Zip Line will connect two towers at Las Vegas’ Rio casino. Starting at the 50th floor of the Masquerade Tower at the VooDoo Steakhouse, riders will travel a third-mile to the 20th floor of the Impanema Tower in about 70 seconds. Riders soar nearly 500 feet above Las Vegas at 33 miles per hour.

Need more zip line? Voodoo Skyline is not the only one in Vegas. Slotzilla, located at the Fremont Street Experience, lets riders take off from a 12 story high slot machine-like platform just below the Viva Vision canopy. Flying at a choice of either 70 or 110 feet above Fremont Street, this one looks to be a tamer version of the Voodoo Zip Line. Interesting, but a one-way ride.Riders on the Voodoo Zip Line will travel 845 feet from tower to tower then make a return trip via a motorized pulley system, traveling backward at 25 mph.

Gadling Exclusive: Downtown Vegas zipline to open Friday

They’ve made it possible for you to fly over the ocean off the Haitian coast, through the scenic Pacific Ranges of Canada and the the Wild Animal Park in San Diego. And this Friday, Greenheart LLC opens its latest zipline above a different sort of native habitat, that of the Vegas Party Animals.

By the end of this week, tourists are expected to able to shoot across steel lines above the crowds milling about at the Fremont Street Experience, the five-block-long pedestrian plaza in the downtown section that is capped by a metal canopy. The underside of that canopy is the world’s largest outdoor LED screen projects light shows at the top of each hour.

The Fremont Street Experience

At the Fremont Street Flightline, passengers will leap from a platform 60 feet high and glide 800 feet down one of four lines at speeds of up to 25 mph to a 14-foot-high landing near the performance stage. As with other ziplines, including the ones Greenheart has built in Haiti, Whistler, Canada, San Diego and 30 miles away in rural Boulder City, Nev., riders hang from the steel line in a harness and can speed up or slow down depending on their body position. Precautions are being devised to keep riders from dropping loose items on revelers below.

“The reality is, the world’s most spectacular trails are all in the air,” said Ian Green, co-owner of Greenheart, which also opens a series of four 100-foot-high bridges in the Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda. “They’re trails that give you a very different experience. The experience of flying through something is a lot different.”

Fremont Zipline plans to charge $20 per rider from 6 p.m. to midnight, $15 from 2 to 6 p.m., and $10 per re-ride, although that structure could change.

The zipline landed a 90-day permit on Monday from the city’s building department and must get Las Vegas City Council approval to build a permanent structure after that. Green, who has plunged $150,000 into the temporary towers and lines, hopes to elongate the attraction to the entire length of the Fremont Street Experience – more than doubling the length – if that comes to pass.

The world’s most spectacular trails are all in the air. The experience of flying through something is a lot different.

“If it works the way we think it’s going to work, then we would absolutely consider making it bigger and better and longer and permanent,” said Fremont Street Experience president Jeff Victor, who was approached just one month ago by Gree about the idea.

Downtown Las Vegas has been particularly depressed by the lousy economy and competition with the flashier Strip, so the addition of an exciting new offering may be a significant shot in the arm. Green said he expects to hire a dozen workers, which is good news for a city facing more than 14 percent unemployment.

“A lot of people in this town really love this area because it’s historic, so what we’re doing is providing a fantastic attraction to an entire area and try to bring money in to keep this place going,” said general manager Max Margolis.

Green rushed to get this up and running this week because he’s already got his first promotion in mind: The International Broom Racing Championships. Details are sketchy so far, but the plan is to have contests for best broom, fastest zipline time and most creative contest and to time it with October Frightfest, the FSE’s Halloween events.

The Fremont Street Flightline will be a bit more genteel than Greenheart’s others, which have longer lines and go at faster speeds with steeper drops. But Green hopes the location will increase his company’s visibility and pique interest in their four-line system in Boulder City, the town on the way to the Hoover Dam where riders can get up to 50 mph and see the Vegas skyline.

And speaking of the Vegas skyline, that’s his next target. Greenheart has been in talks for more than a year with the Excalibur casino on the Strip about a zipline that would scale the famous themed casino’s castle towers.

“The good thing with Fremont is we’re still a small company, we are still unknown,” he said. “So the opportunity to do Fremont is the opportunity to be known. The great thing about Vegas is anything’s possible.”

Las Vegas, off the beaten Strip

The Las Vegas Neon Museum doesn’t announce itself with flashy lights; you have to find it in less obvious ways. Take a $20 dollar cab ride up to northern edge of Sin City, past the baking asphalt parking lots erupting with weeds and stout pawn shops eager with WE BUY GOLD placards, to the nondescript building the museum calls home. That’s when you’ll see it. Across the street, shimmering in the desert heat like a mirage: a gigantic, rusty-metal pool player. In one hand a cue, cocked, ready to fire, the player’s torso twisted in contrapposto like a billiard-playing colossus. Near this metallic giant lay dozens of gorgeously decorated neon signs – Stardust, Golden Nugget, Silver Slipper – artwork from a bygone era of Vegas history, out of sight and out of mind. Las Vegas is not a city that honors its past. Yet somehow fragments remain, ready to reveal their secrets to visitors who venture beyond the town’s glittering Strip.

Vegas is town forever stuck in the present; a city that appears to have neither a past nor a future: it simply is. It’s a fact borne out by the city’s relentless reinvention, renovation and recreation. On the famous “Strip,” outdated hotels are leveled to make way for the newest mega-resort. Even finding a clock inside a casino is a challenge. All of this suggests a town that ignores the passing of time in exchange for the pleasures of an ephemeral present. Except not all of the Old Vegas has disappeared; it’s simply been shoved to the margins. Venture ten minutes from ageless Las Vegas Boulevard and a different Vegas emerges; a destination of Atomic Era drinking dens, whimsical pinball parlors and a museum harboring a gallery of neon masterpieces.

If you’ve ever wondered what exists in Vegas beyond Roman Strip Malls and Eiffel Tower knock-offs, it’s time to dig beneath the surface. Let’s tour Las Vegas, off the beaten Strip. Keep reading below for more.A Neon Graveyard
If it’s possible for an Inert Gas to symbolize the magnificent highs and tumbling lows of Vegas history, then Neon is it. This strange element has been fueling the glowing signage of Las Vegas ever since mobster Bugsy Siegel dared to imagine this fantasy desert town as the world’s foremost gambling mecca. Though the casinos of Bugsy’s day long-ago met the wrecking ball, some of their signage lives on at the Neon Museum in northern Las Vegas.

For $15, visitors can explore “canyons” stacked with old Vegas neon signage, and imagine for a moment what once was: a place that hummed with a fiery visual energy, full of wildly exotic genie lamps, cocksure cowboys and colorful flamingos erupting like fireworks in the dark. It might not look like the Louvre or The Met, but this is one of the world’s great repositories of art, strokes of neon artistry left to rust and bake in the relentless desert sun.

Drinking in the Past
The Atomic Liquor Store is more than a bar: it’s a temple to long-lost Americana. Reportedly the “oldest bar” in Vegas, this drinking den got its name from the 1950’s nuclear tests that took place only 60 or so miles from its front door. Swanky Vegas cocktail lounge this is not. In addition to its location deep in the heart of seedy Fremont Street, visitors will need to be buzzed in the locked front doors.

But fear not, this historical oddity is worth the trip. From the minute you catch a glimpse of the sturdy decades-old neon sign out front, greeting you like an old friend, to the inflation-proof $1 cans of Busch Beer and molding pool tables, you’ll feel as though you’ve traveled back in time. The bar’s ramshackle decor, killer jukebox stocked with plenty of Springsteen and Mellencamp and a rotating cast of local Sin City characters is guaranteed to provide a memorable night out.

Playing for Keeps
Games are the de facto language of gambling. In Las Vegas, wherever you move you’re sure to encounter these games, the constant gaze of a slot machine or the hypnotic spinning eye of a roulette wheel beckoning you to try your luck. But a very different type of game competes for your attention at the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame. Except instead of one-armed bandits you’ll find 10,000 square feet of vintage pinball and arcade games from the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, waiting for you to give them a play.

Whether you’re a fan of Captain Fantastic or Guns ‘n Roses, Waterworld or Pac-man, there’s a childhood memory begging you to relive the past. Drop in a quarter, and a real-life time machine springs back to life. Bells clink. 8-bit explosions foam in your eardrums. A flickering orange glow of enjoyment fills your view. But too soon, your pinball disappears from view and the machine again falls silent; a teasing vision of a Vegas that once was, but is no more.