Once you see it, you’ll understand its name. Say hello to the WhoaZone at Heron Beach, an on-water obstacle course located at Holly Recreation Area in Oakland County. Kids and grown-ups get to run, jump, slide and bounce on inflatables right on Heron Lake.
Opened in May 2018, the WhoaZone at Heron Beach is located in Holly Recreation State Park here in metro Detroit. It offers something for everyone with four floating routes to explore that range in difficulty from easy to challenging.
That makes it a family-fun addition to the various outdoor and indoor water parks and features here in southeast Michigan.
Plenty of choices
“Our floating obstacle course provides a completely unique experience while offering multiple challenge levels that allow a variety of abilities to move through the course at their own pace,” says communications manager Shannon Brower.
The WhoaZone in Holly offers a quartet of options for kids to:
- Run over or relax on – these are simple obstacles that are easy to play on
- Jump on – which requires balance and makes things a bit trickier
- Climb or run on – a primo choice for more experienced water bugs
- Get challenged – this is where things get difficult!
For example, the Springboard, a pyramid-looking inflatable, lets kids get seriously airborne. Meanwhile, the Target, which looks like a big wheel with spokes, provides swimming and diving challenges in shallow water.
And that’s just for starters. The 17 total obstacles here also pack in monkey bars, a balance beam, halfpipe – even trampolines, all floating right on the lake.
“From racing each other to just trying to traverse a tricky challenge,” Brower says, “the WhoaZone is a fun and exciting way to get the family active and spending time together.”
Details if you visit
Interested in visit WhoaZone at Heron Beach? First, you should know that guests must be at least 7 years old, 45 inches tall and able to swim to participate.
Life jackets, which are provided (you cannot use your own), must be worn at all times, as the water is eight feet deep max. Water safety for kids is paramount here.
For the 2019 season, sessions start at $15 – that’s in addition to the $11 Recreation Passport. That gets you access to all the state’s parks for a full year – (Michigan State Parks camping, anyone?). Each session is one hour and includes a 10-minute safety orientation.
Hours are 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, typically from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends.
Reservations aren’t mandatory, but note that the WhoaZaone is first-come, first served, so it’s not a bad idea. No selfie sticks or pets are allowed.
When your session is over, make a day of it by trying out some stand-up paddleboards or swimming, hiking or strolling around this state park.
Outside food and non-alcoholic beverages are welcome in coolers, but no glass containers are allowed on the beach. Concessions are available, too.
This post was originally published in 2018 and is updated regularly.