If you've ever heard the urge to feel what being inside a hamster ball is like, add ZORBING to your list of wacky activities to try on vacation. A New Zealand company came up with the concept of "globe riding" over 14 years ago, and today there are many other copycat spots all over the world.
What is ZORBING?
A ZORB is basically a human-sized hamster ball made of soft plastic. The ball is inflatable and some can fit up to three people inside. Official ZORB locations have tracks setup down hills which the ZORB ball rolls. There are a few different varieties of globes that adrenaline seekers can choose from: wet or dry and harnessed or unharnessed. There are also different track designs to choose from, such as the straight down or zig-zaging.
Where can you go ZORBING?
The first, flagship location is in Rotorua, New Zealand. Open year-round in any weather, the Rotorua location is full of grassy hills perfect for rolling down. Visitors can experience the regular ZORB ride, or the ZYDRO wet option (a cross between a waterslide and a roller coaster), where a few buckets of cold or warm water (depending on the season) are dumped into the globe before riding. There's also the ZORBIT option, described as an "astronaut in training" that features a harness to hold riders in place while they tumble down the hills.
The only ZORB spot in the U.S. is the Smoky Mountains location, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Already a popular vacation spot for its theme parks and other attractions, add in ZORBING and you have shortlisted a great family adventure. There are also ZORB facilities in Guam, and franchised locations in Ireland and Argentina.
Need to Know Information
ZORBing is fun for people of all ages and families, but any riders under the age of 18 must have signed consent from a parent or guardian. The ZORB outfitters have completed hundreds of thousands of successful globe rides, but there is always a chance of serious injury. Before considering a ZORB ride, you should read the safety information and make sure you are in good health. If at any time you decide it's not for you or you get cold feet at the top of the hill, they will give a full refund so give it a go!