WildPlay Kelowna features a Monkido® high ropes adventure course, ten DragonFLY ziplines, five suspension bridges, and a large Primal Swing for a thrilling pendulum ride above a canyon.
WildPlay Kelowna features a Monkido® high ropes adventure course, ten DragonFLY ziplines, five suspension bridges, and a large Primal Swing for a thrilling pendulum ride above a canyon. Working with project partners ISL Engineering on this design-build project, MacDonald & Lawrence provided design and build services from conceptual planning and design through to construction and administration.
The adventure park was designed to fit into the natural setting, making use of existing site trees, and using timber as the main construction material. The longest zipline is 195 m, and the longest canopy bridge is 36 m and up to 15 m off the ground. The swing is one of the largest timber swings in the world with a 30 m swing line and a 37 m long timber structure.
One of the main challenges of this project was the use of timber in the swing design; the aim was to build a large two person swing using the maximum length of timber that it is possible to transport, and with extremely slender diameter. The design of the swing involved the configuration of the 37-metre long, eight-sided, tapered coastal Douglas fir timbers into three dimensional trusses to maximise the efficiency of the slender timber members. For additional strength, the whole structure was reinforced with steel and cable trussing.
The truss timbers were milled in the M&L workshops using a custom built sawmill that would cut to an octagonal taper on the very long spar timbers. The octagonal profile and the alignment of the taper on the logs with respect to the diameter of the trees was an important part of the engineering of the swing. The precise milling and the quality of timber selected by M&L was an intricate part of achieving a successful design.
The fabrication of the swing on site in Kelowna presented a number of challenging logistical considerations. In total four cranes were in operation simultaneously with a team of more than ten crew, both on the ground and working in man baskets from cranes. The individual trussed spars were prepared on the ground and assembled in lifts, first of the main a-frame, followed by the two triangulated trussed spars and rigging from which the swing is hung.
The collaborative design and engineering of this project created an impressive tall and slender structure that explores the limits of the structural potential of the timber used. However, the connection detailing, the layout and the installation process were are all equally important to making this project possible, and the results is an impressive and fun structure made from local wood.