Ropes course at museum leads to closer guest interactions

ROCHESTER, NY – Just know, you’re not alone.

It’s not uncommon to see someone get onto a RCI Adventure Products’ Sky Trail® aerial adventure course and show signs of nervousness. Their eyes get a little wider, knees might get a little shaky, a hint of sweat forms on their forehead and the butterflies become a little more pronounced.

If this is you, we get it and we applaud you. You’re challenging yourself. Pushing yourself beyond your natural comfort zone. And it is at this point where Sky Trail® course operators can play a critical role.

“There’s a lot more guest interaction,” said Lee Smith, Director of Guest Services at the Strong Museum in Rochester, NY. “Sometimes we have to play the role of therapist.”

Playing Dual Roles

The Strong Museum opened their Sky Trail® and Sky Tykes® courses, which they brand as Skyline Climb, in November of 2021. They quickly realized that staff working the courses would have to play dual roles. One role was what they trained for, general course management and guest services. Operators perform daily course inspections and help guests get into harnesses and securely onto the ropes course.

The second role involved a little learning on the go, Smith said, as operators became the support system for the occasional nervous guest, helping encourage those who may be struggling.

“We’re invested in that approach,” Smith said about going out of their way to help guests. “We encourage our team to seek out someone to help.”

Smith said the management staff gets a lot of direct feedback about the course, specifically praising the operators for their support and helping put someone at ease.

“A lot of feedback comes from guests coming right up to staff and giving accolades to our operators,” Smith said.

Unique Suspended Design

The Strong Museum’s two-level custom indoor ropes course, constructed in 2021, includes an 80-foot Sky Rail® and a smaller Sky Tykes® course, designed for children 48-inch or less. The Sky Trail® course features 25 different obstacles and has a capacity of 40 people.

The Strong Museum course design stands out as it’s one of a handful of courses that’s suspended from ceiling. Another examples of a suspended ropes course resides at the Destiny USA mall in Syracuse, NY. The Canyon Clumb Adventure is dubbed as the world’s largest suspended indoor ropes course, which was designed and built by RCI in 2012.

Smith said the course at the Strong Museum is meeting the their expectations with regard to attendance and revenue. The course has helped make the museum’s atrium, where it’s located, a higher traffic area.

“People spend a lot more time in that particular section,” Smith said, noting that the museum’s carousel and café are located there as well.

Ropes Course Boosts Sales

Many of RCI’s hundreds of customers have noted a boost in secondary sales, as food, beverage and retail sales increase after course installation. The Strong Museum has experienced this as well, Smith said. Since the museum requires closed toe, closed back shoes, it also offers guests low-cost footwear to wear on the course, should they require it.

“The shoes are a never-ending revenue stream,” Smith joked, as they’re now suddenly, and unexpectedly, in the shoe sale business.

The Strong Museum Skyline Climb courses are open daily with tickets costing $8 ($7 to museum members). For more information on the course and the museum, go to: