Roundtop Mountain Resort, PA
Family Friendly?: Yes
Age Range: Ages 6+, ages 6 and 7 must ride with a rider 14+
Restrictions: Maximum rider weight is 275 pounds, maximum combined weight for up to 3 riders is 550 pounds
Recommendations: OGO balls are great fun for all ages 6+. The OGO Balls are part of an Adventure Package includes many other activities. The sweet spot for the package seems to be families with kids ages 6 to around 14. Teenagers and adults will enjoy the OGOs but may find the other activities to be oriented towards a younger crowd.
(Updated 3/10/16) When it comes to weird outdoor activities, riding the OGO Balls at Roundtop Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania ranks right up there. I had experienced their Vertical Trek canopy tour a year earlier and had a blast so I thought I would give OGOs a try. They kept me entertained for a solid couple of hours.
OGO Balls consist of an 11 foot diameter ball with a second 6 foot ball suspended inside by 1,200 colorful cords. Needless to say, the balls are pretty striking visually. They are made of a soft, transparent vinyl material allowing you to see through it with a bit of distortion. The outer ball is inflated so you are effectively riding in a giant airbag. They roll the balls down two tracks built into their winter snow tubing runs. <<Update – Roundtop has added a third lane for 2016. >> The tracks are about 800′ long with a decent pitch at the top.
If you have ever seen or heard of Zorb Balls, these are exactly the same thing. In fact, OGOs were created by the same people who came up with Zorbs. From what I was told, there was a split in the original ownership, so OGOs are the official balls that are produced by the originators of the idea while Zorbs have become the generic version produced by outside manufacturers. Not sure about that info, but OGOs are clearly well-made.
I couldn’t wait to OGO so I changed into my swimsuit and made my way to the top of the runs. When my turn arrived, the workers pumped the water in and then told me to dive through the access tunnel into the ball. Well, let me tell you that even though it was a hot day, the water in the ball was COLD! The workers zipped up the hatch on the tunnel and the ball began to quickly warm in the sun. Once the run was clear, they opened the gate and off I went. After a brief hesitation, the ball rolled off the first steep pitch and I was in a chaotic world of splashing water and spinning colors – it was a blast! There really isn’t any sense of dropping or even speed, it is a totally unique experience. If you have family members who are reluctant to ride, you can tell them with complete certainty that there is nothing scary about the ride at all. It is pure silly fun and I laughed the whole way down. At the bottom, the workers orient the ball over a drain, unzip the hatch and literally dump you out with the water. Those workers have a tough job, show them your appreciation!
Since I was already soaked from head to toe, I decided to take a few more H2OGO runs. Each one was a blast and I was surprised that I never really got tired of it. If you stand anywhere near the OGO runs and listen you can’t miss the fact that the riders in every ball are laughing and cheering the entire way down. I also noticed that riders of all ages appeared to enjoy the OGO Balls equally – this isn’t just for kids!
Roundtop Mountain Resort is located about half way between Harrisburg and York, PA. It is easily accessible from I-83, Rt 15, I-81 and the PA Turnpike. The OGO Balls are part of a $40.00 ($30.00 for kids) package that includes some short zip lines and is a paradise for young families. They keep adding new attractions each summer so there is always something different. But the OGO Balls alone are worth the package price and the few other OGO operations in the country charge more than that just for the OGOs. They also have a nice lodge and a food court. They have added a couple of additional climbing structures to the package and the price is $40.00 for ages 11-64, $30.00 for ages 5-10 and 65+. If you live in the area, they also offer a season pass for only $75.00 for ages 11-64 and $55.00 for ages 5-10 and 65+. This is a screaming good deal if you plan to go more than once. Unlike many amusement facilities, there is no admission charge to watch so it is a great place for grandparents – although there was definitely some grandparents happily riding the balls on the day I was there.
If you are looking for a fun afternoon of unique activities, check out Roundtop Mountain Resort. For more information, visit www.roundtopmountainresort.com.