Friday, June 21, 2013

Kinzua Bridge Sky Walk

In years past we have found that our favorite way to celebrate Mother's and Father's Day is with some family time. We take the afternoon and head for a state park and just spend some time exploring. This Father's Day we chose Kinzua Bridge State Park. Dad checked this out back in February and was very excited to share it with us.
The information kiosk had a video playing! This park is way out in the middle of nowhere - so that was cool!

Here's a little background information: When it was built in 1882, Kinzua Bridge was the tallest and longest bridge in the world and 2053 feet long and 301 feet high. It was a attraction from day one - locals and tourists would visit and walk out on the bridge just for the thrill. We saw photos of men in suits and women in huge billowing skirts (it was the 1880's remember?) standing on the bridge peering over the side - before there were guardrails - ~shudder~ (Ok. I am scared of heights, so just the photo scared me! Voluminous skirts, brisk winds, 301 feet above the ground... whew! That's NOT for the faint of heart!)
The boys are looking out over the skywalk (upper right) and down on Maggie on the platform below (next photo)

The bridge was originally made of iron and used to transport iron, but in 1900 it underwent an overhaul and the iron trusses were replaced with steel trusses. Trains rumbled across the bridge until 1959, and later after it became a State Park, excursion trains took passengers out on the viaduct for amazing views.

Maggie on the lower deck. In the background, you can see the twisted remains of the 11 towers thrown to the ground by the tornado.
In July 2003 a tornado struck the bridge and tore down 11 of the 20 trusses, leaving 6 on the south side and 3 on the north. The south side has been reworked into a Skywalk, with the train tracks still in place and a glass floor added at the end. It opened in 2011 and is an amazing sight!

Heading out onto the Skywalk.

The gap between the rails was a little scary for me... I did my best not to look down! The green you see between her feet? That is the top of trees...

The kids loved walking on the glass observation area!

I did not! I had to sit down on the wood just to get the photo below. It is really, really far down!

The view from the end of the Skywalk.


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