Texas has some of THE best destinations for extreme sports lovers, and yet those wanting to try bungee jumping here have only one option, and even that is not a classic bungee jump, but a controlled ride at an attraction park, which the adrenaline junkies among you will no doubt find rather, let’s say, underwhelming. There used to be more bungee jumping spots in Texas, but all but one have shut down.
That being said, we’re set to help you out – in this article not only talking a bit about what bungee jumping is and where it came from, but also where you can go bungee jumping near San Antonio, Texas, and further afield. Read on, thrill-seekers…
What Is Bungee Jumping?
Bungee Jumping, (also spelled bungy) is a sport where people jump from a bridge, crane or building while attached to an elastic cord (the “bungee”). Some brave folk even choose to bungee jump from helicopters and hot air balloons!
As you jump from the structure, the bungee stretches, recoiling when you reach the full length of the cord and bouncing you back up. After a few bounces, you’ll be left hanging until the operator lowers you to the ground or pulls you back up to the jump platform.
Interestingly, it is a ritual that has been practised for centuries – today’s bungee jumping was inspired by a Vanuatuan ritual called “land diving,” where men dive off wooden towers with vines tied to their ankles.
“Every year from April to June, the Vanuatuan island of Pentecost hosts one of the most spectacular and death-defying cultural ceremonies ever conceived. Known as the Nagol, it sees men climb flimsy 100-foot wooden towers and dive headfirst into empty space, with nothing to break their fall but vines tied their ankles… the success of the all-important yam harvest is said to depend on the courage of the previous year’s divers.”– Ian Lloyd Neubauer, for CNN.
Why Do People Like Bungee Jumping?
Bungee jumping is a real adrenaline rush. Some say their life flashes before their eyes on the way down, their minds helplessly wondering at their chances of survival (we’ve all heard the horror stories about people jumping before they were properly attached, or cords breaking). It’s often over far too quickly, though, and leaves a lot of jumpers simply hungry for more!
Is Bungee Jumping Dangerous?
Bungee jumping feels like you are knocking on death’s door, then bouncing back. It is extremely unusual for someone to actually die while bungee jumping, and in most cases this happens due to miscommunication between the instructor and the jumper, or faulty equipment held by an unprofessional company. There have been fewer than 20 recorded bungee jumping fatalities since 1986 worldwide, and this shows that, when done right, bungee jumping is a safe sport to enjoy.
There are very few professional bungee jumping companies working in the U.S., around 12 in all, and if you want to do a jump, it is safer and better to do it with them, knowing they are certified and have the right and inspected equipment to attach to you. Deaths and serious injuries are more likely to occur when people bungee jump with amateurs. Only bungee jump with a professional, reputable company and be sure to listen carefully to what your instructor says (and definitely don’t jump until they tell you to)!
Where Can I Bungee Jump In Texas?
Texas today offers only one legal, safe and controlled bungee jumping experience, and that’s in the form of a ride at the Gravity Park on South Padre Island around 300 miles and 4.5 hours’ drive from San Antonio. As this “bungee jump” is located in an amusement park, it doesn’t offer the scenic views you’d get jumping from an old railroad bridge or into a gorge – but if you’re up for a bit of traveling, we can recommend where to go for those experiences too.
You might also have heard of the Zero Gravity Thrill Park in Dallas, but this was shut down and the land sold in 2021.
The next nearest bungee jumping destination to San Antonio is Vertigo Bungee in Kentucky, at Young’s High Bridge. A thrill like no other, you can jump off a 100-year-old railroad bridge, plummeting 250 feet almost to the river below. Bungee jumping is available there May through to October.
We also recommend Royal Gorge in Colorado for more Skycoaster fun – a ride that catapults you out 1200 feet above the Arkansas River. When swinging out over the canyon, you’ll reach speeds of up to 50 km per hour.
Tell Me About Bungee Jumping At Gravity Park In Texas
Gravity Park was established on South Padre Island, Texas, in 1993, and has grown consistently with the eager crowds that head there. Today, they offer a multi-level, vintage wooden go-kart track for adults, mini golf, an arcade, a 60-foot ferris wheel, a climbing wall, and a trampoline (all $8 – 15 per ride), and, of course, that bungee jumping experience you came here to read about!
The first of two adrenaline-pumping rides on offer at Gravity Park on South Padre Island is called The Rocket. At 150-feet tall, it is the tallest reverse bungee in the world, and a rewarding experience that is guaranteed to stay with you for life if you dare to do it!
The Rocket is a “reverse bungee” (also known as a slingshot or catapult bungee), and involves you being strapped securely, with one other person, into a cage which is held to the ground at the stretched length of two bungee cords. The hold on the cage is released- shooting you up into the air, to free-fall back toward the ground until the two cords recoil and bounce you back up again. The thrill you’ll get is similar to bungee jumping, yet is much gentler on your pockets than a real bungee jump would be – at time of writing, a ride on The Rocket at Gravity Park costs $25 per person.
The Skycoaster at Grand Adventure Park is a giant swing for two to three people. You’ll be fixed into a body support while standing on a platform. You’ll then be lowered forward until you are hanging horizontal to the ground, the cord at your back. The platform is wheeled away and you are pulled to the (100-foot!) height of the rear crane, then released. Unlike a bungee jump, there is no elasticity or recoil in this ride, but a huge thrilling forward and back swing, with great views of the island if you can open your eyes long enough to look at them!
Gravity Park is open 6pm to 10:30pm.
Address: 106 West Marlin Street, South Padre Island, Texas
Texas has only two offerings that approximate the thrill you can get from bungee jumping, and while these are totally worth it, you may prefer to head to Kentucky and bungee jump off the Young’s High railroad bridge instead!
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the most up-to-date information, we always recommend you do your own research before you travel to a particular area, and check conditions, times and prices with official sites. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your adventure!