Roxroy McLean, Outlook Youth Writer
Representation of the Jamaica bobsled team, famous for their performance in a past Winter Olympics games.-Contributed
Despite heavy rains, the launching of Mystic Mountain Rainforest in Ocho Rios was a spectacular event, which attracted a huge turnout of people.
Widely considered by many as the hottest new tourism destination this side of Jamaica, the attraction, suitable for all age, grabbed the attention of patrons, who came to witness the unveiling of the environmentally friendly attraction.
After arriving at the location, on Balmoral Road, the patrons were greeted by administrators, after which they were ushered to the Rainforest Sky Explorer, one of the main features at the park.
The state-of-the-art chairlift, positioned prominently at the park's coast road entrance, provides a bird's-eye view above the treetops. The venture gives sensational views of the sparkling sea and the emerald richness of the tropical treetops, which ends at the centrepiece of the attraction, The Mystic Mountain.
The aim of the rainforest is to promote environmental awareness, conservation and sustainable development through an education-based programme, while developing young leaders as guardians of the environment.
Horace Clarke, chairman of Mystic Mountain Limited, declared the concept open and dedicated it to the love of Jamaica.
Shae Osbourne (left) and her best friend Robyn Edwards smile for our camera.
He recalled that the site, in its initial stages, was a dump, adding, "The only thing good about it was the attraction of the hills."
But, commending the efforts of all staff members who were influential in the development of the park, he said, "We have transformed what was ugliness into what is now called radiant natural beauty."
Scores of patrons, from adult to youth, took the opportunities offered to view the unique seaside, tropical forest ecosystem with three exhilarating excursions, which include Rainforest Sky Explorer, Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica and Rainforest Zip-line Tranopy Tour.
Other features of the Mystic Mountain experience include the Jamaica Railway Station and Mystic Pavilion, and Dining R2 at 700 ft.
The signature attraction of Mystic Mountain is the bobsled ride. The custom-designed bobsleds, evoking the glory of the Jamaican bobsled team, travels along stainless steel rails on a 1,000-metre gravity-driven ride through the forest.
The experience is one which brings thrills down the spines, as the bobsled swirls down and around the track with a speed level of over 80 miles per hour.
The park not only serves as a social avenue to its users, but as an educational and historical venture, providing a platform of Jamaican cultural, social and sports legacy.
The foundation was launched with a contribution of J$1million from the Rainforest Aerial Trams Foundation, the Development Bank of Jamaica, and Carnival Corp & Plc.
Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Mountain is situated on over 100 acres of land, containing a diverse ecosystem, including natural springs, tropical plants, trees and a variety of birds, and is built on environmentally sustainable principles.
Mystic Mountain Ltd is a partnership between Rainforest Aerial and founding partners, Mike Drakulich, an entrepreneur and attorney-at-law, and Horace Clarke, a local businessman.