2007 Cool List

We celebrate the best new thrills, from over-the-top water attractions and interactive art to North America's first bridge climb and New York City's best view.

This Puts the "High" in Ohio
You no longer have to go to the southern hemisphere to do a bridge climb like the famous one in Sydney. North America's first bridge climb--up the Purple People Bridge, which spans the Ohio River and connects Cincinnati and Newport, Ky.--opened last June. First, you put on a yellow-and-purple jumpsuit, and then you get fastened to a cable system (you stay hooked to the bridge at all times). The journey to the bridge's apex, about 150 feet above the water, isn't for acrophobes: You walk along narrow walkways and up steep staircases, more than 250 steps in all. But the views are magnificent. Climbers cross a 35-foot-long section of walkway made of glass (those who dare to look down will see the river churning below) before descending on the other side. 859/261-6837, purplepeoplebridgeclimb.com, $30.

Ever Looked a Killer Bird Right in the Eye?
At 6'5" and 130 pounds, the southern cassowary is the world's most dangerous bird, known to land fatal blows with its large claws. Close encounters with the cassowary and 6,000 other creatures are a daily occurrence at Sydney Wildlife World, a 75,000-square-foot indoor park that opened in September on Darling Harbour, in the heart of the city. Nine habitats house 130 species unique to Australia, from the cute and cuddly (koalas, wallabies) to the creepy and crawly (rhinoceros cockroaches, bearded dragons, golden orb spiders). There are opportunities to interact with animals throughout the park. Birds swoop overhead during daily feedings in the two-story aviary. Keepers wander about with lizards and sugar gliders (small gray possums), fielding questions and posing for pictures. And for $16, you can get your photograph taken alongside a koala hugging a eucalyptus tree, or with a python dramatically draped across your shoulders and arms. 011-61/2-9333-9288, sydneywildlifeworld.com.au, $21 (90-minute VIP tours are also available for $110).

2007 COOL LIST

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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