Life is all rock ‘n’ roll and adventure – or it is at least for Mannheim native Wolfgang Biersch. Apart from being on the stage playing guitar with his band, he runs three big adventure parks such as the Fun Forest in Kandel in the Southern Palatinate.
“Looking for adventure, and whatever comes our way” Steppenwolf’s John Kay sang in the classic song “Born to be wild” – and Wolfgang Biersch seems to have taken it to heart. Today, the 64-year-old is a successful businessman employing 130 staff members – but he is a rocker, too. “Music has always been my life,” says the Mannheim native, who opened his guitar shop “Musicant” in Mannheim-Neckarstadt more than 30 years ago. “It was the top address for guitars and bass guitars in the region,” he still recalls fondly. “Musicians such as the Grönemeyer Band came in a never-ending stream.” Wolfgang Biersch gained experience in running a business for the first time back then. But first and foremost, he was a breath-taking guitarist, performing with bands like Circus Haselbeck, Edo Zanki, Elkie & the Steelers or legendary guitar hero, Ricky King.
Breath-taking is also the right word for the view straight down from a more than ten-metre high treetop – and frightening. On platform 15 at “Fun Forest AbenteuerPark” adventure park, life is a real adventure. The only thing you can do is take a deep breath, overcome your fear, take a two-step run-up and then jump – and you’ll be flying – and falling – into the wide-meshed net. Hold on, take a deep breath – made it! “The BASE jump is one of the most exciting attractions at our ‘Parcours Braun’ (brown course) – one of a total of 17 difficulty levels that we offer here,” Desiree Schneider says with a smile.
“One of the highlights is the 100 metre-long zip wire”
For a good eight years, the 32-year-old Schneider has managed Fun Forest, which stretches out over seven hectares in the Southern Palatinate town of Kandel. She guides around 50,000 visitors per year through one of Europe’s biggest climbing centres not far from the border to the Alsace. Many of the visitors are families with children, school classes, particularly from the entire Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, but also many companies, who want to engage in team-building exercises here in the Bienwald forest. Children as young as three may practise climbing on the children’s courses. There are courses for beginners and courses for pros, which demand everything you have. “One of the highlights is the 100 metre-long zip wire,” Schneider points to the endless cable deep in the forest, which goes steeply downhill. Your adrenalin is on the rise, just fix the safety rope, grab the handle and off you go. The ride seems infinite. Your arms become heavy, trees zoom past you. Only a few metres to go – made it again. “This is one of my favourite features of the climbing centre,” Schneider laughs and you can tell that she really loves and lives her job. The park transformed nearly 200 trees into the Fun Forest; the adventure course takes a full four hours and makes you completely forget about daily life.