Parakeet Pete’s: Clawing to the Top

Darrell Henley and Emma Hamilton, co-owners of Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline talk strategy.

By Claire Porter | Photo by Brandon Alms

Nov 2015

Parakeet Pete’s: Clawing to the Top

The Big Idea

When Darrell Henley and Emma Hamilton, co-owners of Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline, began to explore properties for their new zip line, they knew they needed to find a breathtaking spot. The two wanted to open a zip line that zoomed from Branson Landing, across Lake Taneycomo and up to the top of Mt. Branson. For years the bluff top was home to the Candlestick Inn, revered for its soaring views. After a tornado damaged the restaurant, the surrounding properties on the bluff began to open up. With a lot of digging, Henley and Hamilton found the owner of a piece of land along the edge of the bluff who was willing to sell.

The Learning Curve

Although buying the property went smoothly, that’s not to say the rest of the process was easy. Because the zip line flies over county and city jurisdictions and crosses the lake, Henley and Hamilton had to work with multiple agencies both federal and local to get the zip line up and running. “With something out of the ordinary, there are sometimes many more regulatory processes and hurdles,” Hamilton says.

The Strategy

To navigate the maze of licenses, permits, insurance and easements, Henley recommends finding advocates within the various agencies to help push the process forward. Henley and Hamilton turned to locals who could act as consultants to connect them to the right people and turned to professionals who could manage their accounting, insurance and legal needs. “Getting the right professional people in your corner is imperative,” Henley says, especially when your business depends on securing the right location. “We were committed to the project, or else it would have been easy to walk away,” Henley says. They followed through, and after a two-year process, Hamilton and Henley are finally bringing the beloved bluff view back to the public in a thrilling new way.