It required no coaxing. He was all for it.
I discovered Go Ape! a while back and had been wanting to see what a “Treetop Adventure” was all about. My birthday seemed like a good excuse to finally go do it.
There are several Go Ape! locations throughout the country. They’re all situated within public parks. We went to the one at Freedom Park in Williamsburg.
According to the website, their mission is “to encourage everyone to live life adventurously while treading lightly in the most beautiful places and spaces in the US.”
A portion of their proceeds goes back to the parks where they are located.
There were no signs or advertisements at the park entrance. We wondered for a minute if we were even in the right place, but the directions on the website led us right there.
The Go Ape! cabin blends in and looks perfectly natural within the park. You couldn’t even tell the course was there until you got right up to it.
I had made reservations online earlier in the week. The girl in the office who checked us in was very friendly. She had us read through the rules and sign waivers and told us we could hang out on the front porch and wait.
There was another couple and a mother/father/daughter trio in our 8:30am group. Our instructor (Carlton) came over and led us out onto the training course, which was a miniature cable on ground level and a stand that was supposed to replicate the set-up for the Tarzan swings.
He fit each of us with a harness and had us go through the training course where we practiced attaching our pulleys to the cable and clipping ourselves in. He went over some of the more important safety rules for the course, then sent us on our way.
An instructor does not go with you on the course. After the safely spiel and instruction session, you are let loose to navigate your way through the course on your own.
Our instructor did follow us from below for the first couple of obstacles to make sure that we were figuring it all out, though.
The course consists of five separate stations. At each one, you climb a ladder up to a platform, then make your way from platform to platform via different types of bridges, beams and rings. Each station ends with a zip line that brings you back down to the ground. You then find the next station and climb back up.
The Tarzan swing entails standing on a platform and launching yourself off. You free fall for a few feet, then swing over into a cargo net. You’re supposed to allow yourself to hit the cargo net once, swing back out and then grab it on your second swing. You have to climb the cargo net to get up to the next platform.
It is SCARY, but fun.
You have the option to skip some of the more intense obstacles.
The website warns you to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Heed this advice. The way you stop yourself at the bottom of the zip line is by dragging your feet. You do this until you end up seated on your rear in the dirt and mulch.
I was kind of excited about the whole thing.
The final zip line is the longest one of the day. It brings you all the way back to the cabin where you started.
There’s also a junior course for kids.