I will freely admit that when the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course opened at Blue Jay Point County Park in Wake County last year, my first thought was, "no way."
"Five zip lines, totaling 2,590 feet." Thanks, but no thanks.
"Two Tarzan swings." I'll leave that to the guy they are named after.
"More than 40 obstacles situated 40 feet up in the forest canopy." I think I'm good.
Still, I had a little regret about my decision. The course, which is designed for ages 10 and up, opened last year. My 11-year-old really wanted to go. And, usually, I'm up for a challenge.
So, I had no more reasons to avoid the place when, in July, Go Ape opened its Treetop Junior Adventure Course. This course was built for kids as young as four. If a four-year-old can do this, I told myself, I can, too.
We went and had a blast. In fact, we had so much fun, we returned with some family from out of town soon after.
Unlike the original course, this one is lower to the ground at 20 feet in the trees. It also uses a safety system that allows participants to stay attached the entire time they are in the trees. This makes for a much easier experience for those new to a treetop adventure or ropes course. There are no Tarzan swings or spider webs, but you will find tree-to-tree crossings and obstacles, along with two zip lines.
The course features three loops. You can't skip from one obstacle to another. You must continue along the route and complete each obstacle on it before you finish at the zip line. You'll encounter everything from bridges to tunnels made from rope to beams that swing back and forth independently from each other.
You are, of course, in a harness and hooked up to a cable the entire time. But, there definitely are some trickier passages.
The first loop was easy for both my six-year-old and my 11-year-old to navigate. The second and third loop got more challenging for myself and my 11-year-old. My six-year-old finished the second loop and decided to just fly down the zip line for the remainder of our time there, skipping the third loop and its swinging beams.
A big shout out to the three wonderful guides, who helped us and others along the way and, especially, for cheering on my six-year-old as she made it across the final pass.
The Treetop Junior course is designed for ages 4 and up, but anybody who is 3 feet, 3 inches or taller can participate. Kids under six must be accompanied on the course by an adult, while children ages 6 to 15 must be supervised by an adult either from on the course or from the ground.
The price is $28 per person, which is steep for a family of four. But Go Ape does offer discounts, including a 20 percent break for groups of 10 or more who come on weekdays. So grab some friends!