We discovered an aerial forest ropes course this past weekend and my girls, ages 8 and 9, couldn’t get enough of it. Two hours in, mom and dad were hungry and managed to talk them out of the trees.
There are 11 courses so climbers — starting at age 5 all the way through experts swinging through the trees on double black diamond courses way abovehead — can find their groove. There are 180 platforms and 5 acres so be prepared to stay a couple of hours.
This Adventure Park is a couple of minutes from the Merritt Parkway on the Bridgeport-Fairfield line in Connecticut. You park in the lot for the Discovery Museum, which has a nice planetarium but is not terribly compelling otherwise. Note though that if you’re a CT resident, see if your library has passes to the museum. Mine did — free is great!
To get started at the Adventure Park, you sign a waiver, pay, and get suited with a harness and gloves.
A staff member shows you how to use the equipment and you’re on your own. If you’re not climbing, hold snacks and water for whoever you’re with for when they are between courses. We spotted a robin and her baby in a nest — the kids enjoyed being up in the trees with birds flying around them.
We hadn’t had any experience with ropes courses so it took awhile to get used to clipping and unclipping the carabineers. The kids each got stuck once, on different zip lines. The first time my daughter was close enough to the ground that we were able to grab her legs and get her to the platform. The second time, a staff member spotted that my daughter was stuck before I did, told her someone was coming to help, and within a minute an orange-shirted Tarzan had rescue-ziplined her to the platform.
At one point a teenager was having trouble getting through an obstacle and was scared and frustrated. The staff was incredibly confident, calming, and capable in talking the young man through what he needed to do to get down.
As much fun and confidence boosting as it was for the kids, don’t be put off if you know your way around climbing. There were plenty of adults playing high up in the trees, far above the kids.
- Wear athletic clothing and have nothing in your pockets that can fall out
- Spray yourself with bug repellent — you will be in the woods
- Use the bathroom before you don the harness
- Yell “Staff!” not “Help!” if you need help
- More experienced climbers might want to come at night when the park is lit with LED lights
- You can reserve and fill out the waiver online to save time onsite