Go Ape Treetop Adventure Opens a Junior Course in Raleigh
Now younger kids can soar through the trees
Courtesy of Carol Tunney/Go Ape
Zipping through the trees, soaring 20 feet up in the air and crossing rope bridges sounds like something from the latest “Tarzan” movie, but it’s not. You’ll find it all in Raleigh at the new Go Ape Treetop Junior Course, which opened in mid-July at Blue Jay Point County Park located off of Pleasant Union Church Road.
Go Ape’s junior course is the newest addition to its adventure course offerings that opened there in March 2015, making it only the third junior course to open in the country. I took my two boys, Holden, age 6, and Hayes, age 4, to experience the course, and they are still talking about it weeks later.
The Go Ape Junior Course is designed for children ages 6-12 but is open to kids and adults of all ages who are 3-feet-3-inches or taller. Before heading to the trees, a guide will fit you in a harness that goes around your waist and through your legs to ensure your safety while you swing through the trees. A trolley is connected to the harness, and a qualified guide will connect your trolley to the safety lines to ensure you are attached throughout your entire adventure. This was especially important to me because the kids didn’t have to move the safety lines, and weren’t detached from them until they completed the course.
Pictured above: Hayes, age 6, and Holden, age 4, get harnessed up to enjoy the new Go Ape Junior Course in Raleigh.
Photos above and below courtesy of Michele Jonczak
Once all of your equipment is in place, the fun really begins. Start your adventure in the trees on one of two courses. Loop 1 is designated as easy and Loop 2 is moderate, offering a little more challenge. We put our strength and balance to the test as we experienced 20 tree-to-tree crossings and obstacles, such as rope bridges, swinging bridges and rope ladders. Then to top it off, we got to take a ride down two separate zip lines. This was, by far, Hayes’ favorite part!
Holden found Loop 2 to be pretty challenging, and was hesitant on some of the crossings, especially those that swung with every step. But at the end he said, “My favorite thing was the harder course. Even though I was scared, I knew I could do it.”
Chip Schlegel, site manager for Go Ape at Blue Jay Point County Park, says by opening the junior course in Raleigh, they are providing a unique outdoor recreational opportunity for a wider range of age groups. “It’s a junior version of the big course,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to get off of the ground, up in the trees and on the zip line.”
Jennifer Smetana of Raleigh took her 11-year-old daughter, Abby, to experience the treetop adventure. “It’s more than just zip lining – it gives them the opportunity to try the adventure course,” Smetana says. “Plus, I like the idea that in the heat of the summer, it’s canopied.”
The Junior Course is open March through December from sun up to sun down. For safety purposes, one adult must accompany up to two children under age 6, and children ages 6-15 must be supervised by an adult from either the course or from the ground. To book your visit, go to www.goape.com. Tickets are $28 per person (for kids and adults).
Pictured above: Hayes (top) and Holden (bottom) crossed challenging courses high above and lower to the ground.
Michele Jonczak is a freelance writer from Raleigh, and mom to Holden (6), Hayes (4), and Emery (2).