by Robin B
Flashback to early summer and a family zip lining experience at a nearby camp. My children were finally old enough and brave enough to zip line. They had jitters and I provided words of encouragement “it’s not that high, don’t hesitate, it is easy” You get the drift… After they successfully zip-lined it was my turn and I climbed the stairs to a meager 25-foot platform. I stood and waited – all harnessed – my family watching with bated breath. Then I did the walk of shame back down the stairs, and haven’t heard the last of it since.
I read about the opening of Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park, a premier aerial park located just off I-96 near Beltline Avenue, earlier this year and our family was able to see what it is all about.
The park is so much more than a zip line experience. They have man-made treetop trails – comprised of zip lines, swinging logs, rope bridges, large nets and many other nifty contraptions – a skate board, how cool! Each course is accessed from a main platform. The entrance up to the platform is a spider-like rope.
Children ages 7-10 can climb in the main park/course so long as they have a parent/guardian climbing with them. Children 10 years and over (and who can reach the minimum height) are allowed to climb independently.
Each course takes on average 30-45 minutes to complete, depending on how busy the park is. We didn’t feel rushed at all. Other climbers are allowed/can safely pass you while on the course. Also, it is well-staffed with experienced guides to help you navigate should you get ‘stuck’.
Admission in the park is timed for 3 hour increments. Upon arrival/check-in, you’ll spend the first half-hour in a large group setting getting instructions on proper use of the gear and trying it out. Once we had the basics down, we broke off into a smaller group and our guide, Andy, led us to the practice area where we could actually use the gear and become comfortable with the clip system. It is a bit tricky to use the clips, especially younger-aged children, who may not have the strength or coordination. Once this practice area was conquered, we were off!
Like most first-timers with children, we opted for one of the two “Easy” level courses. This is the part where I’m supposed to say I breezed through the course like Tarzan in the jungle without a moment of fear. That wasn’t exactly the case.
After some initial hesitation, my husband and younger daughter were off. Partnered with my older daughter, we did a portion of the easy course and then headed back to the practice area, our comfort zone.
So whether you spend the entire time up in the trees, or, like me, hugging the ground, we came away from our visit with a great family-bonding experience!
One of the main attractions of course is the zip line, just over 365 feet long. Once up the tall ladder, you do a short zip to a small platform (it wobbles, so be prepared for this feeling). From the platform you’ll zip to the landing spot. It may be a good idea to have a parent stationed at the landing area. Our younger daughter wasn’t tall enough to land her feet on the platform and bounced back on the zip line some. Staff will come up to assist if need be.
While I was waiting for my daughter at the landing area, I had a chance to chat with our guide Andy who has been with the park since they opened. He told me they have plans to add several new courses for the 2017 season.
The Treetop Adventure Park has a Junior Park area for climbers ages 4-7. This is a ground-level, parent-guided course. We saw quite a few kids having a great time in this area.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Arrive a few minutes early as there is paperwork to complete. Save yourself some time and complete the waiver online ahead of time – it is all electronic and a breeze to do!
- The park operates rain or shine and does not offer refunds due to poor weather. If the park has to close due to severe thunderstorms/weather that could pose a risk to climbers– vouchers will be issued.
- Make sure to wear comfortable clothing, closed-toed shoes and tie back long hair.
- The wooded area is a mosquito haven, so make sure to have some repellant on hand.
- Advance reservations are encouraged to make sure there is availability. Walk-ins are welcome on a first come, first serve basis.
- Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance of your scheduled time in order to be eligible for a refund.
TICKETS AND OTHER INFO
Adults & Kids Over 14 years of age: $39
Kids 13 and under: $35
Times: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
For arrival after 5:30 PM, tickets are reduced to $29 per person
Kids 4-6 years old: $20
Times: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
The park is open 7 days a week including holidays from 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM, until Labor Day.
After Labor Day the Park will offer General Admission/Open Climb on Fridays from 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM, and 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM on the weekends. Groups of 12 or more are welcome on the weekdays with advance reservations.
The park will remain open tentatively until November, weather permitting.
Saturday, September 17th from 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM, the park is hosting a fundraising event – Climb with Superheroes! Check out their Facebook page for additional information.
Tickets can be purchased online, by email at email@example.com or by calling 616-226-3993. When you do book your ticket ahead of time, you’ll receive a discount off of each of the tickets purchased ($1 off every ticket purchased – it adds up).
Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park:
2121 Celebration Drive NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
(Located right next to the Celebration! Cinema)
Swing on by Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park and check out this awesome experience today!