If your kids love a little adventure, wait until they see this. Go Ape is a zip line adventure in Rock Creek Park that just opened for spring visits. At Go Ape kids roam the trees through a course with six sections, including forty-four obstacles, a Tarzan swing, a spider web, and a skateboard zipline. They can climb up ladders and cross bridges all the way to the highest point of the course, which is fifty feet in the air! Don’t worry, if heights aren’t your thing, you’re more than welcome to keep your feet on solid ground.
Go Ape understands that kids love to do things on their own, which is why once visitors finish the required safety training they can go wherever they want to in their harness. The safety training takes about 30 minutes and will teach kids and adults about the color coded clips, followed by a test run with an instructor who makes sure that the learner is ready to go out on their own. If any kid needs assistance, they will be teamed up with an instructor for some one-on-one instruction and confidence building.
Dress the Part
To be best prepared for your visit, be sure to leave your labels at home and instead wear clothes you can get dirty. Leave big stuff in the car or at home, since Go Ape does not have a way to store anything larger than your keys or phone and you don’t want to risk losing that newest Kate Spade. Make sure long hair is tied back, and don’t wear open-toed shoes like flip-flops or sandals. If you want to bring a camera with you to capture all the exciting moments, be sure it’s strapped to you (even if you are on the ground). Check the weather beforehand, though a little mud and rain could make the whole thing more fun for fearless kids, and the area is shaded enough to make a hot summer day a nonissue. Water is provided, so there’s one less thing you have to remember to pack.
Go Big, Even if You’re Smallish
If you’re wondering about whether your kiddo is ready for the course, know that he or she needs to be able to climb a rope ladder at the beginning of the trip. The height requirement is four feet seven inches, and the maximum weight is 285 pounds. An adult (18 or over) can supervise up to two kids between the ages of 10 and 15, but remember that to supervise, you need to be up in the trees with them, not on the ground.
Hate Heights? No Problem.
For family members who are skittish about heights (or for tots), Go Ape has dirt trails so that they can follow below and help snap some good shots with their feet safely planted on the ground. Turn the trip into a full day excursion at Lake Needwood, where you can nosh on a picnic lunch, hike, rent boats, or go fishing.
Cost: $37/kids ages 10-17
6129 Needwood Lake Dr. (Rockville, Md)
Have your kids “gone ape” yet in Rock Creek Park? Tell us about the experience in the Comments section below.
—Kelly Ann Jacobson
Photo: Go Ape