The Bronx Zoo is already a world-class destination for natives and tourists alike, but its pull just amped up big time. The northern nature spot just debuted a trio of year-round, outdoor adventure attractions with an option for everyone in the family, from tiny tots to active daredevils. Expect ziplines, elevated bridges and tunnels, a special course for junior explorers and more. Read on to learn about your next uplifting outing!

photo: Megan Maher/WCS

Take to the Trees!
The zoo’s new Treetop Adventure attraction, which features seven rope courses of varying skill and a zipline running across the Bronx River, is the clear choice for the active, thrill-seeking family with bigger kids. (Participants must be age seven or older, between 50 and 275 pounds, and able to reach 5’6″ from flat feet.) Visitors can choose to do just the ropes course, just the zipline, or opt for a combo ticket to do it all.

You don’t have to be an expert climber to do the aerial ropes course; there are seven to choose from — two beginner, two intermediate, two advanced, and one expert. Each course incorporates eight to 12 elements and skill challenges that participants navigate as they move from elevated platform to platform under the forest canopy. Expect to encounter rope bridges, wobbly bridges, tight rope walks, rolling and swinging elements and ladders. Each course also includes a unique zipline element, such as zooming from point A to point B in a boat, on a saddle, etc.

A ticket for the ropes course, or “Climb” element of the Treetop Adventure, provides two hours of climb time.

Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

Zip It, Good!
While each course of the Treetop Adventure does include a zipline element, those are quick little jaunts. For a high-flying, extended zip, head to the standalone dual zipline nearby.

Spanning more than 400 feet in each direction, the ziplines travel 50 feet above the Bronx River, with the platform for the zip back even higher than the initial launch pad. (You zip across, then zip back.) The zipline is outfitted with dual, side-by-side lines for double the zipping fun.

Is it….safe?
The short answer: yes! The long one: The Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure states it uses state of the art harness equipment and safety systems.

You’ll also probably be relieved to hear that you don’t just get suited up and take off. Very helpful and friendly staff assist participants as they get into gear, and a couple of safety videos are shown to introduce the experience.

Even better, before participants take to the trees, they navigate a low to the ground course to get the hang of things, learn techniques, and get a feel for the kinds of obstacles ahead.

Note: You must wear proper footwear to do all elements of the Treetop Adventure. Do everyone a favor and wear lace-up sneakers; anything else is suspect and will probably prevent you from climbing or zipping. Flip-flops, slip-ons, sandals, heels, etc. are definite no-gos.

For Junior Adventure Seekers
It’s not just big kids who get to have all the fun. Little kids get their own topsy-turvy terrain to scale, in the form of Nature Trek, a brand new attraction billed as a Family Adventure Course that also features an engaging Nature Play Area.

Located near the Asia Plaza in the southeast corner of the zoo, Nature Trek is a fully-netted bridge and tower course recommended for kids ages three and up. A series of 12 different bridges spanning up to 30 feet and reaching heights of up to 14 feet, the attraction includes challenges such as balancing on a narrow beam, navigating an elevated tunnel, weaving between vertical barriers and climbing on gently wiggling areas. Different towers prompt participants to observe the nature around them (plants, birds, etc.) and one is in the form of a giant birds nest.

The course also incorporates an ADA accessible route through five towers connected by bridges and the nature play zone.

Stay and Play
After you and the kids have conquered Nature Trek, the nature play zone offers engaging and fun sensory and imaginative play. Kids can play with and observe natural elements such as water, sand and loose branches. Different signs prompt visitors make like various woodland creatures, burrowing like a rabbit in arched greenery or building a dam like a beaver with giant sticks. At the very far end, a large chalkboard wall invites visitors to get creative.

In addition to free exploration of the area, the zoo will also feature family programming in the nature play zone.

Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure and Nature Trek
Nature Trek included with Zoo Total Experience Ticket: $36.95/adult; $26.96/kids 3 -12; $31.95/senior; free/kids 2 and under
Treetop Adventure tickets sold separately: $24.95 – $59.95
2300 Southern Blvd.

Will you be zipping to the zoo this summer? Tell us in the comments! 

—Mimi O’Connor