Adventure In My Backyard – Go Ape!
My husband and I love to plan “active” day trips as the weather gets warmer, whether it be camping, hiking or biking. So, when I was contacted by a representative from Go Ape Tree Zip Line & Treetop Adventures to try their New Britain, Connecticut location I jumped at the chance.
I will admit as we drove to to A.W. Stanley Park on a recent Saturday morning, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, I live about 10 minutes away from the Go Ape location, and I could not envision how a treetop and zip line adventure course could be built in New Britain, Connecticut of all places. BUT – like I said I am always up for a good adventure (I mean I ran on a Ragnar Ultra team this past May), so as we parked I decided to go in with an open mind.
Live Life Adventurously
After parking and a short walk (on a path that was clearly marked) to the Go Ape Admissions office, my husband and I were greeted by Nate and quickly checked in. We waited for our group of about 14 before we were lead to the “Practice” area where Neal and Adrian – our guides – went through a very, very rigorous safety and training course. All of the safety equipment was color coded, which made it easy to remember once we started our adventure. We were there for probably a good 45 minutes, and I appreciated the time and attention that both Neal and Adrian gave everyone to make sure we would be safe once we got up among the trees.
I also loved that we practiced on what I like to call a “bunny slope” zip line – it made me feel more comfortable once we got to the “real” ones.
After a couple of practice sessions, we headed to the 1st of 5 sections that are contained within Go Ape’s New Britain location. Neal and Adrian basically “let us loose”, meaning that they would be watching from the ground as we make our way through each section, but we were basically on our own.
The Go Ape Course
In a nutshell – the Go Ape location in New Britain has 5 sections to complete. At the beginning of each section, you enter through a gate with a code (which is given to you during your safety briefing). Once inside you start climbing up high above the trees and complete a series of Tree Top Adventures. Each section was a bit more difficult as you climbed higher and higher in the treeline. I got a real upper body workout while at Go Ape completing the Half Trapeze, Wobbly Ladder, Tic Tac Toe, and the Flying Carpet among others. However, all of the stations within each section can definately be completed by anyone.
I will preface that by saying in the 2nd to the last section there were a couple of “Adventures” where you had the option of choosing a moderate or difficult path. Of course Mark and I chose the challenging ones to the point where I might have come away with some bruises or “Battle Wounds” as I like to call them.
As we made our way throughout each of the 5 sections I was amazed and impressed at the high level of care that had been taken to ensure everyone’s safety. At no time did I ever feel that if I lost my footing I would fall to the ground. None of the Treetop Adventures had any loose parts or sharp edges. That’s how much time and attention the creators of Go Ape have put into this, and every location.
The best part, at least for me was at the end of each section was a gigantic Zip Line – which you traveled down to make it to your next section. There is something exhilarating and just plain awesome about soaring above the ground. And what I also loved about this Go Ape Course was that the zip lines were not so taught that you had to use a break. Each zip line contained a gentle curve to help slowly you down. This did not help me, however, as I never go the hang of landing on anything but my butt. The wood chips helped to soften the blow.
Mark and I also experienced another way that Go Ape puts the safety of its patrons ahead of itself. We were in the middle of completing the last section when Nate told us that lightning had been reported within 20 miles of Go Ape. Because of that – they were shutting the course down until it passed. Mark and I were lucky because we were so far along that we completed the last section finishing with the longest zip line (almost 900 feet) on the course and in the state of Connecticut. Some of the others in our group were not so lucky BUT I overheard Nate rebooking those that could not complete the course.
We completed the last section and headed back to the Admissions office where we were presented with finishers certificates!
We had a great time and would recommend Go Ape to any of our friends looking for a bit of outdoor fun in their backyard.
Some Tips To Read Before You Go
- If you are going to bring your camera or car keys, make sure you wear something so it will not fall out.
- Leave hats, purses and sunglasses in the car
- You are going to be climbing and moving, make sure you wear comfortable clothes
- You will get a workout
- Plan to spend 2-3 hours on the course – which includes a very detailed safety briefing
- There are plenty of other things to do in Stanley Park besides Go Ape. I suggest bringing some snack for afterwards and watching others come through on the zip lines.
- While you are up among the trees – take a moment and enjoy it – it’s pretty cool to be high above the trees!