“Audrey, just slide off the edge,” my friend Kirsten anxiously said to me, moments before I ziplined into a net like Tarzan. As I slid off the platform about twenty feet above the ground, I felt my stomach drop I swung and felt like I was plummeting to the ground. But my harness kept me from hitting the grass below and I collided into a net just a few seconds later.
The Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course is an outdoorsy, monkey-like obstacle course that takes people on an exploration through Swope Park. While passing through ropes, logs, zip lines and Tarzan swings, the adventure course gives you a solid workout for the day. There are locations in 15 states, and the one in Kansas City, Missouri opened only two weeks ago. Even though the sixty bucks may seem expensive at the time, the whole experience was worth the cost.
Driving to the adventure course took us longer than we expected. My friend and I climbed up a hill and in the distance we saw a trailer that said ‘Go Ape’ on the side and turned in our safety release waivers. We then met our bubbly instructor, Holly, who put on our adventure course gear for us and took us through the training at the first site. I was moving my feet and bouncing up and down, anxious and nervous to go on the ziplines for the first time. As Holly described all the ‘very important rules’, I started to feel sick to my stomach with fear. Our 10 a.m. group consisted of a family of four, me and my friend. Our group walked over to our first site, the training site, and learned how to attach our trolley and other gadgets to different wires and ropes, which took forever to get through. Since we were only four feet above the ground, I was beginning to grow bored and became less nervous. Finally we got done with our mandatory training and after twenty minutes of torture, my friend and I went on to Site Two.
At Site Two, my friend and I arrived at a gated space that contained the real course and my friend entered a password to get in. To attach ourselves to the trolley, we had to go through a complicated process of pulling levers and clipping hooks that I messed up practically each time I had to do it. Luckily, once we got into the first obstacle, the trolley never detached from the course. While this could get a little annoying having to guide the trolley through the course instead of traveling through it, the trolley ensured our safety.
All the sites had different types of obstacles: crawling through nets, stepping on logs and swinging on ropes. I felt my inner-monkey come out when I crashed into a bouncy rope net at the Tarzan Swing. The two times I went on this obstacle, I hollered like Tarzan. Net Jumping, as my friend and I called it, was the most painful obstacle course. Jumping from one rope net to the other, the ropes burned my hands and were too far apart for me to jump. When you jump to the opposite side, you slip or get your feet caught in the holes. My friend went first and she warned me about the excruciating pain. “Turn around and go to the easier one” she said. But I did it anyway, because I was up for the challenge. I immediately regretted my decision, but in the end the pain was worth it. Eventually, I gave up and just let myself fall, still attached to the metal wire with the trolley, and pulled my way through the rest of the obstacle.
The obstacles take about 5-7 minutes for faster people. My friend went through them quickly, but it took me ten minutes at least. I could not hold my balance on the swinging logs and I felt like I had the arm strength of a toddler. There was a zipline at the end of each site, which was the one thing that I was most excited for, even though it lasted less than a minute.
I expected the course to be higher off the ground and to have longer ziplines. I like the feeling of being nervous to jump off a platform or when I’m on a log and can’t hold my balance. It makes the experience harder and more fun, but this course didn’t make me nervous at all once I began. The course took a lot of physical strength, which I do not have, but I still enjoyed the obstacles. If the course had more sites and if the courses were higher off the ground, people could have a more exciting experience. The Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course is a great two hour outdoor, monkey-like tour, but needed to add more to it for an even better experience.