Trisha Shepherd">

Go visit, go zip line, go climb, Go Ape Indianapolis

Fresh off the fun of creating our latest local resource guide – Guide To Zip Lines In Indiana – we realized something. We have NO articles on IndysChild.com about the experience of zip lining. No parents have been brave enough to take the {excuse us here but} plunge and write about it. So in looking around at our Insider Crew, our eyes immediately went to Trisha. Mom of 3 and daredevil extraordinaire, Trisha and her fam were the immediate choice. But could we convince her? YES WE’LL DO IT she replied almost immediately.

So they suited up, left their worries behind and hit the course at Go Ape Indianapolis! 

 


I’ll start with two questions:

  1. When was the last time you did something you’ve NEVER done before?
  2. If you’re the parent of a teen or tween, when’s the last time they spent a whole afternoon laughing with you?

My two oldest kids are often like oil and water. It’s hard to find common ground, and especially hard to find something that both of them like, that’s fun for me as well.

But I found one!

Go Ape Indianapolis _ Indy's ChildI took my soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter Clara and her 13-year-old brother Cal to the Go Ape attraction at Eagle Creek Park. We got insanely lucky – the weather was GORGEOUS.

The Go Ape Indianapolis “Treetop Adventure” is an experience that’s way more than just a zip line. It’s a two-to-three hour adventure (it took us about two) through a series of five high ropes courses that wind through the treetops, each course ending with a zip line back to the ground. The sky-high obstacles test your balance quite a bit and take a little bit of flexibility and strength to maneuver, but a harness and safety cables keep you attached at all times, just in case. Kids have to be at least 10 years old and 4′ 7″ to participate, and they need an adult to go along with them.

Before we even touched a cable, our instructor, Hannah, gave us an extraordinarily thorough (yet somehow not condescending) lesson on how to do this stuff safely. She had all of us test our knowledge on some ground-level cables. She didn’t let anyone get away with mistakes. As she advised us, in case we got a little nervous while we were up high, “It does not help to look down at the ground. Look right at the next tree that you’re trying to reach.”

After making it through the first course safely and proving ourselves ready for risky adventure, we left Hannah behind and went out on the course on our own.

I absolutely LOVED the kind of responsibility and confidence this kind of course required of my kids. At first, I kept caving in to temptation to coach them along (“Make sure the red line is hooked on first!”) but Clara scolded me. “Mom. I’ve GOT this!” Yes, she sure did.


PLAN A TRIP TO ZIP LINE: Here’s our Guide To Zip Lines In Indiana!


We got comfortable pretty fast climbing across the rope obstacles. Then we came to our first huge zip line.

Our jaws dropped. I got a little nervous for the first time. {I believe I let out a Holy… catching myself before completing the phrase.}

But as soon as our feet left the tree platform, there was no more fear.

It was an exhilarating rush, zipping past the high trees with the wind in my face. A few words of caution: Backwards and sideways landings are common, and it’s hard to slow down as you hit the mulch run at the end of the course – be prepared for lots of mulch in your clothing, and a bit of a jolt and a mulch drag-through as you come down! I was REALLY glad after my first landing that I had decided to secure my phone in a bag attached to my belt, and not leave it in my back pocket!

There are a few points where you can choose an Easy, Difficult, or Extreme option along the course.

This is what the Extreme option looks like {I can’t stop laughing):

Cal had a tough time with that one too:

We all made it through the course in one piece, and with lots of memorable photos and memories.

The Go Ape Treetop Adventure costs $38 for kids ages 10-15 and $58 for 16 and over. {Keep in mind, there is also a $5 park entrance fee.} It’s best to make a reservation online in advance. One participating adult is required to supervise up to two 10-15 year olds; 16-17 year olds don’t need an adult to supervise, just a signed waiver. Go Ape also offers what they call a Treetop Junior experience for Tarzans that are 3-12 years old. One adult must be there to participate and supervise for every two children under 6, or up to eight kids ages 6-15.

Go Ape Indianapolis _ Indy's Child

During a time when the pressures of school, work and life in general have felt sometimes really stressful, I loved having a few hours in the woods where time stood still.

Today, I did something new. And I laughed – hard – with my “big kids.”

Those are gorilla-sized achievements in my book.

MORE INFO: Go Ape is located inside Eagle Creek Park, located on the west side of Indianapolis at 5855 Delong Road. For pricing information and to make a reservation, call {800} 971-8271 or visit their websitePhoto credits: Main photo used with thanks to Go Ape.

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