Treetop Junior Chicago, located at Bemis Woods in Western Springs is opening tomorrow, July 1, 2017! We were so excited to hear that there is a Go Ape option for kids because my husband and I had an afternoon date there that we will never forget last year (click here to read our review of the Go Ape Treetop Adventure) and thought our kids would love the experience too.
Treetop Junior is for children 6-12 years old and children under 6 need to be over 39 inches tall. The Go Ape website recommends one adult per one child under 6 years old, especially on the first visit, and I would agree with that. (Also check the website for adult to child ratio requirements based on age.) There are three loops that constitute the Treetop Junior course (after completing the practice loop), which end with the same zip line. The first loop is the easiest, with each loop building upon the last. Upon finishing a loop, you zip down the line and walk the path to the next loop.
My 9 year old was completely fine on his own and while I kept my eye on him, he could do the course completely by himself with no qualms. I stayed with my 7 year old throughout our time there because while she handled the course great, she needed a little help moving the trolley sometimes and it was nice to hang out together. Both of them felt amazing while doing the course and afterwards as well! It was a wonderful experience to share with them and it was so cool to see their satisfaction after conquering the obstacles.
I was curious about how they would handle having young children on the course and was really happy with the safety and interaction with the kids. We were each fitted with a harness and checked in the beginning, checked a second time before the practice loop, and continued to be checked before entering each loop.
Also, there were even younger children doing the course while we were there and they did great! There are staff members at the beginning of each loop, on the ground with words of encouragement and tips, and up at the top of the zip line giving instruction and helping us take the leap when we were ready.
Difference Between Treetop Junior and Treetop Adventure
Treetop Junior is different from the adult Treetop Adventure in a couple ways. First, the cables that the trolleys glide along are lower to accommodate the height of children. They were okay for adults as well, with a few exceptions where I had to bend down a little so the cable didn’t hit my shoulder. The obstacles were pretty much all at the same elevation and all led to the same zip line. So you are not going to higher and higher elevations like the adult course, which was perfect for kids.
The timing is different as well. With Treetop Junior, the fee allows you to do as many loops in an hour as you would like. Doing the practice section plus the three loops took us about 45 minutes, then we were able to repeat another two loops within our time slot. If you need to leave the area to take your kids to the bathroom, no problem. They will subtract your time away, so you don’t lose the full hour of your adventure.
You will read on the Go Ape website that you need to wear closed toe shoes and fitted clothes for safety. I would also add that you don’t want to wear shorts that are really short because it’s more comfortable to have your shorts between your skin and the harness.
Some people brought water bottles, but it really wasn’t necessary because there are plenty of water jugs and paper cups if you need to take a water break.
Go to the bathroom before starting your adventure. Although they don’t count bathroom breaks in your total time, you’re going to have so much fun that you won’t want to stop.
The mosquitoes were non-existent when we went, but keep in mind that you are in the woods, so you might want to bring bug spray just in case and leave it by the water jugs. The Treetop Junior area is not so big that you will lose your bug spray.
Get to Go Ape at Bemis Woods about 10 minutes before your start time to fill out the waiver and get acquainted with the course.
Treetop Junior for Adults
If you are unsure about doing the full Treetop Adventure, Treetop Junior is a great place to start. The obstacles are very similar to the adult course, but you don’t go up as high and the loops are shorter. It’s a perfect course if you don’t have as much time or are apprehensive about trying it.
Booking Your Treetop Junior Adventure
Children and adults of all ages are $28. You can book your start time online and don’t forget to use the Kidlist discount code to receive 15% off!
Click here to book your adventure on the Go Ape website. Enter the code KIDLIST17 to receive 15% off your entire group. This offer expires on December 31, 2017 and is valid only at Go Ape Bemis Woods.
This post is brought to you by Go Ape, but all options and photographs are my own.