Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a monkey, jumping from tree to tree, swinging through the forest? If you visit the Adventure Park at Storrs you can get in touch with your inner monkey. Right off 195 in Storrs, CT The Adventure Park has 5 acres of tree connected fun. Visitors move from platform to platform from 10+ feet up in the air by a series of cables, wood, rope, and zip lines.
Before heading out to your first course the staff fits you with a harness and gloves. If you think you will be back again or aren’t too keen on sharing then you can buy your own pair of gloves to use. Once suited up a staff member brings you through instructions on how to use their “always locked on” climbing system. This pair of carabineers will always have one locked in pretty much assuring you that you will never get detached from a safety line.
Once safety instructions and practice are done we headed to the main platform. There are 5 routes that you can take all beginning at the main platform. The routes are set up with a color system like ski slopes. They start with a yellow as the easiest, then 2 greens, a blue, and finally the advanced black diamond. Before moving on to a harder course you first need to pass one of the easier ones to show that you are ready.
Even though the yellow route is considered beginner it can be a bit intimidating and tricky if you aren’t sure of yourself. If you have never been harnessed up before or done a ropes course, the swinging steps and elevated height can get to some people. We were on the yellow course with a family that had 2 younger kids. Although not fast, the kids didn’t seem to have any problems and were enjoying their adventure.
Moving up, the blue was much higher off the ground than the yellow and green. The elements became trickier with more upper body strength being needed to not fall off the line you were walking on. Being higher off the ground did make for some longer and better zip lining. At the end of the blue is an auto-belay to get you back down to the ground. With the auto-belay you clip yourself in, step off the platform, and are slowly lowered to the ground. This gets many people who have never used one before. They end up sitting on the last platform for a while before they finally decide that the auto-belay is in fact safe.
Last up we took on the black diamond route. This route is by far more challenge than the others. On one of the elements you had to unclip and reclip on past a wood block while in the middle of the element standing only on the wire. The hardest of the elements was the wooden discs. There was a line of discs hanging by thick rope. The only way you could stay on the disc is if both feet were on at the same time. This meant that you had to hold yourself up with your arms as you swung your legs from disc to disc. By the time I reached the platform at the end my arms were shot. Luckily, there was no rush for me to get on the zip line so I just hung out on the platform for a few minutes.
I do have to admit that I fell off while trying to do the gymnastic rings. This was the only time I fell and I did get a little jolt as my safety line caught me. I was able to reach up and pull myself the rest of the way to the next platform. The rest of the way seemed easy after that and I fully enjoyed laying back at the end and letting the auto-belay take me back down to the ground.
For more information about The Adventure Park at Storrs visit their website here.