My family recently took a quick trip to the coast of South Carolina for a few days. We did the usual beach, food, and tourist activities, but we also spent an afternoon at the Go Ape Treetop Adventure, and it instantly became one of the most amazing family experiences we have ever had!
I had never heard of Go Ape before a few weeks ago, but the lovely folks there invited us to check it out when they heard that we would be visiting the area. Being the outdoor lover that I am, I immediately accepted, and a plan was made. I am so glad I did, because it was amazing! So, what exactly is Go Ape? In short, it is a treetop rope and zip line course that you work through over a few hours, way up high in the forest canopy. But really, it is so much more than that. It is family bonding in the best way possible. It is pushing your limits. It is realizing that you can do things you thought impossible. It is learning to trust yourself. And most of all, it is stepping outside your “normal” for an experience like no other. We visited the one in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but they have locations throughout the U.S. as well.
They offer both adult and youth courses (in select areas), with the adult courses being for ages 16+, and the youth courses are for all ages. Since we were with the kids, we were only able to do the youth course, but I got to watch people participating in the other courses and they are basically a more advanced, larger-scaled version of the ones we did.The first thing you do when you get there is sign a waiver and get fitted for your harness. Safety is their #1 concern, and everyone who participates receives one-on-one instruction on safety procedures, proper movements, and a harness check.
The instructors there are all safety certified and highly skilled in each of the courses, and they will help you throughout the course as needed. Once you are ready to begin, you will attach your harness to the safety cables that run throughout the entire course – you are connected to these the entire time you are on the course, and if you happen to lose your footing, let go, or fall for any reason, they keep you floating where you are so you can get back on the ropes and keep going.
Each course consists of a number of different loops (a series of different rope activities to go through) with a zip line at the end of each loop. You can go at your own pace, completing each loop in as much time as you need, and do them all over again until you are ready to leave. The adult courses take an average of 2-3 hours to complete, and the youth courses take around an hour, but there is no limit to how long you can stay, which I was really happy about.
For the courses themselves, they have a nice variety to go through, and even though Judah was afraid of some of them, he eventually completed each one and ended up really proud of himself. Below are just a few of the different loops and courses, as you can see they are all quite different!
At the end of the day, we were tired, happy, and fulfilled in a way that we really needed. I will absolutely be booking more adventures here, and I hope to check out the courses in other states if we ever end up close to them. The kids had an amazing time, and while it took a bit for Judah to warm up to it, he came out of his shell and really pushed through his limits. If you have an Autistic child in the family like we do, this is a great way help build confidence and trust within themselves, and between them and others.
You will want to bring water with you, and they also have a picnic shelter that you can eat at if you bring a picnic lunch. Since you will be sweating, a change of clothes would be a good option as well if you are driving from somewhere that isn’t local. You can book online or over the phone, and they also offer group rates. To find out more about Go Ape and to book your adventure, check out their website here.