Go Ape in Northern Virginia
For years we’ve been looking for a place to go ape in Northern Virginia – a place to climb trees, inch across hanging bridges, and swing from the branches. You know, just like the apes do.
Finally, Go Ape has opened at the South Run Park in Springfield, Virginia. I recently took my daughter and her friend to try it out. Do I even need to say that we had a blast? We had a blast.
When you arrive and check in (15 minutes early, please!) you’ll be fitted with a safety harness that you’ll wear through the entire course. After an introduction and a safety presentation, you’ll try out a couple of stations that are close to the ground under supervision of the staff, to make sure you understand the basics.
Once you’re done with that, you’re on your own to try any of the series of platforms and bridges and ziplines. Of course, there are staffers all around to help if you get stuck, which is more of a psychological issue than a physical one. The park is designed around safety, and it’s virtually impossible to get physically stuck, but if you’re afraid of heights or if you have a panic attack in the middle of a bridge, staff members are on hand to talk you through it, and if need be, they will come and help you down. But tha happen because you will love it and it feels very very safe.
Allow 2-3 hours to complete all the activities.
Requirements for Go Ape
For the Junior Course, which has 20 obstacles and 2 ziplines, with a maximum platform height of 27 feet, there’s no age limit, but you must be 3’3″ to participate.
For the Adult Course, you must be 10 years old AND 4’7″.
What to Wear
Wear closed toe shoes that are flat, and flat-bottomed. Grippy hiking shoes with a chunky tread are not the best option, because you won’t be able to feel your way along the rope bridges and obstacles as well.
Wear slim-fitting shorts or pants, or leggings. Looser clothing can get caught as you go through.
Have a harness or zippered pocket for your phone or camera, or just leave it on the ground while you’re in the trees. If you bring a GoPro, use the chest harness, as some of the other placements might interfere with the safety lines.
Our Experience at Go Ape
As captured in our Instagram Story:
We recommend wearing some kind of gloves, especially for the ziplines. Despite our best efforts – and we were really, really talented with the zip lines, believe me – two of the three of us ended up with nasty blisters.
Dudes – be careful on the Tarzan swing. I’m not sure exactly how you should prepare for it, but every male I saw on this one experienced a very uncomfortable crotch squeeze that kind of rained on the adrenaline rush of the swing itself.