Given its location next to the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, it’s no stretch to say that Treetop Adventure Course will test your animal instincts. It might even get you out of your shell. Whatever your predisposition for thrills, you’ll tap into your agility, equilibrium and confidence as you navigate the obstacles on the aerial circuit—all while about 35 feet off the ground. Although not for the faint of heart, the Essex County–run course is sturdy and keeps adventurers secure in harnesses that attach to a cable system. Mandatory helmets are supplied, and slip-resistant gloves are recommended.
First opened in 2011, the adult course ($30) offers 30 elements, with an average run time of 60–90 minutes. The junior course ($20) sits just 10 feet off the ground, features 15 challenges and takes 30–45 minutes to complete. (Adults are welcome to opt for the junior course.) Taking the plunge, I traversed the seesaw plank, sidestepped across a rope bridge, passed through a slatted tunnel, conquered a wobbly wooden structure, and more. The course tests your balance and challenges your composure at each obstacle. Some features have ropes to grab for support; other obstacles require a leap of faith. Between obstacles, there are resting points—small wooden platforms with poles in the center.
While some participants whiz through the course like ninja warriors, others—like this cautious adventurer—take more measured steps. Falling is impossible, explained our instructor, who secured everyone’s harness and helmet before laying out the rules of the course. If you feel panicked or lose your footing, just sit back in your harness. The straps will hold you as you hang.
Want more thrills? An adjacent zip line ($15) rises about 40 feet above the ground and measures more than a football field in length. Adrenaline junkies can zoom down the cable for a last rush before heading home.
Reservations for the adventure courses are recommended, though not required. Book your outing online. The zip line experience does not require a reservation and can be bundled with a course ticket.
The season runs from April through November. All participants must fill out a waiver agreement. Closed-toe, athletic sneakers are required, as well as clothing that a harness can easily fit over. As part of Covid-19 protocols, face coverings are mandatory, and temperature checks will be conducted.
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