By Pope Jackson
Anyone who knows me, knows I love outdoor sports. As a member of the Bronx River Alliance I paddle the river as much as possible. Nothing gets me excited like amazing experiences right in my backyard. NYC has never had a shortage of these, but the outdoor adventures were limited. Well the wait is finally over. Two new attractions featuring three exciting experiences have been completed in the Bronx Zoo – The Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure, and Nature Trek.
Treetop Adventure opens to the public today on Friday, July 7th, and Nature Trek opened to the public on Saturday, July 1.
The Treetop Adventure is not for the faint of heart, but I think it will prove to be one of the highlight attractions for the Bronx and NYC overall. The Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure is an aerial climbing experience that features seven ropes courses of varying skill levels, and a zipline that runs more than 400 feet across the Bronx River and back – 50 feet above the water. A CLIMB ticket to Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure is for 2 hours, and provides instruction and training time as well as access to the aerial adventure courses. A ZIPLINE ticket is for one 2-way river-crossing experience. Tickets can be purchased for CLIMB and ZIPLINE either separately or packaged together. Tickets will be sold by time/appointment. These two experiences are ticketed separately from the Bronx Zoo. The Climb experience is $64.95 and the Zipline is $34.95, the combo price is $74.95, which I recommend.
Like me, you might initially find the package options a bit pricey, but I did a little research for comparison. With the exception of the City Streets Zipline that happens once or twice over the summer, there are no Zipline options nearby. Most are over $100 in our immediate area- and when you factor in that most folks zipline when they are on vacation, there is always an additional travel expense and time just to get to the zipline. But the new Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure offers unique and beautiful views of the Bronx Forest, exhilarating climbs and descents through the trees in the Zoo – all accessible with a Metrocard.
Now back to the good stuff
The aerial adventure courses consist of climbing elements set in the forest canopy. Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure uses state-of-the-art harness equipment and safety systems. The courses are of varying degrees of difficulty, and consist of challenge obstacles including rope bridges, wobbly bridges, tight rope walks, ladders, rolling and swinging elements, ziplines, and more. There are 7 aerial courses color coded by skill level: 2 Beginner (yellow); 2 Intermediate (green); 2 Advanced (blue) 1 Expert (black) Each course has 8 -12 elements/skill challenges. Expert-level participants can face the extreme test of the jump descender at course-end. I kept it simple and did 1 yellow and 1 green you can check out the GoPro video courtesey of the Bronx River Alliance:
Dual, side-by-side ziplines cross 50 feet above the Bronx River and return. The trip across the river is more than 400 feet in each direction. You have to Zip across, climb a couple staircases and rope bridges, then zip back. There is no ground access on far side of the river so you have to go both ways.
Another great note is the staff and team members were everywhere on the ground. You could hear them constantly calling instruction and encouragement up to people on the course. Very helpful during the moments with shaky legs, myself included.
Treetop Adventure – both the CLIMB and the ZIPLINE are located next to the Bronx River Parking entrance to the Bronx Zoo, and are accessible from Exit 6 off the Bronx River Parkway, or from the Pelham Parkway subway station. Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure requires a separate ticket from the zoo experience or WCS Membership. Bronx Zoo Treetop Adventure is a year-round experience (weather permitting) and participants must be: age 7 & up; between 50 and 275 lbs; able to reach 5’6” from flat feet. Additional participant restrictions apply – details at www.bronxzootreetop.com.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, got a good workout and can’t wait to go back.
Photos and video by Pope Jackson for Bronxmama.com