I’ll never forget the time I turned my back for a few seconds only to discover POD had scaled a chair and was just about to launch herself off the table! She was about two at the time and she’s been a climber ever since. Every time we visit the Alice Holt forest she asks if she can do Go Ape Junior but she’s not been big enough until now. Last weekend however she finally got to give it a go. We were a little apprehensive however as her first tree top adventure at Center Parcs a few months ago really didn’t go to plan. POD ended up dangling from a zip wire, unable to go forwards or backwards, in monsoon-like rain!
We love Alice Holt which is situated in Hampshire – you can see why in this post. The forest is part of the South Downs National Park and managed by the Forestry Commission. There are adventure trails and natural play areas aplenty there plus there’s cycling on offer too – you can hire a bike if you don’t have your own. The Go Ape set up is excellent and we barely had to wait to check in despite arriving just before lunch on a Sunday. Having purchased some gloves for POD, we were swiftly down to the main clearing to get our gear on. No helmets are needed but we did have a great briefing which included a practice run with the safety cable. As none of us had done Go Ape before, it was good to have that on the ground. POD took everything in her stride and there were smiles all round as we began.
The Go Ape Tree Trop Junior course at Alice Holt consists of two routes and each person has an hour to complete these. If you finish in less than the allotted time, you can obviously go round again. The team knows when you set off as your briefing time is written on your wrist band. Go Ape Junior is suitable for children aged 6-12 years or those over 1 metre in height. Adults can accompany the kids so the three of us opted to go up with POD in-between us.
POD has great upper body strength and balance so she set off at quite a pace, treading more carefully when she reached the parts of the first route with no net support. She was a little apprehensive at first because of the height from the ground but it didn’t take her long to get used to that. We were able to go at our own pace for the first route and actually completed it pretty swiftly. POD especially loved the zip wire at the end!
We began the second route where we’d started the first and of course it was a little more challenging. That’s what you need though isn’t it – an easy course wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting would it? POD navigated each section brilliantly and she didn’t stop once, I was so so proud of her. Did I mention I’m scared of heights? Well I never used to be, it’s only since I’ve been a parent which is very odd. There was no way I wasn’t doing Go Ape though and I figured if I can go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, as I did a couple of weeks ago, I can certainly take on a tree top adventure! There were a couple of sections I found to be more of a challenge but that just meant finishing the course was even more satisfying.
As we’d been a bit slower on the second route, we didn’t think we’d have any time left but we did. We’d actually been much quicker than we thought. So the POD Father and POD headed back up to do the first route again while I grabbed my other camera to capture the action from below. POD was so confident at this point, she was even jumping some of the boards. I’m sure part of this was because she was itching to get on the zip wire again. The two of them managed to squeeze in a fourth time down the zip wire before our time was up.
POD was delighted to receive a “cheeky monkey” sticker and certificate for completing the course from one of the Alice Holt team – who incidentally were all excellent. We’d promised her a pink Go Ape t-shirt and a monkey (soft toy) as she was awesome but she ended up with a lolly. The Go Ape card machine wasn’t working sadly so we couldn’t purchase any gifts. We had the best time on our first tree top adventure though and it was such a good laugh. If you’ve not done it yet, do give it a try. Prices for Go Ape Junior start from £18 per Tarzan with prices for the Tree Top Adventure starting from £25 for Baboons (age 10-15) and £33 for Gorillas (age 16+).
Disclaimer: We received tickets to Go Ape Junior at Alice Holt for the purpose of this review. For more information on Go Ape, visit the website. Opinions are as always our own.