On a sunny Sunday, we took our three mini travellers to Go Ape in Black Park, Buckinghamshire. I had been previously with my two eldest daughters, but it never crossed my mind to take the two year old too. However, Go Ape Black park benefits from the addition of Nets Kingdom, which meant our two year old could also get stuck into the action.
We arrived, sensibly dressed in shorts, t-shirts and trainers, with little time to spare before our allotted time slot. After hurriedly completing disclaimer forms we went straight into the safety briefing where the friendly staff ensured the children (and adults) had taken onboard all the necessary information. We could supervise our two eldest daughters from solid ground should we wish to, as they are over five years old, but our two year old would need an adult on the nets with her. Different coloured wristbands for different age groups ensured everyone knew their role. An adult can supervise up to five children over five years old, or two children under five. Once we were fully briefed we headed into Nets Kingdom. Enormous nets, totalling 450 sq metres, hang 30 feet above ground between giant oak trees, which also proved dappled shade for the children to play in. In the vast area below the nets there were plenty of picnic tables where families ate picnics or had snacks and drinks from the small cafe inside Nets Kingdom.
The children dived straight in and we scrambled up the first of the giant nets. It became quite steep at the top and our two year needed a helping hand, not easy whilst scrambling a net. I was quite surprised that children as young as one could go on the nets, as our two year old found it quite challenging at first, but once she found her confidence and adjusted to being in the tree tops, there was no stopping her.
At the top were a series of 7 canopy tree-houses connected by net bridges, which we walked across, cautiously at first. Then we came back around to the large open bounce nets where the children could charge around. One bounce net had large balls to add to the fun. Once I had put aside my anxiety of being so high off the ground, it became quite relaxing. So much so that my husband sat down for a rest as if in a giant hammock, whilst the children played around him.
To get back too solid ground you had the choice of scrambling though layered nets in the climbing tower, or sliding down one of two net slides. The children enjoyed both. We stayed for about two hours in Nets Kingdom, which was plenty for our girls and included a snack break and run around on the ground.
After our Nets Kingdom adventure, we headed over to the Tree Top Junior Go Ape, designed for the under-10s who are unable to access the main course. Tree Top Junior is accessible to for anyone over 1 metre tall. Adults can supervise children over six years old from the ground, but they advise adults accompany children on their first trip. I had already had this pleasure last summer so I let my husband accompany our eldest two whilst the littlest & I picnicked at a table below. As I watched my husband dutifully following the children, I soon remembered that height is not an advantage on Junior Go Ape as the rope handrails become a nuisance rather than a help. Children can been seen happily charging around whilst their parents duck and dive and wobble around the course. However everyone is fitted with a sets harness so there is no need to be concerned about slipping. We watched as the girls confidently navigated wobbly rope bridges, jumping between the suspended wood stepping stones, then whizzing down the 65.5 metre zip wire to come back down to ground. This was their favourite part of the day and they went back up for more several times. They were all presented with certificates at the end of their time slot, and we stayed for a while to finish our picnic . By the time we left in the early afternoon Go Ape was getting busier with several children’s parties arriving so we were pleased we had booked an early slot.
Thank you to all the helpful staff at Go Ape Black Park, we had a wonderful day in the tree tops, and it great to share the adventure with all our children.
Lucy and her family received complimentary tickets to Go Ape, but all her opinions are her own.