Teen and tween birthdays are difficult. They are less interested in party games and piñatas. They may need extra supervision which they are likely to resist. They may need recognition of coming of age. Left to a teen to plan a party, it will likely cost an arm and a leg and end up with teens staring at each other listening to loud music.
Recently, a group of Indiana bloggers was invited to check out Go Ape! at Eagle Creek Park. (They also have locations in Virginia and Maryland.) This “treetop adventure” is a challenging succession of high ropes obstacles, zip lines, and Tarzan swings. We had a blast! We left sweaty, dirty, and sore but feeling more brave, more capable, and more accomplished than when we began. When I realized that kids 10-17 could participate in the same adventure with the supervision of an adult, it occurred to me that this would be an excellent (and fun) coming of age ritual for many teens and tweens.
Being old enough and responsible enough to be trusted to clip in and participate in a dangerous activity could be a gift of pride for a teen or tween. It could also increase confidence in those feeling a bit uncomfortable win their bodies. If nothing else, I am sure they will gain more courage to manage the challenges of adolescence after conquering the fear of that final Tarzan swing.
Go Ape! can handle several people in the trees at a time, but it is not set up for interaction with more than a few people. I rarely saw some in our group of 11. We still had a shared experience, but it might be ideal for a smaller group of teens, which will also cut down on the distraction which could be dangerous. I would suggest that you wear gloves, tennis shoes, and pants. While we experienced Go Ape! for free, as my friend Heather said, I would so pay to do this again. I certainly enjoyed our adventure in the trees more than a day at an amusement park.
Check out the video below Indianapolis With Kids made of the Indy Geek Girls adventure at Go Ape!