TREETOP ADVENTURES PARK PHILADELPHIA
Elmwood Park Zoo
1661 Harding Blvd, Norristown, PA 19401
Phone: 610.277.3825 website>
Treetop Adventures is a new addition to the Elmwood Zoo in Norristown. Simply put it is an adventure course where kids and adults aerial climb from tree to tree. The adult’s course is way up in the trees and the kid’s (Junior Palooza) course is below and just several feet off the ground.
This review is a bit of a cautionary tale. So far Treetop Adventures Park has frustrated parents with long wait times, being turned away after waiting and safety concerns. I have had comments from parents about a child falling from one of the platforms and their concern about helmets not being required.
When we went we did have a good time and I really think it is hit or miss. Either way I will tell you about our experience and you can decide for yourself. I do know they were working on a registration process where you reserve your time slot but honestly the site has been saying that since at least August.
When we arrived the check-in process was confusing. So I will explain it.
1.There are two courses. One for adults and one for kids. We wanted to do it as a family but it does not work like that. The boys needed help and supervision to get through the course. So we purchased two admissions to Treetops for the boys (which includes admission to the zoo) and then we had to purchase two general admission passes for the adults.
2. The instructors show you how to work the carabineers and zip lines but this is not a guided obstacle course. You have to be comfortable helping your child through the course and on the zip line sections. At check-in the mom in front of us was really uncomfortable with this but I think it was because the person at the ticket counter did a bad job of explaining it. On the course they were right in front of us and she and her daughter did great. So please do not be intimidated by that part.
*Kid’s have to be 36″ tall to even do the course so make sure your little one is tall enough.
*If for any reason you have to purchase additional admissions you will have to walk from the Treetops course all the way back to the entrance. They do not handle any money at the Treetops check-in. Even though it is not a long walk make sure you get it right to avoid any delay or issues.
Next you walk over to the far end of the small zoo and check-in at the Treetops course. This is basically an outdoor shed across from the bisons. The boys got fitted for their harnesses and then the instructor showed them how to use the carabineers and do the zip line. Over all the instructors were nice but….
*The instructor that showed the boys how to use the carabiners was a little gruff and short with them. Not terrible but he really did not have the patience for kids. I will say my youngest is tall for his age so most people think he is older but even still if 3+5 year olds are allowed on the course it would be nice if they made sure the instructors liked kids.
*The instructors on the course are there and you can ask them questions but I would not say they are actively with you or observing you.
Once the instructions are over you get to start the course. The kid’s course is a series of different suspended steps from tree to tree and two different zip lines.
*My five year old loved it. It was a challenge but not hard for him.
*My three year old was challenged by the course. Clicking in and out with the carabineers was probably the hardest part. If you have a timid three year old I would wait another year. There were a few times I had to jump up on the platform to make sure he was clipped in carefully.
*There were two tweenagers behind us and I kind of felt bad. The kid course for them was way too easy and they zipped right through it. Basically they were too old for the kids course and too young for the adult course.
*The adult course is something I would want to try. I asked the three guys that did it at the same time we were doing the kid course and they totally loved it. They said it was hard and worth doing. They also said that if they would have not been first and had to constantly wait for people it would have been terrible.
On the kid’s course there are two ziplines. The boys loved these and since there wasn’t really anyone behind us they got to do it a couple times. The tree where the zipline ends is padded. The instructors mention that you might want to hold their rope or stand at the end of the zipline. They really should stress to parents that you should absolutely stand at the padded tree and catch your child. They can really move on that thing and Ollie hit it pretty fast and scared himself. That said he snapped out of it when we asked him if he wanted to try it again. But do yourself a favor and catch them at the end.
This is my first time to the Elmwood Zoo. We ended our trip with a pony ride, fed the tropical birds and hanging out in the playground. The trip was three hours total and the boys had a great time. They both passed out on the way home. I will say that even though the zoo is really small it helps to round out the trip.
We had a great trip. The boys loved that it was something different and completing the course made them feel so accomplished. They were very proud of themselves. Would I go again? I might go maybe once a year. It was neat but not something I would rush back to. I can see exactly what parents meant about wait times. We happen to plan it just right but when we were leaving the line had started and they were starting to waitlist people. Because you have no idea how long it will take people/ kids to move through the course they really cannot give you a solid estimate on how long you will be waiting till you start.
I encourage you to try it but just be aware that the complaints have been long wait times, you will need to supervise your child / help them through the course and for four of us the price was over $70.00 so it was not exactly a cheap thing to try.
Parking is free and you can bring food in. Those are things I like know where visiting a place to help off set the cost 🙂