Soaring through nature on a zipline, swinging through the air on a Tarzan swing, completing obstacle courses up in the air… sound like fun? Well then, Go Ape is the place for you.
Go Ape is more than just ziplines, it’s an outdoor ropes course with so many different obstacles and ziplines. The whole thing takes about 2-3 hours to complete. The best part is when you get to go down the huge zipline at the end.
One thing that’s different about Go Ape is that it is a self-guided adventure. What do I mean by self-guided, you may ask? Well, after you and your group sign a waiver and participate in a safety briefing, you are free to explore the course at your own pace, there is no staff member to be by your side every step of the way. Now, that doesn’t mean that there’s no one around if something happens, staff members are always nearby to help, just not there to supervise your every move.
There are 14 Go Ape locations, two are in Virginia (Springfield and Williamsburg), and one location is in Maryland (Rockville). The Rockville location is based in Rock Creek Regional Park, where you can find other activities like archery, fishing, and boating. There is a spacious parking lot near the building, and although the Go Ape location itself does not have a bathroom, there are park bathrooms located just a short walk away.
Now, I never really considered myself a ‘scared of heights’ person, I love flying, and I love roller coasters, but Go Ape had my heart beating out of my chest lol (in a good way). It wasn’t until I got to the Tarzan swing that I realized how scared I truly was. Seriously, I think I spent a good 10-15 minutes up there trying to convince myself to make the jump. If you don’t know what a Tarzan swing is, or if you’ve never seen the movie Tarzan before, the swing is basically you standing on a platform up in the air, with a rope dangling in front of you, all the way across from you is a big net, and another platform next to it. What you have to do is hold on to the rope, jump off the platform, swing all the way to the net, and climb up the net to the platform. Hopefully now you’re able to understand my hesitation with this swing lol. It was comforting to see that the other people in my group were just as scared as I was. Also, for some reason, I could never land the zipline right, my landing always involved me skidding on the ground (seriously, I had wood chips up my shirt lol). They do explain how to land correctly in the safety briefing, I just couldn’t get the hang of it for some reason.
If you decide to visit Go Ape, I suggest making sure that you are well hydrated, especially if you go in the summer, the sun was blazing the day I went. I would also dress comfortably and wear long pants in case you’re like me and struggle with landing the zipline. Another thing that you should bring is a phone lanyard, so that you can have your phone with you when you’re up in the air, or if your pants have zip up pockets, that works too. If you go in the summertime, I highly suggest wearing sunscreen and bug spray because you’re in the middle of the woods (I got like 3-4 bug bites).
But overall, my experience at Go Ape was a fun one, and I’m excited to go back sometime. Hopefully I’ll do better my second time, lol.