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|Amber Brooks • 2/15/17|
The Short Version: Go Ape takes your dates to new heights with exciting treetop obstacle courses. Every climbing, swinging, and zip-lining challenge gives nature lovers something to talk and laugh about in a totally unique and breathtaking setting. Go Ape’s environmentally friendly course fosters exploration and romance while suspended 30 to 40 feet in the air. If you want to share a day of adventure with someone special, you can take to the trees in any of Go Ape’s 16 locations in the U.S. and hang out on rope swings, wood bridges, and zip lines to your heart’s content. People of all ages (and athletic abilities) bond while playing Tarzan and Jane together in the fresh air at Go Ape.
Surrounded by trees in Queen Elizabeth Park in Scotland, Martyn Milner and Colette Gregory said their I dos in a truly special way — 40 feet up in the air.
At Go Ape Aberfoyle, the bride and groom exchanged vows on a platform in the treetops while 30 guests watched from below. The couple was on cloud nine as they zip-lined to their happily ever after.
“When it came to our own big day, we wanted to do something totally different,” Martyn explained. “Colette and I love the outdoors and both have a great sense of adventure, so when we thought about Go Ape, we instantly knew it would be the perfect place.”
Go Ape thrills singles and couples on suspended obstacle courses built in public parks around the world. Guests are free to take their time playing on the bridges and enjoying the scenery until the park closes at sunset. The average outdoor course takes about two to three hours to complete, so you can really get to know your date while hanging among the trees.
In the mid-2000s, Go Ape expanded from the U.K. and put down roots in the U.S., where the aerial adventure courses have been growing ever since. Currently, Go Ape has 16 locations spread across the country from Texas to Delaware, and they’re planning new builds in more locations.
Next time you feel like your dates are becoming a little too routine, pull on some sensible shoes, reserve a spot online, and swing into action on Go Ape’s treetop course. You can explore, laugh, and have fun alongside someone special in a safe and positive environment. Outdoorsy folks can’t get enough of this invigorating activity.
“We push adventure in a way that’s accessible to everyone,” explained Suzanne Coblentz, Head of Marketing at Go Ape. “We’re really intent on getting people to embrace their local community parks.”
Go Ape encourages people to discover the beauty of nature while swinging from tree to tree via ropes, bridges, zip lines, or suspended rings. Visitors explore various suspended obstacles and show their adventurous side in the treetops.
By negotiating Go Ape’s stimulating and safe courses, you and a partner can push yourselves out of your comfort zone. Dozens of feet off the ground, daters often gain a new perspective on their surroundings and relationships. It’s a physical activity, but many obstacles are easy enough for beginners. Go Ape instructors are full of encouragement and show people of all ages that they can do amazing things.
“The obstacles are logistically challenging but not physically demanding. You’re walking on swinging bridges or crawling through tunnels,” Suzanne told us, “and the camaraderie of that shared experience helps to break down some of those initial butterflies on a date.”
If you’d like to upgrade your experience, you can bring a lunch to share in designated picnic areas with your date. You’re likely to work up an appetite as you scurry, scoot, crawl, and climb around the course, so coming prepared with a bite to eat is a great way to impress and satisfy your date.
“Go Ape is unique because it fosters teamwork. You have to work together to get through the course,” Suzanne said. “You have to communicate and encourage each other. There’s a lot of laughing and cheering going on around the obstacles.”
Every course is different because the Go Ape team takes the setting into account and adjusts the obstacles according to the trees and the views available. On platforms, netting, and zip lines, guests view the beauty of the wooded environment from a variety of angles. Together, you and your date can share a sense of wonder under the summer sun and make a lasting memory in the great outdoors.
Go Ape is an environmentally-friendly organization seeking to share a love of nature with people everywhere. Their courses do not interfere with the wildlife but limit their footprint in every public park they occupy.
According to the website, “Environmental advocacy, stewardship, and sustainability are core tenants of our business.” The team works hard to make their obstacle courses sustainable as well as fun. For instance, they support the flourishing of natural fauna by building birdhouses in the parks.
As part of their push for environmentalism, Go Ape promotes many group projects to clean up nature trails, build bat boxes, create paths for hikers, and remove non-native species such as English Ivy or Japanese Barberry. Dozens of environmentalists and volunteers come together to celebrate the organization’s annual National Live Life Adventurously Day, an event centered around giving back.
“Everyone on the team has a fundamental appreciation for the outdoor space,” Suzanne said. “We’re passionate, active, and outdoorsy individualists. We’re like-minded but very much individuals.”
Despite being in high demand from parks across the country, Go Ape remains careful and methodical in their expansion, ensuring they don’t disrupt the trees or wildlife in any park where they build an obstacle course.
“We base our courses on the topography, and it’s a custom build every time. We want it to look like part of the forest,” Suzanne told us.
In search of new frontiers, Go Ape is gradually moving westward to share the spirit of adventure with more people. They’re opening two new locations in 2017 (in Michigan and the D.C. metro area) with the goal of eventually having a presence across the continental U.S. and instilling an appreciation for the beauty of the environment from coast to coast.
When Zac zip-lined after his boyfriend at a Go Ape obstacle course, he didn’t know that waiting for him on the ground would be a large sign asking “Will You Marry Me?” Right there, Colin got down on one knee, heart pumping with adrenaline, and asked Zac for his hand in marriage in the place where they’d had their first date.
“Being up in the trees, I was so worried that I was going to drop the rings!” Colin recalled. “But it was worth it to see the look on Zac’s face as he came flying down the zip wire.”
Many couples, like Zac and Colin, have spent their first date at Go Ape and later returned to celebrate anniversaries, proposals, and special events in this unique setting. Some couples even host their bachelor or bachelorette parties at Go Ape, which does offer some group discounts. Whatever the occasion, Go Ape is all about creating an unparalleled experience for adventurous singles and couples.
“I am afraid of heights and honestly only went because it was my boyfriend’s birthday and what he wanted to do. I was afraid of a lot of it, but am so glad I participated in this!” — Anna, of North Carolina, Raleigh, in a Go Ape review
“We see quite a few engagements each season. It’s certainly a unique way to propose,” Suzanne commented. “Whenever someone reaches out to us with a proposal request, we roll out the red carpet and make sure it’s a special occasion for the couple.”
Go Ape elevates fun for people looking for an excuse to let loose in an adult-sized playground. The teamwork element of the courses brings people together and helps couples bond in an exciting outdoor space.
“I booked this experience as a birthday present to my spouse, and she exclaimed that this adventure was the best birthday gift she’s ever gotten,” wrote Darnley of Rockville, Maryland, in a Go Ape review. “The experience was truly remarkable.”
A surprise is around every corner at Go Ape. From zigzagging bridges to fast-moving zip lines, this dynamic daytime activity gives people a chance to take in romantic views, get their blood pumping, and explore new heights with a date.
As far as outdoor recreation goes, this tops them all with a family-friendly good time in secluded and wooded areas. Holding hands with someone special, you can embark on a one-of a-kind experience by tackling Go Ape’s treetop obstacles together.
Whether you’re looking to break the ice on a first date or zip line into your love’s arms on your wedding day, Go Ape presents couples with many memorable moments high up off the ground. Up in the treetops awaits a heart-pounding adventure for anyone daring enough to strap themselves in and make the climb.
“Adventure is right outside your door,” Suzanne said. “With our nature experiences, we want to spread awareness about the wealth available to the average American in their community parks.”