Go Ape at Freedom Park
I recently had the opportunity to check out the new Go Ape location in Freedom park (Williamsburg, VA). I had visited their Washington, DC location and was impressed, so I had high expectations for the new location were high – and they lived up to them.
The reservation process on their website is the same as at the other location, in fact it is exactly the same site. You simply choose the location you wish to visit, enter the number of people you are bringing and pick a date. In my opinion, Go Ape has one of the best on-line reservation systems I have seen for a canopy tour. My only gripe with the website is that I would have liked to see a lot more photos and maybe a course map there. It really doesn’t do the courses justice.
As with the DC Go Ape, the course is situated in a nice parkland setting with plenty of trees. This is important as it could get very hot here in the summer months and baking in the sun would not be pleasant with a helmet on.
Go Ape is based on self guided experiences so the safety presentation at the beginning is a bit more comprehensive than you might find at a guided course. That is a good thing because once they turn you loose you are pretty much on your own. There are some instructors roaming around to help if you need them, but for the most part they let you do your own thing. The course is well designed so as long as you pay attention to what you are doing there shouldn’t be any safety concerns. The staff you do deal with is friendly and helpful.
Just like the DC course, the Freedom Park course is focused more on crossings and less on zip lines. According to the website, there are 37 crossings on the course, but I will have to take their word for it since I didn’t count them. Regardless of the number, they continue with their theme of creating interesting and unusual crossings so I never got bored. I played for close to three hours and was able to do it all.
Being big into zip lines, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of lines here. They are all fun and add a nice punctuation to each section of the course. The last one is very long and the best part of the course in my opinion. They say it is 600′ long, but once again I will just have to take their word for it. One thing for sure, it is one of the longest I have seen at this type of self guided course.
Overall, Go Ape is a ton of fun but it lacks some of the adventure of a guided course. This may sound like a contradiction, but guided courses tend to be a little wilder and usually are more centered on the zip lines. Self guided courses are usually more condensed because it is easier to have staff cover the area from the ground, so there are less surprises as you move along the course.
Go Ape is located a few minutes from Williamsburg so the place is dripping with colonial history. If you like to feed your brain as well as your body on vacation, this is a very nice option. Like in DC, the experience costs $55 for adults and $35 for children – well worth the price.
One note, don’t get suckered at Williamsburg if you go. They make it seem like you need a pass to see it which is not true. If all you want to do is walk around the town, you can go right ahead and do so. The passes are only necessary if you want to enter any of the tourist buildings. If you notice that many of the buildings are in surprisingly good shape, it is because they are re-creations. In fact, the whole town is sort of Disney-style colonial make-believe, but it is well done. There are plenty of more authentic historical sites nearby if you are into history.
For more information, or to make a reservation, please visit the Go Ape website at http://www.goape.com, or call 1-888-520-7322.