TreeTop Adventure delivers high-flying fun
|The aerial challenges lead guests to a series of zip lines. Photos by Melissa Lowrie|
By Melissa Lowrie
If you and your kids are looking for a high-flying physical and mental challenge, the TreeTop Adventure at Callaway Gardens will do the trick.
We ventured beyond the Canoe Kids’ usual parameters of an hour outside Big Canoe and had a quick weekend getaway. If you haven’t been to Callaway in a while, I’d highly recommend it.
It’s in Pine Mountain, about three hours away, and is a fun, family-friendly destination with tons to do.
While there is no age requirement for the aerial course, guests must be at least 54 inches tall. My 10 and 11-year-old (happily) were tall enough to participate.
The TreeTop Adventure consists of 34 aerial challenges and 10 zip lines traversing through the forest along the edge, and sometimes over, Mountain Creek Lake.
|It’s very important to practice attaching yourself to the zip line.|
Before your party can set out on the self-guided tour, expect a brief equipment lesson, and a harness and helmet fitting. There is a zip line very close to the ground to try out before heading 30 feet up.
Basically, your harness is equipped with two carabiners (big clips) and a larger attachment you use when zip lining. All are attached to your harness by heavy cords. The most important thing I heard during our orientation was that you should make sure you are always hooked on by at least one carabiner.
We got there relatively early and had the course to ourselves (this was not yet the high season; I hear that it can get extremely crowded during the warmer months; reservations are a must). It’s also a popular corporate team-building outing that draws larger groups.
This is a very physical activity and not for those with any fear of heights. The aerial challenges range from climbing to navigating long swinging planks or circular boards. The first zip line was intimidating for the kids, but they gave it a shot and proved they could do it ... a big score for the confidence level.
As the kids became more comfortable, we could move a little faster. There was always a staff person nearby and he would encourage as needed. Depending on your speed, the course is designed to be completed in about an hour or 90 minutes.
|This is the practice zip line; it’s only a few feet off the ground.|
The last three zip lines were extremely high and over water. My daughter was not nearly as intimidated by this as I was. (My 10-year-old opted out of this section and watched from the ground.)
After we completed the course I asked the staff how many times a day they had a guest freak out (for lack of a better term) on the course. He said it’s usually one a day ... an adult. The meltdowns ranged from needing encouragement to using the rescue ladders to get a person back to terra firma. Apparently, it’s the first zip line that gets to them.
For the one person that doesn’t enjoy the experience, I would guess there are 250 that have a great time. I would include myself in the great time group. For $35 a person, I thought it was a blast and money well spent. My 6th-grader agreed; the 4th-grader was not as enthralled. I’d say this adventure was built more for older kids and adults.
|The TreeTop Adventure course is popular with corporate groups.|
There are other zip line outfits closer to home; North Georgia Canopy Tours in Lula was highly recommended; there are also zip lines at Cherokee Valley Ranch in Jasper.
Save the TreeTop Adventure for the older kids, but don’t rule out Callaway. There are bike rentals for the less-adventuresome and miles of hiking trails. Plenty more to do beyond that, so check it all out at callawaygardens.com.
Spring is here, so head outside with your Canoe Kids. Wherever you end up, have a great time.