High Above the Tree Tops in West Orange at the New Adventure at Turtle Back

By mark-slade September 22, 2011

Patch Gets Sneak Peek: New Treetop Adventure Course at Turtle Back Zoo

Essex County Patch editors get early access to aerial course, zipline set to open Saturday

By Karen Yi

Treetop Adventure Course guides (in orange) coach participants in maneuvering through courses. They also help shaky participants feel confident while moving through the adventure course.
Millburn-Short Hills Patch editor Laura Griffin (l.) and Caldwells Patch editor Teresa Akersten smile just before beginning a course along wobbly wooden planks.
Participants of the Treetop Adventure Course can guide themselves along each course with the help of specially placed ropes.
West Orange Patch editor Karen Yi carefully hangs onto ropes while guiding herself through a precarious course.
Caldwells Patch editor Teresa Akersten nears the end of course two at the Treetop Adventure Course at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex.
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. carefully makes his way across a difficult course at the Treetop Adventure Course at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex.

Patch editors get a sneak peek at the new Treetop Adventure Course at Turtle Back Zoo.

There was no monkey business for a group of Essex County Patch Editors that swung across tress at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo’s newest exhibit: the Treetop Adventure Course.

Members of the media were invited on Monday for a sneak peek of the county’s aerial obstacle course and zipline slated to open to the public on Saturday.

The roughly three-acre space includes two aerial courses that each contain 12 obstacles. Each course finishes with a zipline that brings you back down to ground level.

With the course reaching a maximum height of 35 feet, guests are required to wear a harness and a helmet, and are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes.

The entire adventure course takes an average of an hour-and-a-half to complete but visitors have the option of finishing after the first 12 obstacles and zipline.

Ground guides help visitors navigate the course by yelling words of encouragement and instruction from below — where to hold, where to step and how to keep going.

The project took about two months to build and is part of the $3 million “Big Cat Country Complex,” according to Dr. Jeremy Goodman, the zoo’s director.

Mark Slade
Local Realtor
Keller Williams

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