The Adventure Park – “The Best Day of My Whole Life”
When I first heard about The Adventure Park opening in West Bloomfield last summer I was intrigued. I thought it sounded great, but didn’t know how my daughter would feel about it. This year, her Girl Scout troop decided to use their cookie money to plan a trip to the Adventure Park to go zip lining. My daughter was extremely excited for her trip today. Families were invited to participate as well. Since I was cookie parent, I opted not to zip-line in order to help the leader organize and also to take pictures for the review.
Note: This review was written in 2015. Since then, the park has been acquired by TreeRunner and is now called Tree Runner West Bloomfield Adventure Park.
The Adventure Park Course
Before arrival, I was not sure what the Adventure Park would be like. I was under the impression that the zip-lining and ropes courses were separate. Instead, there are a series of ropes courses with different elements to cross. Each ropes course incorporates one or more zip-line elements.
There are ropes courses at various difficulty levels. Kids need to be at least 5 or 6 to try the easiest courses with an adult (one child per adult). Different supervision options are needed for the more difficult courses based on the child’s age. As a 9 year old, there were some courses my daughter could do alone, some with supervision from the ground, some with an adult on the course with her, and others that you had to be older to even attempt. There are walking paths through the park where you can observe (and offer suggestions or take pictures) near the easier courses.
Visiting The Adventure Park
Location & Parking
The Adventure Park is located at 6600 West Maple Rd in West Bloomfield, about 40 minutes from Ann Arbor. It is located in the trees behind the Jewish Community Center (so don’t be surprised when your navigation system tells you to turn into the JCC). There are a few parking spaces near the entrance (most of the spaces in this area are reserved for pickup/dropoff at a daycare). However there is plenty of parking available in the large lot.
Arrival & Gear
Your visit will start at their office near the parking lot where each participant will receive a wristband indicating their age level (which courses they are allowed on) and it’s expiration time (wristbands are valid for 3 hours). After receiving your wristband, you will head back to The Adventure Park. Once at the Adventure Park, you will receive help securing your harness and equipment. They will walk the group through putting the harness on and securing it step by step. Kids will definitely need some help securing their harnesses tightly. As a non-climber I was able to help with one of our groups (we had more than 50 climbers, so we were spit into 3 groups).
After your group has their harnesses secure, you will proceed to the training area where you will receive instructions on how to secure yourself to a line, how to transition between lines, and how to zipline. The final preparation stage is a small training course that is close to the ground so that you can practice closer to the ground. While climbing, each climber has two carabiners one of which will always be locked to a line (the only way to unlock a carabiner is to lock the other carabiner). Then, you are set free to explore the Adventure Park.
The Adventure Park was well staffed with staff at several key places to provide advice, and to monitor technique. They also had ladders available to “rescue” anyone who decided that they were on a course outside of their comfort zone. We did have a few people get rescued at various points. On a subsequent visit, I saw several children from a camp get rescued when it was time for their group to leave.
Facilities at The Adventure Park
The Adventure Park is an outdoor facility. They have a picnic area with tents and tents that can be reserved for groups. There are bottled water dispensers available through the park with paper cone cups. There are port-a-potties available on site.
What to Bring/Wear
First, the Adventure Park requires closed toe shoes that are firmly attached to your feet – no flip flops, Crocs, slide on shoes. While on The Adventure Park Course, you will be wearing a harness that goes over the shoulders, around the waist, and around the legs. I recommend a t-shirt instead of a tank-top as well as jeans, leggings, or longer shorts so that the harness is not against bare skin for comfort. Long hair also needs to be tied back. I know I gave some girls (including my daughter) spare hair ties.
Two things that I didn’t think to bring were sunscreen and bug spray. Fortunately, our leader was more prepared and my daughter used bug spray. The course is in the trees, so the course is mostly in the shade. However, since the course is in the forest, I do recommend bug spray. I didn’t get any bites, so I’m not sure how much it was needed. I would guess that it would be a wise idea later in the summer especially in the evenings.
Because water is available throughout the park, there is no need to bring a water bottle since you cannot take it on the course with you. Similarly, you should bring minimal stuff with you (wallets, purses, bags, cameras, etc) or plan to leave it with a non climber.
You can bring food to your party at The Adventure Park. There is a Little Caesar’s up the street where we were able to buy pizza at an affordable price. We would suggest bringing a wagon to help you carry your food, drinks, and supplies from the car to the party area as it is quite a walk (we had a group of 60 and over 20 pizzas to haul plus beverages).
I also suggest making sure that you have an adequate adult:child ratio if you have children who will need to be escorted on some courses. An adult can only escort 2 children at a time.
My Daughter’s Thoughts
My daughter had a blast! She climbed for a solid 2 hours trying out at least 4 different courses. Her favorite part was easily the zip lining. I filmed several of her zipline runs and they all included her going one handed and waving at me half-way.
I practically had to force her to take a break to eat pizza. We were pushing up against the end of our time, so she only ate about 3/4 of a slice before heading back out for a last run. After her last run, she finished her slice of pizza and had a brownie before we left.
As we were leaving, she stated that “Today is the Best Day of my Whole Life”. She has since clarified that to the year. When I asked if it was better than our trip to Universal Studios or Disney World, her answer was “I guess not, I had to go to school today”. Still, she can’t wait to go back.
Your climbing time is 3 hours. It took almost an hour from arrival to have our group checked in, harnessed, and trained which left 2.5 hours to climb and have dinner. Our Girl Scout Troop has 28 girls in second and third grade, most of whom attended the event as well as siblings from Kindergarteners through Middle Schoolers and parents. Some of our climbers were like my daughter who climbed without a break, others who took a dinner break and then resumed climbing, and a few who tried one or two courses before quitting. I was very thankful for the adults who took time to escort children other than their own through some of the more difficult courses.
My daughter’s troop returned again in 2017. This time I climbed too, but was not as brave as her. Fortunately her troop leader took her on the more difficult course.
Pricing at The Adventure Park
As great as The Adventure Park is, there is one big downside…the cost. Pricing is based on weekday/weekend and the age of the climber. Since younger climbers are limited on which courses they can use, their price is lower. Updated for 2019
- Ages 12 & Up: $48 + $1.19 service fee
- Ages 10-11: $43 + $1.19 service fee
- Ages 7-9: $38 + $1.19 service fee
- Ages 5 and 6: Free + $1.19 service fee
There is a new Junior Park just for kids ages 4-7. It costs $20 (+$1.19 service fee) and they must be accompanied by an adult