Kids are natural monkeys. They love to climb.
Entrepreneur Matt Baker, who owns Terrapin Adventures in Savage, has tapped into the natural desire of kids to go to the tree tops with a new high-wire act: a ropes course just for kids called the Terrapin Explorers Kids Course. It’s designed specifically for children ages 5-9. Parents rejoice! Put away the iPads, pack the kids in the car and go.
The course features two levels, balance challenges, a 20-foot rock wall, and two zip lines. It’s a rope- and steel-cable playground in the sky. The object, over the course of about an hour, is to climb over, balance, scramble up, and zing down zip lines all the while yelling, “Whooop! Watch this, Ma!” as my son did last Saturday. It’s a blast.
The kids are outfitted with a rig of helmet and harness. They look like little professionals. Safety is paramount. Terrapin Adventures’ ropes course is on a continuous bollé, so if your kid takes a misstep, no sweat. They can’t fall. And, believe me, my son tested this. He’s an adrenaline junkie. “Look Ma, no hands!” he yelled as he purposefully leaped off one of the platforms and into thin air and was immediately caught, suspended by his harness. “You should try this, Ma!” he said, giggling.
In fact, I could. The Terrapin Adventures high ropes course for adults is right next door. From the leafty treetops, I heard the whoops and happy laughter of adults far more courageous than I, doing the 4-hour Terrapin Challenge, or sampling a la carte adventures like the zip line, the climbing tower, and the giant swing on which you can experience “an exhilarating 2Gs of force.” “Booyah!” said my son, when I read him that description from the website. Of course he wanted to try it. But I can’t stomach a playground swing, know what I mean? I’m a lightweight. The carousel makes me light-headed. But I love watching other people have fun.
The wonderful staff of the kids’ hop, skip and and jump all over the ropes like spiders on a web. They offer words of delight — “Awesome job, dude” — and encouragement. My daughter, 7, needed some coaching around a corner. “We’ll do this together,” one of them said. “Watch me.” With their help she was able to do it. I was amazed. I had expected tears. I had been about to tell her she could come down.
Baker says he “hires for personality” and then trains his staff extensively and it shows. After she successfully completed the course, my daughter was high-fiving everyone, beaming with pride. “I did it!” she said. “Can we come back next week?” she asked. “Can I have my birthday party here?” The answer? Yes, and yes.
Costa Rica was Matt Baker’s inspiration for this outdoor adventure by the banks of the Little Patuxent river. In 2o04, Baker, a former medical consultant, and his wife Jeryl and their family visited the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest and loved it. He aimed to create a similar thrilling eco adventure in Howard County, and he certainly has. In addition to the arial adventures of the ropes courses for children and adults, Terrapin Adventures offers kayak tours, guided bike trips, caving and tubing. It’s a one-stop-shop for the outdoor thrill seekers and the people, like me, who heartily cheer them on.
Cost: $25 per child for approximately 1 hour of climbing
Location: 8600 Foundry Street
Savage, Maryland 20763
Good to know: Arrive 1/2 hour before your time slot to gear up
Parents who want to climb at the same time can get a special combination deal on the Terrapin Tower.
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