First-ever zip line and treetop obstacle course in Illinois can now be enjoyed at the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Go Ape, the nation’s premier treetop adventure course company is opening its latest location June 25 at Bemis Woods-South. The course is located within the Forest Preserves of Cook County at 1100 Ogden Avenue, in Western Springs.
The seven-acre course offers guests a unique two to three hour trek through the forest canopy. The course features include:
- 5 zip lines for a total of 2,837 feet of exhilaration
- A “double Tarzan swing” that allows 2 participants to simultaneously swing from 30 feet and safely land in a cargo net
- A series of rope ladders and bridges, spider’s webs and trapezes
- 40 obstacles situated 40+ feet up in the forest canopy
Cook County is the only place in the state where visitors can experience zip lines, high ropes and treetop obstacle courses. In addition to offering residents a one-of-a-kind experience in the region, the new amenity is also a milestone for Go Ape as well as the Forest Preserves.
“The Chicagoland area is special to us, as it is now the largest market where Go Ape offers outdoor adventure,” said Go Ape Managing Director Dan D’Agostino. “Go Ape is quickly becoming nationally known for fun, challenge and adventure, as well as environmental stewardship. We’re looking forward to getting residents and visitors up in the trees, as well as becoming part of the region’s vibrant outdoors culture.”
“Of the 102 counties in Illinois, the most ecologically diverse is Cook,” said Forest Preserves of Cook County President, Toni Preckwinkle. “Our goal is to connect people to nature in a way that includes fun and excitement in order to create lasting connections and an appreciation for the Forest Preserves.”
Go Ape Treetop Adventure courses offer a first-hand forest ecosystem experience, while also providing exercise, team building and personal confidence building skills. All Go Ape courses are designed to allow for a wide variety of skill levels, offering a balanced mixture of challenge and fun. Participants will experience a forest canopy of Oak Woodlands, which is native to Bemis Woods.
The course contains five stations, called “sites.” To access each site, guests ascend a rope ladder which lead to a set of obstacles and ends with a zip line bringing guests back to the forest floor. Each site gets progressively more challenging and the zip lines get longer.
The course can accommodate beginners as well as skilled outdoor enthusiasts. After a 20 minute safety session, the entire course takes about 2-3 hours to complete. Staff guide visitors from the ground as they experience their adventure, which costs $57.00 for adults and kids ages 16 – 17, and $37.00 for kids ages 10 – 15.
The course is open April 1 through November 30 and people are encouraged to book their adventure online at goape.com or by phone at 1-800-971-8271. In addition to the Go Ape course, families, groups and individuals can also coordinate other activities available at Bemis Woods such as picnicking at the many groves and exploring the paved and unpaved trails for a full day of outdoor enjoyment.
Construction on the course began earlier this year in spring, with a 100% capital investment from Go Ape to build the Treetop Adventure course. The Forest Preserves of Cook County will share in the revenue derived from all ticket sales, with no public dollars being spent on building, maintaining or operating the course.
Go Ape estimates that approximately 70 percent of its guests are new visitors, and that partner organizations generally see an increase in visitors by as much as 25 percent.
“The Forest Preserves of Cook County has aggressively expanded its recreational offerings over the last several years,” said Forest Preserves General Superintendent, Arnold Randall. “It is exciting to partner with a company like Go Ape which understands and complements our mission as an organization,” Randall said.
Go Ape supports green space and local communities in which their courses are based by taking part in cleanups, non-native invasive plant removal, and by donating free and discounted tickets to underserved and special needs groups. Last year, Go Ape donated more than $1.2 million in free and reduced-price tickets to local community groups, charities and guests.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Go Ape and the Forest Preserves of Cook County will hold a ribbon cutting event at 1 pm on June 24, 2016. Media is invited to attend the event for interviews and photo opportunities of people using the course.
About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.