Somewhere between fear and courage, and challenge and fun; hanging three stories in the air, with an Indian Jones-like leap to the next platform, you’ll find out why adventure parks have been exploding in popularity over the past five years. Maybe it’s the tree-climbing, rope-swinging kid in all of us, or maybe it’s just pure adrenaline, but either way, adventure parks are pure fun.
Not so long ago, a tree-top zipline tour, or aerial adventure course were activities you could only experience on a tropical vacation, or at summer camp. But thanks to a booming interest from participants and advancing equipment technology, you can now find four expansive adventure park courses and zip lines right here in the Berkshires.
South Egremont is home to our region’s largest aerial adventure park, the Catamount Adventure Park. With over 170 features, including 50 ziplines, on 12 different courses, there’s truly something for everyone.
Head up Route 7 to Pittsfield, where you’ll find Bousquet’s Adventure Park. With 35 features on three different levels, the Bousquet park is a great course for first timers. They also have a separate, stand-alone zip-line for adventurers looking for the rush of soaring through the air, without the technical and physical aspects of the adventure park features.
Continuing north on 7, you’ll find Jiminy Peak’s Aerial Adventure Park, with over 70 features on 5 courses. If you head to the Black Course (the most difficult), be ready to test your physical and mental capabilities!
Finally, a little east of the main Berkshire corridor, you’ll find a zip line mecca — the Berkshire East Canopy Tours. While the adventure parks include zip lines as part of their fun, Berkshire East focuses on the adrenaline rush that comes from being hooked to a cable and soaring 200 feet above the ground at over 50 mph.
Whether you’re a spry twenty-something who can climb ascending monkey bars without breaking a sweat, a family with kids who would love to play on the biggest jungle gym they’ve ever seen, or even a 70 year old grandma (I’ve been on an adventure park with one) looking for a new adventure, get outside and check out one of these exciting playgrounds this summer!
Price: You can expect to pay between $30 and $50 per person for adventure park tours and $20 – $100 for zip line tours. You can usually save a few bucks by booking early online and visiting at off-peak times i.e. midweek/non-holiday.
Restrictions: The equipment is the biggest restriction for ages and size (for instance, small children don’t have enough weight to carry them across ziplines). Generally kids ages 6 and up are good to go, and folks under 250 pounds are in the clear. Check with each park beforehand for specific height, weight and age restrictions.
Physical Requirements: All of these adventure parks have courses designed for beginners, so the physical requirements are very low, so if you’re worried about being out of shape, it’s not that big of an issue. If you’re looking for a real challenge (like boot camp style obstacles) the better shape you’re in, the more enjoyable the course will be.
I’ll see you in the trees this summer! Your Berkshire Mountain Rover