When I decided that I wanted to tackle Taronga Zoo's Wild Ropes for a "50 Before 50" activity, I wasn't really sure what was in store. I've heard of ropes courses. I've known others who have done them. This one hovers over animal enclosures at Sydney's Taronga Zoo. Sounds cool, right? They are open to kids 8 years and older (reaching a height requirement). How difficult can it be?
I knew my friend Shelby and her son P were coming to visit. My stepkid and I checked out the website and pictures and decided we'd buy all of us a package while they were here for a Christmas present from our family to theirs. Prices actually seemed somewhat reasonable (because most things in Sydney are not reasonably priced.) We selected the "Adventure Package" which consisted of:
Adventure Package + Zoo entry - includes access to two courses plus same day Zoo entry. Purchase a combined Wild Ropes / Taronga Zoo ticket online and save:
We arrived a little early which was great...enough time to use the toilet, drink some water, check out the duck pond and water fowls next to the course...and check out these guys just chilling out...they are situated underneath part of the Wild Ropes course.
We weren't allowed to take anything with us...meaning no cameras and no phones. We got harnessed up, were given a few basic instructions, had a picture taken, and then, we were on our way.
P was the brave one who volunteered to go first, and he was an awesome leader! We'd here him yelling through the trees shouts of encouragement: "Erin, you got this!" and "Good job, Liam!"
Honestly, I don't even know how to adequately describe the challenges. First, let me say, they were NOT as easy as I expected. We needed balance. We needed more strength than I predicted. There were ropes (duh!) and platforms, things that swing and shake and rock and move. There was a "lower" course that we tackled first, and a "higher" course that we conquered secondly. We basically kept calling ourselves "America Ninja Warriors"; the stepkid called himself an "Australian Junior Ninja Warrior".
Speaking of the stepkid...I can't tell you how proud of him we were. There were some times when he was nervous, scared, unsure, and outright saying, "I'm not doing it". There were moments of coaching, encouraging, supporting, and even bribing him to tackle certain apparatus challenges. He rocked at some, and others were rocking him to the core. But, he did it! He did them all!
Look at that little "Australian Junior Ninja Warrior" crossing that rope!
Speaking of overcoming some obstacles...the stepkid overcame fear. Shelby, well, she overcame injury. At some point, in the first course, she felt her arm/shoulder pop. She pushed through. She thought maybe she wouldn't do the second course, but after seeing Liam overcome his fear, she thought she'd overcome her discomfort. (Since she's gone home and seen a doctor, she's learned that she strained a pectoral muscle and ruptured a rotator cuff; she was even sent to a specialist to make sure surgery wasn't needed!)
Once finished, we all needed about 6 gallons of water each. We were sweaty messes, all pretty happy with our accomplishment and experience, and ready to visit the zoo.
Another "souvenir" from Wild Ropes - matching bruises on our arms!
This is the type of activity that is exactly what I wanted for my 50 Before 50 list - something I've never done before, something I shared with loved ones, and something that made me feel pumped about myself after doing it.
Have you done a ropes course? What did you think?