FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The newest attraction at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is the Bamboo Forest ropes course.
It’s two stories of challenging obstacles that can be fun and rewarding for kids and adults of all ages. There are 27 different challenges on the main course. On the smaller course below, there are 11 challenges for kiddos shorter than 48 inches tall.
“Do I want to take it easy or challenge myself? Do I have a favorite one I want to do over and over again,” Zoo Executive Director Rick Schuiteman said.
Schuiteman’s predecessor, Jim Anderson, had an idea of adding a ropes course, but plans were never completed. Then recently the zoo found a company in Grand Rapids that does big ropes structures and Bamboo Forest was born.
“We went up and picked out the options we loved,” Schuiteman said. “And we liked that you just harness in and you go.”
Zoo employees are trained and certified to put on the harnesses properly.
Once you’re on the course, it’s choose your own adventure. Guests will get at least 30 minutes to explore and play on the course. There are timed entries and it’s recommended to make a reservation online before going to the zoo on a weekend. It costs $10 per person to be harnessed up on the main course or for children to do the smaller course. An adult must accompany children on the smaller course and there is no charge for the helper.
The area also has a marketplace grab-and-go food area and family restrooms. One of the restrooms has an adult changing table too, which is also new to the zoo.
What really excites Schuiteman about Bamboo Forest is how it brings families together.
“Part of zoo’s mission is to strengthen families and this is really strengthening families,” he said. “You see adults go up with the kids and you see them encouraging them and coaching them and celebrating success up there. And some adults don’t go up. Last weekend there was a girl who was tentative and her parents were encouraging her and she finally did it and the whole patio just cheered.”
Any age can give it a try.
“My mother-in-law is 78 years old she loved it. She wants to come back and tackle the few that she didn’t want to do last time,” Schuiteman said.
Wild on WANE took our cameras on the course for an exclusive look inside Bamboo Forest. Check out the video above to see WANE 15’s Alyssa Ivanson try the challenges.