By Micaela Williamson
Adventure courses and zip lines are great tools to challenge kids (and their parents) to take risks and build confidence. Families can soar to new heights at these local attractions:
500 N. Pendleton St.
Middleburg, VA 20117
Tree Top Zip Tours by Empower Adventures includes a 20-acre course with interconnected suspension bridges, platforms and zip lines through the woods of Loudoun’s hunting country. Children must be at least 70 pounds and 8 years old to participate. Those younger can check out the new Kiddo Zip Line, a 200-foot zip line that launches kids from the ground level. Guests wanting an even more unique and challenging experience can take flight under the stars during Empower’s Moonlight Canopy Tours (on select dates). Don’t leave hungry—take advantage of the on-site restaurants at Salamander Resort for an after-adventure meal or snack.
Harpers Ferry Adventure Center
37291 Jefferson Pike
Purcellville, VA 20132
This recreation hotbed known for rafting, water sports and camping has taken to the trees. The adventure park features a three-level challenge course. The first level is designed with kids 5-12 in mind, presenting them with just the right amount of mind-body challenge. Those over 10 can test their skills on the middle and upper levels. In addition to the adventure park, Harpers Ferry Adventure Center offers zip line tours that boast “the best views in the area.” Visitors over 70 pounds can tour the two-hour course, complete with seven zips and a sky bridge. You’ll fly through the treetops.
River Riders Inc: Adventure Park at Harpers Ferry
408 Alstadts Hill Road
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
Another great place for adventures near the Harpers Ferry area, the Aerial Adventure Park at Harpers Ferry features over 100 challenge elements and allows participants to “choose their own adventure” based on level of difficulty. Each trail contains elements such zip lines, rope bridges, ladders and rock walls to challenge and build confidence in visitors. Little ones ages 4-6 will love the Chicken Little’s course filled with opportunities for kids to climb, crawl and swing.
The company also operates the Harpers Ferry Canopy Tour along the scenic Potomac River. With eight zip lines, several belayed ladder climbs, suspension bridges and a final free fall on the belay, it’s a dream for adrenaline junkies. Plus, kids 5 and older (40 pounds or more) are allowed to participate tandem on several zips. Older children and teens can skyrocket at new Mega Zip Line, racing “Superman style” on a 1,200-foot zip line with speeds up to 50 mph.
Evergreen Adventure Park
19623 Evergreen Mills Road
Leesburg, VA 20175
Evergreen offers a variety of adventure activities that include outdoor rock climbing, zip lines, and an elevated ropes adventure course. Guests can choose from five different bundles to combine their fun. Please note that the only way to get to the adventure course is via zip line. Also, the zip line requires kids to be at least 4 feet 8 inches tall and 75 pounds, but as long as kids can fit properly into the harnesses, they can climb on the rock walls.
6129 Needwood Lake Drive
Rockville, MD 20855
Explore the urban oasis of Rock Creek Regional Park from a bird’s eye point of view. Go Ape’s treetop adventure course has many challenging obstacles and six zip lines, including the first skateboard zip line in the United States. Participants are required to be at least 10 years old. Make a day out of it by discovering the surrounding hiking trails, picnic areas, fishing opportunities and boat rentals in Rock Creek Park. Bring your Go Ape receipt to the Lake Needwood Boathouse to receive a 20 percent weekday discount all season long.
Micaela Williamson is a coauthor of local travel guide “Kid Trips Northern Virginia,” an extraordinary resource that provides descriptions, useful information and insider tips for hundreds of local destinations. Micaela is also an award-winning blogger who enjoys supporting area businesses and scouting out family-friendly venues with her two young sons.