“Go Ape” at A.W. Stanley Park!

By Sheridan Cyr

Staff Writer

The enormous treetop adventure course, Go Ape, is coming up on its one year anniversary at its New Britain location in A. W. Stanley Park.

The exhilarating excursion allows those brave enough to tackle the zip lines, rope ladders and wobbly pathways a chance to connect with their inner primate. “Go Ape” originated in the United Kingdom back in 2002. After 30 successful locations over seas, a Go Ape location opened up in Rockville, Maryland in 2009. Since then, parks across America have continued to grow strong.

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Site manager Nathan Garcia making his way through the course. Photo courtesy of Nathan Garcia.

The New Britain location has some special features that other attractions in Connecticut cannot say for themselves. This location is home to the longest zip lines in the state. Altogether, there are also 2250 feet of zip lines in the course. The final part of the two –hour course is an enormous zip line that brings “Apes” right over Lower Pond, about 900 feet across, and drops them off at the finish line. The course also includes 40 crossings (from treetop to treetop) including the “half trapeze,” “wobbly ladder,” “tic tac toe,” “flying carpet” and two “Tarzan swings.”

“We try to give back to the community as much as we can. We do what we can to improve the park,” site manager Nathan Garcia said.

Garcia helped to open the New Britain location last year. Integral to keeping the attraction up to par is stewardship, Garcia explained.  This includes picking up litter and keeping up with maintenance of the area. A.W. Stanley Park has a number of other attractions too. Sitting between Stanley Quarter Park and Stanley Golf Course, the park features the largest outdoor pool in New England, picnic tables for rent, an educational nature trail, fishing areas, little league fields, a playground, and much more.

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Nathan Garcia stands with Mayor Erin Stewart, who was the first non-employee to use the zip line across the pond to make her entrance. Photo courtesy of Nathan Garcia.

Garcia looks forward to seeing the sense of pride that those who complete the course feel as they come flying through the air on the 900-foot zip line. “Most of the time they just feel super accomplished, especially those who are afraid of heights.”

That was true for one Cheshire resident, Lauren Frascarelli, who explained that she was sad when her turn on the course was over. “It was a crazy workout,” she said, even for a 14-year gymnast like herself. “We decided to challenge ourselves and do all of the challenging routes instead of the easier options and they were definitely harder, but super exhilarating.” The biggest challenge on the course for Frascarelli was the Tarzan swing. “You basically have to hold onto a rope and free-fall 10 feet before actually swinging. As someone who isn’t big on free-falling, it was definitely a fear to face.”

The Go Ape location here in New Britain opened for the season in April. They typically expect a jump in business once the grade schools are let out for summer. Adventure-goers must be at least 4’7″. The safety gear can support up to 300 lbs. The price of admission is $58 for ages 16+ and $38 for ages 10 to 15 and advanced booking is available. The course also offers team-building adventure challenges. For more information click here or call 1-800-971-8271.