Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens
Museums and gardens are often sedate places where grandmothers sit on benches, Mom smells the roses, and the kids can’t wait to leave. So Heritage Museum and Gardens – which houses the art and automobile collections of the Lilly family, and is rightly famous for its flowers (their famed Rhododendron Festival is coming up May 26-June 3, 2018, by the way) – decided to build something just for the younger and more adventuresome set. And what a something it is.
Adventure Park is located on four wooded acres on Heritage-owned land that has not been previously open to visitors. The highlight (emphasis on the high) is the Aerial Adventure – which consists of aerial trails between elevated platforms in the trees at different heights from 8 to 45 feet, with zip lines (9 total, from 65-110 feet) and challenge bridges to cross. Climbers can choose between five color-coded trails of varying degrees of difficulty, suitable for ages seven and older; high in the tree canopy, they’ll taste the thrills of climbing and enjoy views of the gardens typically reserved for squirrels. For those who’d rather stay on terra firma, ground level paths wind their way through the forest beneath the climbing activities and bear interpretive signs explaining the area flora and fauna.
April 13 is opening day, so we’d expect a crowd, but the experience is open Fridays (2-7pm), Saturdays (9am-7pm) and Sunday (9am - 7pm, April 13-22; 27-29, then daily in the Summer from 9 AM - 8 PM from June through September 3.
Best value here is the Combo – which combines a Museum & Gardens admission with Adventure Park admission, and ranges from $43-$59, depending on the age of the climbers. (Park admission alone is $38-$49. If you’re an adult accompanying climbers but not climbing yourself, you don’t have to pay.) Adventure Park allows 2 hour climbing windows; at least 2 hours for museum visitation is suggested. Reservations required, allowing you to skip the wait. For more, visit www.heritageadventurepark.org