The View From Treetop Quest Philly, the New Fairmount Park Adventure Course
Zip through the trees at this new aerial adventure course.
Local thrill-seekers have a new challenge, right in West Fairmount Park: the Treetop Quest Philly aerial adventure course is finally here.
With 40 obstacles and 18 zip lines — some as high as 60 feet up in the trees — Treetop Quest is kid-friendly but tough enough to engage brave adults, too. With four levels of difficulty for ages 7 and up, plus a mini course for kids 4 to 7, you can calibrate your experience based on your comfort level.
The attraction, on Chamounix Drive, is a partnership between Treetop Quest, which has sister locations in Georgia and Missisippi, the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy. While there are other adventure courses in the area, this is the only one within the city limits.
We got a sneak peek at the breathtaking courses this week. Here’s what to expect.
The First Step: Safety
Treetop Quest visitors must sign a waiver and be fitted with a harness that is attached to a “lifeline” at all times once you’re off the ground (kids under 6 get a helmet, too) and grippy gloves to protect your hands from the cables.
Once you’re in the harness, employees walk you through how to navigate the course — on a set of obstacles only a few feet off the ground, so you can get comfortable. Your harness is attached to a ring in the shape of a C, with an opening that’s big enough to slide over some of the connectors on the course, but not the main cable to which you’re attached.
When you reach a zip line, you separate a pulley line from your harness belt and clip it on to the line, then pull the C clip over top before jumping off the platform.
The safety system can take a little getting used to, but that degree of difficulty actually made me feel safer. Plus, the clip and pulley are at waist level, meaning you’re not concerned about disturbing your balance as you maneuver.
Next Up: It Gets Harder
The Level 2 courses are a combination of obstacles — some of them quite tough — and zip lines. Guests walk on loops of rope, hanging planks, small round logs, and nets as they work their way through the trees.
The courses are self-guided, so you can take the time you need to steady your nerves — and you might need it, since a couple feel like quite a leap of faith. The courses take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete; doing all of them would take 2 hours or more.
Level 3 is mostly zip lines, which increase in height and length as you move through it. If you enjoy zip lines, this one is a total blast, especially if you’ve already done one or both of the Level 2 courses and have mastered the pulley system. On these lines, it really feels like you’re just cruising through the trees — it’s easy to forget how high you are and just enjoy the ride.
Level 4 features the highest and most difficult obstacles and zip lines, and is open to those 12 and older. (Most of us at the press preview, myself included, passed, but true daredevils will probably love it.)
Treetop Quest has a smaller, much lower to the ground course for kids over 4. The Chick Pea course involves some balancing and climbing but is calibrated for little kids who just want to check it out. (Treetop Quest officials said they expect the Philly Chick Pea course to change somewhat after the park has been open for a while.)
The Nuts and Bolts
Treetop Quest offers individual admission from $19 to $51, depending on what you’re doing (you can save $2 by ordering online). There are discounts for groups, and the attraction also offers birthday parties (for kids and adults), corporate events, field trips, and more.
Treetop Quest Philly officially opens May 12, and will be open from 10 am — 7:30 pm daily through the summer. It’s located at 541 Chamounix Drive in Philadelphia. For more information and to book tickets, visit the attraction’s website.
Photographs by Gwyneth K. Shaw.