I’ve never looked into Go Ape sessions before; I assumed we’d need to wait a few years for tree top adventures. I’m very happy to admit that I was wrong because we had a fantastic time at Nets Kingdom at Go Ape Black Park in Buckinghamshire!
Nets Kingdom is huge network of nets, walkways, treehouses and slides, 30 feet up in the trees. I took along my 3 year old and 7 year old and we all had a brilliant morning wobbling, climbing, bouncing and crawling high up in the trees. Doing something we’ve never done before together was exciting, exhilarating and a huge boost of confidence.
**There’s a special discount code for readers at the end of this blog post**
We arrive and from the car park we can see Nets Kingdom high up in the trees. It looks… very high… and I wonder how I’m going to get two children UP THERE!
All the staff we meet are very friendly and professional and they put my mind at ease (sort of… it does look really high). There’s a safety briefing before we enter Nets Kingdom and I’m impressed that the instructor asks everyone to look around to take note that there are younger children in the group and when we’re up in the nets everyone needs to be careful and mindful of eachother. Nets Kingdom is a potentially dangerous activity and the staff we meet are very good at making the risks clear to me and the children in a responsible way.
Our Nets Kingdom Adventure at Go Ape Black Park
Then our Nets Kingdom adventure begins. Sessions are 2 hours long, so there’s plenty of time to explore. We start with a climb up a fairly steep net. There’s no doubt that this is a physical activity, especially if you’re also supervising a pre-school child. We take it steady and fortunately Mr 3 is able to do most of the climbing with some encouragement, support and the occasional leg-up. It is hard work, be prepared for a work-out, there’s a real sense of achievement reaching the first net platform!
Once you’re up in the nets it’s a great feeling. Yes, it is high up but I never got that heart-stopping-panic feeling I sometimes get, as there’s always something underfoot. Once I get used to walking on the springy nets I really enjoy being part of the tree top world. There’s no harness and no clips, there’s a sense of freedom in the large net areas. There are eight treehouses to reach, huge nets to sit down on for a rest, or to bounce around on. After about an hour I seem to acclimatise and become more confident, the nets seem easier to negotiate and I think that I’m moving faster.
Our favourite area is filled with brightly coloured gym balls. This area is popular with younger children and it’s a little quieter than the main adventure area. Numbers for each session are limited and it never feels crowded. It feels great to be outside in the fresh air doing something new together. The kids think it’s amazing. I’m a bit (well… quite a lot) knackered.
On The Ground At Nets Kingdom
On the ground below Nets Kingdom there are picnic benches scattered around and when we finally take a break we whizz down one of the slides and we go and have a sit down and a drink. If you’re supervising children aged 5-15 years old then you can, in theory, watch from the ground and take a seat on one of the picnic benches. There’s also a small cafe which is really handy for a cup of coffee and a bottle of water and they also sell tasty treats like flapjacks. You can also take your own snacks and drinks into Nets Kingdom and there’s a camping-style water dispenser if you want to re-fill your own water bottles.
The two hour session is a really good amount of time. After one hour we were just getting used to the nets, we had a break for a drink and a snack and then we went back up to explore. Mr 3 was quite tired after an hour, so Mr 7 went up on his own. Children aged 5-15 years can go up into the Nets Kingdom on their own, as long as there is a supervising adult on the ground keeping an eye on them.
I was so impressed with the staff at Nets Kingdom. Everyone we met was really helpful and friendly and when we were on the ground you could see members of staff constantly patrolling. As a parent, it was reassuring to see staff members actively reminding older children to take care around younger ones. The staff I saw were confident and able to approach the children and adults on the nets positively and have sensible conversations – this is not something that is easy to get right and I really commend Nets Kingdom for this.
After our session we wandered into Black Park Country Park and walked around the lake. We could easily have spent the whole day there exploring. We had such a great time at Nets Kingdom at Go Ape Black Park, we’ll definitely be going back very soon.
Tots In The Tree Tops
Nets Kingdom at Go Ape Black Park now run exclusive sessions for 1-4 year olds every Friday 10am-12noon (excluding school holidays). The special Tots In The Tree Tops sessions are just £10 for 1-4 year olds and accompanying adults are free! Children aged 1-4 years old must be able to walk unaided.
I personally think that I would have struggled to help my youngest up the steep nets before the age of 3 years and it’s impossible to carry a child, as I did need to use both hands and feet to climb at some points. There is a tower of nets where you can slowly weave up through a series of holes in the net platforms, which might be easier with younger children, but it’s still tricky.
TOP TIPS FOR A VISIT TO NETS KINGDOM AT GO APE BLACK PARK COUNTRY PARK
- Nets Kingdom at Go Ape Black Park is on Black Park Road, Buckinghamshire, SL3 6DS.
- You can book in advance online use the discount code BPAMB3 for 10% off at Go Ape Black Park (excluding Saturdays).
- It’s more comfortable to climb and slide around on the nets if your arms and legs are covered. Take long trousers like jogging bottoms or leggings and a long-sleeved top, so the kids have the option.
- Wear shoes that are suitable for climbing, something like trainers. No sandals, slip-ons, open toes or heels are allowed on the nets.
- Check the ratios before you go. Children aged 1-4 years old must be able to walk unaided and they need to be accompanied by a supervising adult (over 18 years old) at all times. Children 5-15 years must have a supervising adult with them but you can supervise from the ground.
- Take change for the car park. When we visited in April 2018 it was £4.50 for 2-4 hours and £5.50 for 4 hours+.
- The car park can get busy, especially on sunny weekends. Leave extra time to find a parking space and queue for the pay and display.
All information is correct on the date of publication: April 2018
We received complimentary entry to Go Ape Nets Kingdom at Black Park Country Park for the purpose of the review.