PARC AVENTURE: HIGH ROPE COURSE, ZIP LINE AND FREE FALL! ADULTS AND KIDS
by Alexandra Osváth
It’s not that easy to find fun things to do for adults at the moment, yet we need it now during the pandemic more than ever. We recently had a blast at the high ropes course at Parc Aventure Genève. It’s the perfect escape from what’s happening around us and we highly recommend it. It’s totally safe and Covid-friendly. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s just for kids – you’ll love it.
For other COVID-friendly things to do – read our article about autumn things to do.
YOU’RE ALWAYS ATTACHED – DON’T PANIC
We arrived around 11 am, which we’d really recommend as we happened to have the place to ourselves for the first hour or so. It had rained the night before, so people must have been having a leisurely Saturday morning – better for us! While a children’s birthday party or two arrived towards the end of our time there, we still felt like the cool early-thirty-somethings who are still kids at heart (although the actual kids there probably disagreed!).
When we arrived, we were asked to remove our jewelry and backpack and place them in a locker. We wore masks while we were on the ground, as we were closer to staff, but then we removed our masks during the activities. There was hand sanitizer available between each ropes course.
We were helped into our harnesses, and taken over to the training area where our guide Valentin explained how everything works. As you can see in the picture below, you’re always connected to the ropes – one of the gadgets slides through various openings so you can move from rope to rope, but it doesn’t come off until you reach the end of the course. The larger orange gadget can be taken on and off and is required in harder courses and for the ziplines, but I used it more often.
There are 8 different ropes courses, and the first three to four levels are mostly intended for children (depending on their age). There are also mini routes for the little ones. We couldn’t remember the last time we’d done a high ropes course so we started at level 4, which was a great warm-up (and challenging in its own right).
The park staff took us up the main tower for each ropes course, and helped hook us onto the ropes.
ZIP THROUGH THE TREES
What surprised us the most was how many ziplines there were! We had envisioned one or two, but there were dozens – and so level 5, which had the most ziplines, was of course my favourite. There’s nothing like zipping through the trees!
The courses had many different elements, from climbing through rope nets and tunnels to balancing on logs or swinging barrels (just like Pirates of the Caribbean! I heard one child exclaim). Each level was slightly higher in the trees, and more challenging.
But if there’s one thing we should have done, it’s BRING GARDENING GLOVES. Yes, Valentin warned us in advance, but I thought we’d be fine. No, you really do want gloves to protect your hands from the ropes, especially on the most challenging courses. And your hands will thank you the next day!
We skipped course no. 6 because Valentin explained it wasn’t too much harder than the ones we’d just done, just different. Course no. 7 was really physically challenging (more on that later), so I wanted to do course no. 8 first – the free falls! In retrospect, I definitely thought I was braver than I actually am, but I did manage to complete the course, so I guess I wasn’t entirely wrong. But would I do those free falls again? Not for a while! (My husband, though, loved them!)
STEPPING INTO THIN AIR
The first fall was more of a very long swinging jump, with just a short freefall. The park staff suggested I take a running start (ha!) but I was quite happy just stepping off and letting the rope carry me. It was a little scary but quite a fun sensation of swinging like Tarzan! We landed on a rope web on the other side, grabbing on and then climbing up to the platform for… the freefall.
I can’t really describe the feeling of pushing yourself off a ledge into what seems like nothingness, and my heart tenses up even as I write this. It took me a good two minutes (and lots of patient coaxing from one of the park staff) to finally go for it. But I am so proud of myself for jumping (ok, scooting) off that platform…
And if you’re anything like me, you might even have some existential thoughts afterwards about overcoming your fears, and doing what you honestly thought was impossible just a few minutes before.
FOR THE SERIOUS ADVENTURERS
Valentin told us that level 7 was quite physically demanding, so my husband went off on his own and I took a little break on solid ground. He rode a skateboard on a rope, climbed through a spider’s web, did a few more ziplines and climbs, and generally had a fantastic time.
Meanwhile, I had a look at the ropes courses for the youngest children, which were adorable and really well-designed! From pirate ships to jungles and more, with plenty of different types of activities, it was the perfect space for entertaining kids.
Then it was time for our last activity – the park’s longest zipline. There were actually three ziplines in a row, all 160 metres long. Parc Aventure is the only park in Europe to have three long ziplines in an urban area.
What a sensation – we loved it!
While there are some limitations on events due to COVID-19, Parc Aventure still hosts children’s birthday parties and corporate teambuilding events. Valentin showed us the teambuilding area, where groups work together to open locks, do a wall climb, and more. It looked like great fun and would definitely hone team communication skills!
Chemin François-Chavaz 110
Tel: +41 (0) 22 820 10 10
Wednesdays from 1pm
Saturdays from 10am
Open until 1 November; reopening 31 March 2021
Adults: CHF 38
Students: CHF 33
Group pricing available
NOTE: Do bring gardening gloves to protect your hands, wear athletic clothes and shoes, and consider bringing water and snacks, too.