FAQ: The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens
Q. What is The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens?
A. The Adventure Park is an all-natural, interactive outdoor educational experience, set within four acres of forest, and designed to bring the public closer to nature through recreation and learning. The park contains two aspects from which the public can choose to participate. The first is the “Aerial Adventure” – which consists of “aerial trails” between elevated platforms in the trees at different heights with zip lines and challenge bridges to cross. The second aspect is the “Forest Walk” or “interpretive pathways.” These ground level paths wind their way through the forest beneath the climbing activities and bear interpretive signs explaining the area flora and fauna. The climbers in the trees will also benefit from educational signs at their level, explaining scientific principles behind their treetop experience.
Q. Why did Heritage open The Adventure Park?
A. Heritage strives to provide visitors with great experiences that align with our mission to inspire people to explore, discover and learn together. This exhibit contributes to Heritage’s mission by promoting outdoor discovery and family engagement. This educational experience offers great opportunities for visitors to both have fun as well as learn about trees and the environment that will surround the aerial experience. The Adventure Park is sited on land that Heritage hasn’t opened to the public before. This area is highlighted by the Forest Walk Interpretive Trail.
Additionally, since its inception Heritage has been part of the ‘Let’s Move! Museums’ program – a national network of museums offering exhibits and programs that get children moving in healthy ways. The Adventure Park fits perfectly with our commitment to this national initiative and to provide healthy, educational outlets for our community’s young and young at heart.
Q. Do I need a reservation to climb or can I just show up?
A: Please reserve in advance through our online reservation system using the Reserve Tickets tab. You are welcome to walk in, however, availability cannot be guaranteed without a reservation.
Q. When did the Adventure Park open?
A. May, 2015
Q. What are the hours?
Winter Office Hours:
Office hours are 9:00am-4:00pm, Monday-Friday. Please call before stopping by as we often work from home in the winter months.
Spring, Summer & Fall Climbing Hours:
All dates and hours listed are subject to change
The last full climb time begins 2.5 hrs. before closing time. There is also the “Last Call” climb which is shorter and less expensive; this climb begins 2 hrs. before closing time. The blue and black courses are typically unavailable during the Last Call climb. Check back for schedule updates.
Q. What are the age requirements at The Adventure Park?
“Supervised”: an adult (18+) guiding children (1–10 children) from the ground.
“With Adult”: an adult (18+) must accompany children on aerial trails—maximum of 2 children per adult.
We do ask that anyone under the age of 18 does have an adult here on the grounds even if they are able to climb all the courses on their own.
There is one yellow course, two green courses, one blue course and one black course.
Q. How would you describe this experience?
A. Three words: “natural,” “fun” and “educational.” The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens is located on four wooded acres on Heritage-owned land that has not been previously open to visitors. The focus is a total forest experience—both on the ground and up in the trees, with many opportunities for learning about forest ecology, as well as physics and self-knowledge. It offers two experience options:
On the Ground:
Interpretive pathways on the ground known as The Forest Walk will guide visitors through the landscape to experience the beauty of Heritage’s world renowned Dexter rhododendrons, see patterns in the forest, and understand the natural world from a new vantage point. Trail length: 1,368 linear feet (about ¼ mile) of trails
In the Trees:
The Adventure Park consists of elevated trails between tree platforms at different heights with zip lines and challenge bridges to cross. Climbers can choose between five color-coded trails of varying degrees of difficulty, suitable for ages seven and older. Climbers will experience the tree canopy, taste the thrills of climbing and enjoy views of the gardens typically reserved for squirrels. They complete their climbing experience with an increased knowledge and appreciation of both nature and themselves.
Q. How does The Adventure Park fit with the look and feel of Heritage?
A. The built elements are minimal and blend in with the natural surroundings. The construction is designed to be tree-friendly and environmentally sustainable. The small platforms in the trees are all made of natural materials and blend into the forest. Only the climbers or gravity power the climbing activities. No motors are used. On the ground, the Forest Walk features interpretive signage, just like other areas of Heritage.
Q. What age groups are expected to participate in The Adventure Park?
A. The great thing is that it appeals to whole families. The adventure is available to people 7 years old through active seniors. By offering varying levels of difficulty, the aerial experience is accessible to both introductory as well as more experienced climbers, while those who don’t want to climb can watch others in the group from the Forest Walk Interpretive Trail and benches/tables, or enjoy the other offerings at Heritage.
Q. What are the minimums and maximums?
A. The minimum age to climb is 7 yrs. old and there is no maximum age. Courses are designed for all ages and abilities! There is a maximum weight limit and that is 265 lbs.
Q. How much are tickets?
A. Tickets for The Adventure Park are $45 for Adults (12+), $39 for ages 10-11, $34 for ages 7-9.
Combo tickets that include The Adventure Park and all of Heritage’s other offerings are $55 Adults (12+), $44 ages 10-11, $39 ages 7-9; combination tickets can be purchased at both the Heritage ticket office and at The Adventure Park.
All tickets will also be charged a $1 reservation fee.
Only those climbing need to pay the admission fee. Those walking our Forest Walk or grounds do not pay admission.
Special discounted rates and educational programs tied to state curriculum standards are available for reserved groups of 10 or more, including schools, youth groups, associations, corporate excursions, etc. Contact our office directly for group bookings (groups 10 or more), at a minimum of 3 weeks in advance, 508-866-0199.
Q. How long is the experience?
A. All tickets are valid for 2 hours of climbing time unless otherwise specified. Tickets include an additional 30 minutes of initial harnessing/orientation/practice time. Most climbers will have time to complete two, possibly three, trails during their two hours of climbing. Climbers return to the starting platform after completing each trail to select another trail. Visitors may linger on the ground-level Forest Walk interpretive trails as long as they’d like.
Q. What should I wear?
A. We recommend long shorts or exercise pants as you do not want the leg loops of your harness touching your bare skin. It is recommended that you wear a t-shirt rather than a tank top to prevent the harness from rubbing your bare shoulder. You may also wear a sweatshirt if it’s chilly. A MUST: Protecting your feet is important!!! Closed-toe and closed-heel shoes are REQUIRED; sneakers or light hiking boots are best. It is not recommended to wear flip-flops, ballet flats, TOMs, Crocs, Keens, or sandals of any kind. The park maintains the right to ask you to change your shoes if we do not feel you are wearing safe footwear for climbing. Also, for anyone with long hair, we recommend tying your hair in a ponytail.
Q. What are the educational elements of The Adventure Park?
A. On the ground, The Adventure Park features ten stops along the beautiful Forest Walk, with fun and educational signage that engages visitors in learning about forest formation, history, workings of a forest ecosystem, interdependence and interactions within forest ecosystems, forest succession and human impact on ecosystems. Interactive components include opportunities to see and touch tree rings, listen to and identify forest sounds, and learn the names and distinguishing features of trees.
In the trees, educational signage offers learning focused on motion, gravity, energy, magnetism, and friction, all of which are part of the climbing experience. In fact, the climb itself is a lesson in problem solving along the aerial trails and that, combined with the thrill of achievement are priceless educational rewards that fuel self-esteem, leadership, and teambuilding.
Q. What kinds of nature will people see?
A. The aerial trails afford views of breathtaking rhododendrons set in our unique Cape Cod forest ecosystem that includes several tree species, high bush and low bush blueberries, mountain laurel and other shrubs. They will be able to see the gentle roll to the land that centuries of glaciers created, and they might also see a variety of local birds, including chickadees and finches, and if they are lucky, Heritage’s resident red-tailed hawk.
Q. What will people learn?
• Woodland geology and ecology
• The Cape Cod habitat and ecosystem
• Names of native plants
• How people affect the natural world
• Basic Physics principles
• Self- reliance skills
• Teamwork skills
Q. What kinds of components are in the Aerial Trails?
• There are five color-coded aerial trails from introductory through advanced levels.
• Each trail has 12-14 elements which include tunnels, moving planks, zip lines, rope walks, cargo nets, and similar features.
Q. How long are the zip lines?
A. They vary on average from 65-110ft in length, depending on course difficulty. The only course that does not have a zip line is Black Storm, our most advanced aerial course.
Q. How many zip lines do you have?
A. There are nine zip lines, but please remember they are incorporated into our aerial trails and cannot be done by themselves.
Q. How high off of the ground are you on the Aerial Course?
A. Anywhere from 10ft – 40ft depending on the course difficulty.
Q. Can you paint a picture of The Adventure Park?
A. After putting on their safety harness and receiving thorough instructional and educational briefing, “climbers” ascend the main starting platform above the forest floor. There, they choose a course based on their age, difficulty, and their comfort level. With their safety harness clipped onto a secure cable throughout their time in the trees, climbers make their way along the aerial trails, stopping between elements on tree platforms. The climbing experience helps participants to build self-reliance, team skills, and appreciation for the natural world.
Climbing tickets are generally good for two hours in the trees, with each of the five aerial trails averaging 15 – 30 minutes to cross. After completing one trail the climbers return to the starting platform to select another trail.
All Heritage visitors and those accompanying climbers will have an opportunity to experience the interpretive paths on the ground.
Check out this SAFETY VIDEO to see how safe the park and equipment really is!
Q. Do you offer school programs around The Adventure Park?
A. Heritage offers three school programs for Grades 6 and up set on the grounds of The Adventure Park.
Eco-Adventure Workshop (Grades 6-8)
Uncover the inner workings of the forest ecosystem and discover the interdependence of the organisms that live there. Working together, students will identify the layers of the forest, discuss the life cycle of trees and describe the interactions that occur within the forest ecosystem. Small groups will gather data to determine the current state of Heritage’s forest succession and share their observations while considering the human impact on the ecosystem.
Math Adventure Workshop (Grades 8-12)
Explore techniques used by professional foresters to identify, measure and estimate the height, circumference, diameter, age and growth rate of trees. Working together in small groups, students will practice math skills by using various methods and tools to compare their results and evaluate the accuracy of each method. Groups will chart and share their findings.
Leadership Adventure Workshop (Grades 8-12)
Students will identify their primary leadership “direction.” They will analyze the strength and weaknesses of their style, reflect on how they can improve their skills, and discuss how their methods complement other leadership styles.
School programs are taught by Heritage Museum Instructors and meet state curriculum requirements. They can be booked by contacting The Adventure Park at 508-866-0199 and are offered at the group rate of $9 per student (for groups of 10 or more, and at least 3 weeks in advance).
We also offer the Heritage Adventure Tour & Climb Combo (Grades 2-12). Climb through the trees while learning about forest ecosystems and physics in the morning and receive a guided tour of the Museum in the afternoon. The Heritage Highlights Tour is offered at a group rate of $7 per student (ages 7-11) or $15 (ages 12+) (for groups of 10 or more, and at least 3 weeks in advance).
Q. What is the weather policy for individual climbers?
A. There are several options depending on the weather situation. Please read our Individual Weather Policy for individual climbers.