Bronx Zoo Opens Their Woodlands for Ziplining and Climbing in the Trees

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©. WCS/Julie Larsen Maher

Two new attractions – the Treetop Adventure and Nature Trek – turn the focus on the zoo's expansive forest and encouraging nature play.

In addition to working to conserve more than two million square miles of wild places around the planet, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) also happens to run New York City's Bronx Zoo. So it's little surprise that the parcel of land on which the zoo is situated is comprised of a beautiful 265 acres in the midst of the bustling city, including undeveloped woodland and the Bronx River, which is the only freshwater river remaining in NYC.

And while the zoo's main attraction has traditionally been the animals, of course, the organization realized that they had another wonderful way to help connect zoo visitors with nature – create a veritable playground, for both kids and grown-ups – right there in the forest. And thus, the Treetop Adventure and Nature Trek were born.

The zoo's new features include three options for city slickers in need of nature:

Seven Aerial Climbing Courses

Bronx Zoo

© WCS/Julie Larsen MaherPart of the Treetop Adventure, the aerial courses give visitors a bird's-eye view of the Bronx River and surrounding woods while tackling climbing challenges set in the forest canopy.

Bronx Zoo

© WCS/Julie Larsen MaherSeven courses in total range from beginner to expert and include rope bridges, wobbly bridges, tightrope walks, ladders, rolling and swinging elements, ziplines, and more. Each course has eight to 12 challenges. And the hotshots can face the extreme test of the "jump descender" at the end of the expert course.

Zipline Over the Bronx River

Bronx Zoo

© WCS/Julie Larsen Maher The zipline is a dual, side-by-side set-up that zooms zippers 50 feet above the Bronx River for 400 feet before sending them back for the return trip.

Nature Trek: Family Adventure Course

Bronx Zoo

© WCS/Julie Larsen MaherThis family-friendly netted bridge-and-tower course features five towers that are up to two stories high and connected by a series of 12 different bridges spanning up to 30 feet. The course encourages balancing on a narrow beam, weaving between vertical barriers, stretching across wide steps, and climbing on wiggling surfaces.

Bronx Zoo

© WCS/Julie Larsen MaherThere is also the wonderful nature play zone which inspires children and families to engage in unstructured exploration of elements like sand, water, loose branches and other components of a natural playground. In other words, a place to get dirty ... in the best way.