Gear up for an outdoor adventure at one of New Jersey's newest treetop obstacle courses, or buckle up for a soaring ride on a zip line. Swaying bridges, wobbly balance logs, cargo nets, high wires, and rope ladders are among the features at some sky-high ropes courses, along with tree climbers and platforms built right into tree trunks. Many treetop courses are best for older kids and teens, but some also offer tykes courses that are closer to the ground.
We've rounded up some of the coolest of these zip lines and ropes courses in New Jersey, a few in Pennsylvania, and even a year-round indoor option just over the state line in Westchester. You'll find these parks at local zoos, amusement parks, down the Jersey Shore, and even at some of the Poconos family resorts.
Note: Most of these parks are open only spring through fall. All require signed waivers, safety harnesses, and closed-toe athletic shoes to participate. Please pay attention to height and age restrictions, and book reservations ahead of time for the most popular parks!
Camelback Mountain Adventures TreeTop Course – Tannersville, PA
Plan an off-season visit to this family-favorite ski resort, and try your skill on the elaborate ropes course featuring 100 aerial obstacles. The main course is for adults and kids ages 9 and up with a vertical reach of 5'9". A Lil' Explorers course is open to kids who can reach 4'10". Open daily April–November, weather permitting. Reservations required.
Walk a tightrope at Cape May County Tree to Tree Adventure Park.
Cape May County Tree to Tree Adventure Park – Cape May
Newly opened at the Cape May County Park and Zoo, this high ropes course features pulleys, tightropes, rope swings, climbers, and ladders. Geared toward adults and children age 7 and up, it features six different color-coded courses, with the most difficult ones reserved for adults only. Open weekends, May–June 17; open daily June 18–September, and weekends in October. Reservations are required, along with a 20-minute training session.
Diggerland Rope Course – West Berlin
Towering above the parking lot, this four-story rope climbing structure is not for tots. Suit up in a safety harness and try to climb the rope ladders and bridges to the top of this enclosed course before heading into Diggerland to explore the backhoes, trucks, and excavators. A 32-story rock climbing wall is right next to the ropes course. Height minimum is 42" to climb with an adult. Closed-toe shoes required. Open March–November.
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Essex County TreeTop Adventure Course offers aerial challenges for kids and adults.
Essex County TreeTop Adventure Course – West Orange
Adjacent to the Turtle Back Zoo, this aerial obstacle course features both adult and junior courses, as well as a 40-foot-long zip line. The kids' course is 10 feet high with 15 different challenge elements, from ladders and bridges to climbers and swings. The adult course is 35 feet high and features 30 different elements. Open on weekends, weather permitting. Reservations strongly recommended.
Little ones get a turn on the ropes at iPlay America.
iPlay America Ropes Course – Freehold
The newest addition to this indoor play land, the Sky Trail high ropes course and Sky Kidz ropes course will test your kids' agility with rope bridges, zig zag beams, cargo nets, and vertical ladders. Sky Kidz course is for children under 48", and the height minimum for Sky Trail is 48". Open year-round.
Jenkinson's Adventure Lookout Ropes Course – Point Pleasant Beach
Check out the newest addition to this family-friendly beach and boardwalk, a ropes course with two different levels: a Jr. Adventure Course for children under 48", and a 36-foot-high course that kids over 42" can climb with an adult. Brightly colored climbers, cargo nets, a pirate's plank, and zip line make this a must-do when the surf is too rough or your kids want a change from traditional boardwalk rides. Open April–October.
Mountain Creek Treescape and Zip Tours – Vernon
A popular warm-weather attraction at this ski resort, the zip line soars above a mountain-top lake and offers panoramic views of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Make a zip tour part of an overnight getaway, and enjoy the resort's pool and other amenities. Kids must be at least 60 pounds and 48" to ride. Open Friday–Sunday, weather-permitting with advance reservations required. Or check out the TreEscape Adventure Park, which opened in 2017, where kids 4+ can tackle rope walks, obstacles, climbing elements, and zip lines. Open spring–fall.
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Adventurous types can tackle the Palisades Climb Adventure in the Palisades Center Mall.
Palisades Climb Adventure – West Nyack, NY
Towering 85 feet high inside the massive Palisades Center Mall, this indoor ropes course is not for the faint of heart. Accessed from the fourth level of the mall, the course features 75 different challenges, from beginner to expert, including a tremor bridge, vertical rope ladder, cargo net climber, tight ropes, and balance beams. A separate Sky Tykes course is geared toward kids under 48". Open year-round.
The KidVenture course is a great way to begin learning the ropes.
Pocono Tree Ventures and Zip Racer – East Stroudsburg, PA
This family-friendly aerial course has expanded this year to include eight ropes courses with more than 90 elements, some reaching a height of 40-feet. Included in that is a Zip Quest with nine zip lines connected by platforms. A special KidVenture course is for ages 4–7. The Zip Racer, featuring dueling 1,000-foot zip lines, is an added attraction. Open year-round, weather permitting.
Six Flags Soaring Eagle Zip Line – Jackson
Part of the safari at Six Flags Great Adventure, this family-style zip line takes two riders soaring above the amusement park and safari, providing a bird's-eye view of roller coasters and safari animals. Riders are seated for a backwards glide above Camp Aventura, the park's animal nursery area, before being released for a zooming zip ride. Minimum height requirement is 42" to ride with an adult, or 48" to ride alone. There is an additional fee for Soaring Eagle, not covered by park or safari admission. Open April–December. Check website for operating hours.
Top photo: Essex County TreeTop Adventure Course. Photos courtesy of the courses/parks. Updated for 2018.