“Uh oh, I don’t like this. I’m not sure I can make it across!” I yell back at Liz, my voice quivering as I grip tightly onto the ropes and attempt to balance on a piece of plywood, barely a couple inches wide and 20 feet off the ground! “You’ll be fine” Liz shouts back from the platform behind me “just keep it slow and steady.” After what seems like an eternity, I place my feet securely on the platform of the next tree. “The swings,” as the workers affectionately refer to them, are just one of the 34 obstacles and 10 zip lines in the TreeTop Family Adventure course at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Soaring above the ground in the tree canopy, this a thrilling & challenging adventure for the whole family to enjoy!
Nature and Thrills at Callaway Gardens
Callaway Gardens is a stunning nature resort located on 6,500 acres just a couple hours southwest of Atlanta. With a variety of attractions, including lakes, gardens, educational centers, golf courses, etc. the resort is a peaceful and relaxing getaway from the big city of Atlanta. But if you are in the mood for a challenging, adrenaline-filled experience, their their TreeTop Family Adventure course is sure to provide the biggest thrill!
Liz and I love thrills. So when we learned about the TreeTop Adventure, we knew that it would be right up our alley! Having zip lined many times before, and Liz having done some other tree obstacles courses, were sure it would be fun little physical adventure. We honestly did not know what we were getting ourselves into.
TreeTop Family Adventure Course at Callaway Gardens
The TreeTop Adventure at Callaway Gardens consists of two courses. The Discovery Course is the original, while the Lake Course is an add-on, well worth it if you are into long zips over the lake! They told us that the entire course would take 2-3 hours. Honestly, we thought that they were exaggerating…but indeed, it took us a good 3 hours. The TreeTop Adventure is laid out in the tree tops near the Discovery Center at Callaway Gardens. With walking paths and benches underneath, those who do not want to go up in the trees can have a seat in the shade and watch the people dangling above them!
A Crash Course in Zip Lining and Tethering Yourself
After picking up our gear at the kiosk, we got ourselves suited up with the equipment and headed over to the staging area. We noticed that there were lots of people waiting to go onto the course. We learned that this is why you need to get a ticket with a time. They allow a certain number of people at a time, and they do the briefings all together.
Before we got started, the workers gave us the run down of the equipment and how it worked. Then they emphasized safety and the fact that we needed to keep at least one of our tethers connected to the red safety cable at ALL times. After the briefing, we all lined up to do a “mini-course” to be sure that we understood how to use the gear properly. This was also a test to see if people could really handle the course. Everyone had the chance to climb up to a test platform, and do a test zip. He instructed us how to ride the zip and brake. He also instructed us make sure there were no more than 3 people on a platform at once, in case a guide needed to come and help people down.
If approved, the worker would send you on your way. Having gone zip lining before, we both were a bit surprised by this. There is no physical guide with you at all times. It is quite an independent course. So keep this in mind if you are bringing younger kids with you. We noticed a couple kids who ended up not being able to handle the adventure.
The TreeTop Family Adventure is Not a Walk in the Park!
It didn’t take long for us to realize that this course wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. After about 3 obstacles, we actually started to get a bit nervous. As the obstacles became tougher, requiring more balance and precision, doubts started going through my mind. I thought this was going to be a lot easier. And it didn’t help that the tween girls behind us seemed to fly through each obstacle as if it was nothing. But they weigh a fraction of what I do, and surely their balance is much better. Still, it can make you a bit self-conscious. I don’t want to be that person that got stuck because they couldn’t make it across an obstacle!
This TreeTop Family Adventure is definitely a challenge, even for the skilled outdoor enthusiast. Our arms grew tired, and our hands sore from gripping the ropes, but we enjoyed the challenge! Pushing yourself beyond your limits and conquering something that you aren’t quite sure you will be able to do is always a thrill. Of course, we really loved all the zip lines too! They were a welcome rest, and the cool breeze felt really great.
The TreeTop Adventure at Callaway Gardens is a Blast!
Overall, we had a blast doing the TreeTop Adventure at Callaway Gardens! While we enjoy the relaxing and peaceful setting at Callaway, this is a great way to add a little thrill and adventure into your family trip. We would caution you that you should be in good shape, and definitely not afraid of heights. This is a challenging course that will take 3 hours, so be prepared to be up in the trees for quite some time. If the TreeTop Adventure isn’t your cup of tea, then have a seat on one of the benches below the trees, and watch all of us adults struggle our way across these crazy contraptions high above you. Definitely something the whole family will enjoy!
Visit Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain Georgia
Callaway Gardens is a great family destination, the perfect escape from the big city. This 6,500 acre nature resort has a variety of other activities beyond the TreeTop Family Adventure. Whether it is relaxing at their beach, exploring many miles of hiking and biking trails, golfing, visiting the butterfly center or outdoor learning centers, there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy. Check out our story for a complete overview of things to do at Callaway Gardens.